The value of your work and reputation

Well I got two calls just now both of which left quite an impression on me. The first was from a client who I haven’t done a lot of work for but has been one of those good ones where you honestly want to work for them. They didn’t need my services but needed a referral for someone to do video. They think enough of me to know that anyone that I recommend will be more than good enough and professional enough for them. I was happy to channel them to my buddy and it gave me a chance to tell the client about a project that I want to pitch to them. They showed interest in my project and we are going to talk more about it after they are done with this video emergency of theirs. So that’s a good thing: client calls on my reputation with them and I get to get work for a friend as well as maybe get a place for my project. Sweet!

Then the phone rings a few minutes later and the voice introduces himself as the editor of a publication out of Portland that was referred to me by yet a different client. I love it when people speak well of me, ya know? He saw some of my work on the clients website and wanted to use it in their upcoming issue. I told him that it was very possible and in fact I have tons of work from that project that wasn’t published that might suit his needs better. No, he says, that one is perfect. He then told me that they didn’t have a budget for the photo so they "were going to just copy it from the website but they have it in Flash so it’s a lot harder so we called you" Wha? You admit that you were going to steal my work and are asking me to simply hand the photo over… are you nuts? I let that go and said that I can let them use it for a very reasonable price. No, he says, I can’t pay you ya see we are a non-profit but I will give you credit – will that be ok? Well I explain that although they are a non-profit I am a for profit business and if my work has value to them then it certainly has value to me. To that I have a policy to not give my work away. I can give it to him for next to nothing but I will charge him. Let’s face it, if you are a high-school student getting a byline is a cool thing but when you are a working professional a byline from a pub that can’t afford to pay you even $50 doesn’t mean a thing. Well the conversation quickly winds down and off he goes to figure something out.

It’s almost as if I called, say, the NY Times and said that I want a subscription but won’t pay for it. That I was trying to steal an issue but the box is too hard to break into. So they should just give me the paper for free … but don’t worry – think of the value of people seeing me reading it. Now THAT’s a sales pitch that won’t go anywhere. Ugh!

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