Over the past years I have been asked for my input on quite a number of projects, websites, blogs, books and the like. I have felt incredibly flattered by that and I wish I could say yes to each and every one of them, but I can’t.
You see, there is only so much I can do in the time that I have, and the issue with many of the requests I receive is that they are either low/no pay projects or contain merely a promise of ‘potential’ earnings or profits in future. Unfortunately that doesn’t pay my bills. If I could, I would work entirely free of charge, but like anyone else I have my financial obligations to meet. Nevertheless, I have tried to keep my rates as competitive as possible and provided work for free whenever I could.
My problem is that I am a worker bee rather than a business brain, so it is with embarrassment that I have to admit that my approach so far has left me on the verge of bankruptcy (through lack of income) and others disappointed in me (because I could not provide them with what they asked from me). Therefore, a change of approach on my part was required.
So here’s the new deal. If you hire me, I’m yours. Never exclusively, but nonetheless always fully at your service. If I offer to do something for you free of charge, you’re lucky – but you may have to be patient with me, as you won’t be given first priority. If you’ve asked me to do something for you on low/no/deferred pay… I am very sorry, but the (retrospective) answer is no – I just can’t afford to do it. I considered increasing my rates to some, in order to afford freebies for others, but that just didn’t feel like a fair thing to do.
As for ‘freebies-in-progress’, I’ll be finishing some as promised, while letting go of the rest. Not all will be lost, because from now on my coffee, tea, lunch and dinner breaks and other in-between moments will be dedicated to preserving past works as well as publishing my vast collection of notes, drafts, scraps, (anecdotal) tales and expressions of opinion or creativity. Most of it will be made available under a Creative Commons licence, so there will be plenty of stuff available from me free of charge, just no longer anything ‘by request’ or ‘made to order’. (Anything else is for sale.)
Watch this space.
(Note: Creative Commons does not equal ‘free for all’ – follow the rules. Also, anything made public that is not clearly marked as licensed under a Creative Commons license is subject to full copyright protection. If in doubt, contact the copyright owner. A referral to something done well may be better than any attempt to re-create something. Plagiarism (or any other form of copyright infringement) is never cool.)