Lately, KOER Creative has been thriving. It gives me great joy to see new clients hire us and feel excited about the work that has been done. One of the marketing portals I still use is oddly enough, Craigslist. Now one of the issues with Craigslist is when you have small business owners, low-budget organizations, and your next door neighbor, who thinks his idea has never been done, asking you to work so you can “improve your portfolio” or get “great exposure”.
Bless their hearts.
What they don’t realize about my company is that it’s not looking to improve the portfolio or the so-called “great exposure”. I have never had a client come to me and say, “You will never believe it! I found you because I saw your work on a billboard and so I looked up the company who was advertising on the billboard, called and asked them who designed their ad.” No. That is not real life.
The prospective client assumes that I am some college kid who is just starting and am looking for a quick $10/hour and they’ll never see me again. There is a time for that…but not when it’s as something as important as a brand.
With these thoughts perculating in my mind, it just so happened that I came across a tweet, can’t remember who it was (sorry), but it read:
This is insane. My landlord won’t accept “great exposure” as rent when we all know it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative to payment.
Ah, yes. The perfect analogy to give in response to this great debacle of “great exposure”.
Now, I understand there is probably a high school or college kid who is more than happy to take the $10 an hour doing what he loves instead of working at McDonald’s or in retail (I get that). But what the inexperienced high school or college kid doesn’t realize is that in the future, this cannot be expected of him.
I guess the point of all this is simply to say, for some odd reason, graphic designer, web programmers, and creatives in general are seen as disposable entities and not respected for who they are or the practice of what they do. If a company feels $10/hour is acceptable, then they are not considering the hundreds of hours it takes to learn the software, tools, and techniques to become a viable candidate for any creative job. They are also not considering the cost of the Adobe Suite, the Mac it runs on, the internet service that is needed, or the energy creative work takes. This didn’t even mention the taxes, advertising costs, bookkeeping, and accounting that every freelancer has to deal with.
This rant is more than to bring awareness to these outlandish requests, but it’s also to reassure that when we say we cost $50/hour, $75/hour, even $100/hour, it’s fair. It may be selfish, but it’s also reality.
One of my favorite moments is when I hear a student say something like, “I want to do graphic design because then I can make my own hours and work when I want.”
If I’m feeling compassionate, I keep my mouth shut and just say a quick prayer for them. This is the same mentality that companies have and designers will always continue to accept it.
In the end, you get what you paid for.