A small business approached me and asked if I could run a project of theirs for a few months. It was, they said, a great opportunity to get in at the start of something amazing. They were willing to pay me “up to £50 a day”.
Politely I declined.
They came back, determined to have me on the project because I’d been recommended by someone we both knew and my reputation was top-notch. So I told them my day rate. At which point things got a little aggressive.
I was accused of being unreasonable, unrealistic, anti-small business and a few other things. I was told I should discount my day rates to help them out. Damn, the idea was so awesome I should be doing it for free.
The conversation ended when I was told there were people willing to do it for $5 an hour on the Internet.
I can – and do – help small businesses out.
For the right project with the right management in place I will discount my rates and find affordable ways for small businesses to hire me. But there has to be give-and-take on both sides.
And if your bottom line is “I’ll pay you below the legal minimum wage because the Internet says so” we’re not going to be working together.