A fictional conversation between me and a well-intentioned family members.
Them: I was telling Jim at work about what you do and I gave him your contact info, he's looking for a Web Designer.
Me: Oh. Ummm. I'm not a web designer.
Them: Yeah, but you do web pages.
Me: Actually, I'm an Integrated Technology Solutions Consultant. I solve business problems by engineering custom hardware and software to automa---
Them: ---BUT I've seen you do web pages, and you did that nice site for XYZ Inc.
Me: Well, yeah, but that was part of a bigger project, I was creating an extranet to expose an e-commerce component that I integrated with their legacy back-end information system.
Them: Yeah THAT ONE, that's what I mean, you made it look really nice.
Me: Actually I outsourced the design for that project, I just assembled their---
Them: ---AND you designed that site for ABC Ltd. and it looks nice.
Me: Yeah I guess, but that project had a slim margin and I just made do with my own---
Them: ---PERFECT. I'm sure that would be fine for Jim.
Me: I'm really trying to focus on Industrial Automation. What sort of business is Jim in again?
Them: I think mousetraps..., or maybe its metal scrap...
Me: Uh huh---
Them: ---It might have been house wrap... I wasn't really paying attention.
Them: He was wondering what it would cost.
Me: Well, I usually don't touch anything for under $5000--
Them: WHOA why does it cost so---
Me: --- well, there are a lot of factors to consider, is it data-driven, there's the cost of writing a proposal, I write a project plan, analyse his needs, define the scope, stakeholders, risks, define metrics for success, I need to hire a designer and a photographer, the content needs to be written and proofread, I do A/B testing and penetration tests, there's documentation to be written, and of course I have to cover the overhead of rent, my assistant, insurance, etc.
Them: No, no, he just needs something simple, can't you just whip something up?
Me: Well, projects that seem simple have a way of bloating into megaproject---
Them: BUT he said a guy from the Yellow Pages called and said they'd do one for $70/month if he bought an ad, and it would have Flash, and---
Me: Well I've seen some of those sites... umm... if that's all he needs I'd say go for---
Them: ---But then he said his nephew was good at computers and he could do it cheap.
Me: Actually that's a great way for young people who are learning to gain experience, he should take him up on---
Them: ---but he wants it to look professional.
Me: Uh huh.
Me: Hey! I heard an ad for SquareSpace on TWiT -- it actually sounded like you can make some pretty nice sites from their templates and it's only like $8 a month.
Them: Yeah, I think his business is really going to take off. It's going to be BIG. You know, you need to take these small jobs to build up a reputation---
Me: Actually I'm really well respected among my peers. Remember all those articles I wrote and how well received they were? And I've never had to look for work since I started the business, my skills are actually specialized and there is a lot of demand---
Them: ---look, if you don't want to do it just say so.
Me: I don't want to do---
Them: ---I was just trying to help, and Jim's such a nice guy and I just thought---
Me: Fine. Tell him to email me.