re: The Value Of Your Time VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

I will not be compensated for this time.

You lost me at this line. While it's going to be fun and a good opportunity to learn, this does not pay bills. Call me a capitalist, but if you want to create wealth, you have to exchange it with money. Naval Ravikant has a good take on this that you should enforce an aspirational hourly rate. Then when doing something you evaluate if it's cheaper to do it yourself at your fixed hourly rate. If not, you outsource it.

Doing it for free has two effects: undercutting the price hurts other freelancers because @deciduously does it for free, so why pay higher than nothing ? Secondly, you are telling the world that your work has no value other than your own personnal satisfaction. I paid through tech school doing magic at corporate events. I also worked for a circus. I've seen performers ridiculously undercutting the comon price and 1 guy doing it for free. It hurts everyone because it spreads the word and people ask why they should pay you a fair price that pays the bills while there is someone doing it for 15$/hr or free ?

While you give them your time for free, they will gladly save/make more money using your product and you will not see any benefits from that other than personal satisfaction. As you can see, I'm against giving away my time for free; it has a value and you can't get more time. When it's gone, that's it until you ran out of it.

 

I was hoping someone would elaborate on this aspect. This is a good point, it undercuts well-meaning freelancers.

Does it matter, then, that if I do not do this project, they won't be pursuing it with another provider? This isn't the company commissioning a product, their employers didn't set them to this, they just sat down and thought "Hey, Ben knows coding". Because it's not really a market transaction, do you feel it still is harmful to the market as a whole?

you are telling the world that your work has no value other than your own personnal satisfaction

While I understand this is a bad move for someone looking for a job, I don't currently have any proof to point to that it does.

When it's gone, that's it until you ran out of it.

This hit home, and is good food for thought.

 

Does it matter, then, that if I do not do this project, they won't be pursuing it with another provider? This isn't the company commissioning a product, their employers didn't set them to this, they just sat down and thought "Hey, Ben knows coding".

This might sound selfish at first, but this shouldn't matter to you. You are renting your time to build a system so they can save time and money. Right now, you are the best offer they have: 0$. This is sad, but in business people aren't always honest. Of course if you do it for free, they won't complaint that you are not getting paid. They will cling to that offer unless you decline or they don't agree with what you ask. If it not good with you, they won't ask permission to hire someone else. That's business.

While I understand this is a bad move for someone looking for a job, I don't currently have any proof to point to that it does.

This isn't about finding a job, it's putting a price on your time. It's the most scarce resource you have, use it wisely and don't give it away for nothing. Spending time has a direct cost to you: health, relations and wealth.

I also, though, spend time coding for recreation. I'd be chalking this up under that category. The fact that these people will benefit is secondary to me, if I didn't want to build it it'd be an easy no.

They aren't in a position to offer me any money, it's me for free or nobody, and I would feel good about alleviating their stress. Value created is incidental.

I don't necessarily disagree, just trying to explore it.

You talked about classrooms and staff, so I guess we are talking about a school. Is it privately owned ? Or part of a school board ?

It's a preschool operated as part of a larger non-profit. No pockets will be lined.

I thought it was a school board owned school. Still, non-profits can still pay to get something, but I understand more your motives to do it free. In the end, it's you that makes the call. Do it if it lines up with what you believe is the right thing and don't overstrain yourself.

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