Have you ever read any of those “How to make $1000 online articles?”…
They are littered across the internet.
I mean I even have a bunch of posts of side hustles you can do to make money
Seriously there is money to be made out there…
When you first start off you think there is NOOOOO way to do it. You think to yourself, they know something that I don’t and thats why they can make money.
Eventually if you continue long enough you start making a couple dollars here and couple dollars there… Nothing huge but you get excited.
You begin thinking…
“Huh, maybe there is something to this online business thing.”
This is where things get interesting. A lot of people try to scale up or begin accepting EVERY freelance gig they can get a hold of.
We read a TON about people with “hustle” and that you have to “hustle” to make money.
BLAH BLAH BLAH
All of that is true to some degree.
But by taking on freelance gigs, you are using up an extremely valuable resource.
You are no longer focusing on building an online business but rather how to increase money in your bank account. There is no way around it, this takes time away from your own business.
Why I turned down a $1000 client
A year ago I began thinking about building a website. Honestly I had no idea how blogs made money only that they could.
I thought “Eh, rather than binge watching Netflix, maybe I can try this out”
Making side income from my couch…. SWWWWWWeeeeeetttt
If you told me then that I would turn down the opportunity to make an extra $1000 on one side job, I would of laughed at you. So what exactly happened?
Over the past year a few people that I personally know found out that I can set up websites.
Now, I am no website expert. But I will say that I know enough coding to be dangerous and Google is my friend.
But a simple WordPress theme, install, some customizations. EASY.
So a few friends needed sites for their small business and I hooked them up. These were simple sites, nothing crazy complicated, enough to give them a web presence and some functionality.
Fast forward to last month.
Referrals are the life blood of small businesses.
I received a phone call from a client asking if I could build her a website. She had been referred by one of my first clients.
Within 5 minutes however, my excitement dimmed.
My gut said “RUN”
My mind said “I can make this work”
Here is the thing about contract work.Your client needs to understand what they want and you need to understand what your client wants.
If either of those things are missing, you are bound to run into a TON of issues.
You may end up creating a corvette and all they want is a Ford Focus or worse they wanted a boat!
As the contractor you spend time building and then more time re-building after the client says:
Do you think you could do…
Is there a way to make this do…
I was hoping it would do…
Then add scope creep and its the NEVERENDING project and you are looking for the escape hatch.
So why did my gut say “RUN”?
Client was not tech savvy
With ALL projects I have ever done, there is a learning curve. I have often sat with clients in their homes and taught them how to write posts, upload images, etc. In my opinion that it just part of the job.
Most people have never looked under the hood of a website so I expect to troubleshoot a bit.
This client was super honest with me and said:
“I struggle with my email but I need a website because people have asked me for my site”
Again, gut said RUNNNNNN and mind said I can work with this.
Lack of Clarity
It is so important for any freelancer to gather the requirements for the project they are working on. These are what you and the client agree will be done on the project. Without them, you are stuck in a never-ending loop of rework.
Through the conversation, I asked what is the purpose of your site and what do you want it to do.
Over the next 30 minutes she changed her mind about what she wanted a dozen times.
It is not abnormal for people to change their mind but they need to have some idea of what they want.
She had no idea what she wanted…
After an hour, I realized what she was wanting to do she could EASILY do on Etsy. She made handmade baby items and wanted to sell some online.
The problem was that she would create 3-4 items with the same fabric… She never had extra fabric and she would sell the items at trade shows. So in theory she could sell something online that she had already sold in person.
I explained that you could set up inventory in Woocommerce but you would need to manage it as you sold items at the trade shows.
I suggested that Etsy might be a better option… It is just easier technically and you are exposed to a bunch of people wanting to buy your stuff.
“It costs too much, I’d rather have my own site”
When you combine a person who isn’t 100% clear on what they want and lack understanding of the technical aspects of a website there is sure to be sticker shock in the price.
I understand that it’s my job to help educate her on why it costs this much but that only goes so far.
Even before we started talking money she commented that some of the reasons she didnt want to do Etsy was due to the transactions fees.
She hated the idea of switching to Stripe because of the higher fees.
I started off slow…
Here are some basic things you need to buy… this isnt paying me… this is just what you need to run your site.
- Domain Name
- Hosting with SSL
- Theme (could be free)
- Woocommerce (Free but most likely need some extensions)
Her store had 40 skus with multiple products per sku.
She wanted pictures of each product… from multiple angles… UGH…
Plus she wanted to show different fabric types.
All possible. But time consuming and the upkeep for new products…. I knew she was never going to be able to do it.
After scoping it out I told her it would take me about 50 hours to complete which includes training and my rate is 25$ an hour. I built in re-work time because I knew there would be…
Overall she was looking at paying close to $1500 for a site…
A site I knew she would struggle to use and probably abandon.
As I figured, there was sticker shock… She asked if she could think about it.
3 Days later she sent an email…
Let’s do it!
For 3 days I had hoped she would say no. It would of been easier.
Now I was faced with the decision… Do I say yes and build a site or tell her no?
1 Year ago I would of chased the buck. I would of said absolutely lets start today! But a lot of things have changed.
For one I have dealt with clients that constantly want to change the project…
It takes away from working on my own business.
In the end its rarely worth the money.
So I made the call…
“I apologize but I don’t think I can take on this project right now. Based upon what you shared with me, I dont think a wordpress site is your best option. I again I apologize. I dont want you to spend money on something that you may struggle to use.”
Of course she pushed back but in the end, I stood firm.
Understand Your Purpose
My goal for my online business is NOT to make websites. Honestly it’s not even to make money… although it is a nice benefit. My purpose for High Five Dad is to help parents understand how their finances impact their family, provide tips on saving and budgeting, and of course show ways to increase your families income.
I believe there is a HUGE amount of families out there struggling paycheck to paycheck because they have never created a budget or simply need an idea to make more money. They are maybe only a hundred dollars away from living comfortable versus living paycheck to paycheck.
My purpose is to help them.
Creating a website for baby clothes does not fit into this purpose.
Too many people chase the dollar and forget your purpose. Stay focused!
What would you have done?
Share in the comments below what you would have done.