11 November 2008

Creative people finding work on Craigslist?



Craiglist is a huge resource for small companies, start ups and excited creative people looking to find people to collaborate with, but can you really find work there? It all depends on what you mean by work. Can you find professional level, well paid contract jobs for example? While much depends on your location, the simple answer is, not very likely.

Most of the people looking for contractors or small jobs are in reality, looking to get something for nothing. I know there are exceptions, but if you want to use Craigslist or a similar service as a starting point for a great career... you are in the wrong place. You can find the occasional quick job for little pay now and then and while some big and legitimate companies will from time to time place ads looking for new talent, for the most part you will get well intentioned start-up people with no idea what they are doing and no business plan (not to mention no budget) or outright theives looking to take advantage of people desperate for work.

Some things to be aware of:

Everyone will tell you how « professional » they are. What ever that means. It usually means they are trying to rip you off.

They will also tell you to you get in « on the ground floor » and give them a deal on price you will be 1st in line to recieve work after the company « takes off » (Even if this were true, you would be forgotten by then)

Do not get caught up in someone else's dream, you have your own dreams... which usually involve being paid a decent amount for the services you provide.

Don't undercharge... these people are strangers to you, you don't owe them a lower price. They will not respect someone who charges a low fee, they will milk it for all they can. They can pay you for « future work » when there is such a thing, until then make them pay you for the present work you are doing. There are many charities you can offer low or no fees too if you want experience. If someone is really looking to succeed, he/she will be willing and able to pay for services needed.

Set a time to stop the project and insist on ½ up front, ½ on finish. They are taking as much a chance on you as you are on them... be fair but not stupid. Setting a stop time can really help you from getting on never ending, never paying projects and if the client is serious, it will help them to focus on what they really need and not take you for a pointless ride while they satisfy their egos making you try every (bad) idea in their heads.

Don't get bullied into work. You have every right to say no... for any reason. Maybe they give you a bad feeling, maybe the work is distasteful to you. You are not losing work... you haven't recieved any yet, and you can't lose what you never had. If you feel pressured... say « thanks, but no thanks ».

Expect dissappointment. We all know about « AOL » inches so expect « AOL » salary promises.

Expect SPAM... lots of it!
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