Has a friend ever approached you and asked, “Hey can you design my website?” or “Can you design a logo for me?” what about…”Can you do this “little” something for me?”
These can be situations that are hard to handle as there is more than just money on the table, there is a friendship to consider. It has happened to me numerous times, and while you always want to help out a friend, time is money, but if you handle it the right way, it can work out well.
All you have to do is follow a few simple guidelines on how to work with friends, you will be able to maintain your friendship, and have a great client all-in-one.
NEVER VOLUNTEER YOUR WORK FOR FREE
You won’t pay attention to the project. You will feel less passionate about providing your best service.
Paying your bills will take priority. Obviously, we all have bills and obligations to take care of in life. In this case, quality often takes the back seat while money takes top priority.
The more revisions they ask for will take away precious time from a paying client. As a result, you will
begin to resent it.
When times get tough you will end up putting the project on hold to get money in the door. The project will “somehow” never get done.
When you don’t charge your friends, you are disrespecting them and their business. Only work with a friend if you feel you can provide them with value.
Set the ground rules upfront, so everyone knows what they are getting. In the end, you will have given them a great product and kept your friendship.
KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL
When working with friends, handle it the same way you would with your other clients. Write up the proposal process. Whenever I send over my proposal via e-mail, always give your friend the “option out” if you think it may be over budget for them. Instead of avoiding the topic of money, you need to face this head on and make sure everything is clear and upfront from the beginning. Talking about money, with a friend can be uncomfortable in the beginning, but you must approach the subject; otherwise, you will begin to resent your friend.
Have your kick meeting. Set forth any guidelines you would do with any other client.
Getting unprofessional about the process with your friends is a sure way to bring uncertainty and doubt, which will hurt the project and the friendship.
Often times, friends can’t always afford to work with each other, but a trade of services may be something to consider. Trade arrangements aren’t a bad thing, but the key is to make sure that you still structure those deals just like you do with any paid project.
Set clear expectations as to what each party will receive and put it in writing. With trade agreements it is easy for one person or the other to feel cheated or undercompensated for their time. Get clear about what is being traded so that both parties feel equally compensated.
Just Say ‘NO’
If you want to avoid the awkwardness of working with a friend and potentially ruining a good relationship, just say, “No”. You can explain to them that you would take their project, but you are backed up with work.
Has any of your friends ever asked for you to work on a project for them? If so, please share your experience.