My husband once observed “It’s amazing how popular you are when you own a pick-up truck!“
We owned a big old navy blue pick up truck for a few years at one point in our marriage and it was a great convenience. We were happy to help out who ever needed to move something which usually led to a chance to visit with other families, which I always enjoyed! But I think our circle of friends were as disappointed as we were when it died and replaced it with a (GASP) car!
Having design skills is similar to having a pick-up truck – when people find out what I do, it’s amazing how many design projects everyone has secretly been considering, and “of course it won’t take YOU anytime at all!” Is this a bad thing? No, not at all.I LOVE sharing the gift God has given me with all my friends and family.
The challenge is finding a happy medium between doing a friend a favor and knowing when it should be a paid agreement. I’m always happy to brainstorm someone’s entrepreneurial ideas and offer my experience and ideas – usually from the conversation I can determine if we should set up a formal agreement. I’ve found this is the time to explain more about the design process and educate them on the cost of doing business.
It’s very important to clearly identify all costs, responsibilities and expectations – just as it is with a regular client. Of course the tendency is to think they’ll understand this is your business, and how you pay your bills, etc. But it’s rarely the case. But in the long run, my friendship with them is more important and I work hard to make sure their needs are met.
Operating a business has taught me to appreciate everyone who is or wants to be an entrepreneur and value their talents and abilities. If I can offer my talents to my friends to help them succeed I do, even if sometimes it means I don’t receive any actual pay. Who knows…they might be the ones with the next pick-up!