Free Business Website – The Real Cost

I wrote last week about some neglected and hacked blogs. Thankfully that's all resolved now. It's been a diversion I could have done without, but gave me a good reason to clear out some “no longer used” blogs. However I didn't elaborate on the story behind one of them – the free business website I did for a friend.

Working For Free

Cost of a WebsiteA very good friend was starting a small business, and I was just starting blogging. This was several years ago. So I offered to create a free business website for her. A blog of course.

I worked hard on that and came up with a rather nice, if I say it myself, blog. She was duly grateful and together we brainstormed ideas for possible posts – which my friend (let's call her Mary) then decided she didn't have time or inclination to produce, because she was tied up with other aspects of the new business.

So I put the posts up for her. I should have seen the signs….

The blog was locally targeted and achieved a decent ranking. It actually out-ranked Mary's chief competitor which gave us both a giggle, and gave me confidence in my skills.

Still, making blog posts eluded her. So I set up a Twitter account for her and a Facebook account, hoping these would be simpler for her to use. Nope.

As I got busier and busier, I could no longer continue working for free, but as Mary was having family health issues at the time I didn't want to add to her woes. So I made no further new posts and maintained the blog “every so often” when WordPress updates became available.

Mary got customers from her blog while I was actively updating and promoting it, and I hadn't even implemented half the knowledge I've learned in the intervening years. If I were to review it myself now, with my increased skill levels, there's lots more I could suggest to improve it.

But I can, no WILL, no longer work for free.

Free Business Websites Are Not Valued

Err – did I mention that Mary's blog was hosted on my own hosting account and I bought her the domain as part of her birthday present? No, I thought I forgot that LOL.

You may chocoffee-mugose to associate the mug of coffee attached to this post with the one by my side as I write… or you may attach an altogether different connotation to it 🙂

When the site got hacked I spent quite a long time trying to fix it, but once neglected it proved harder than expected to get rid of the intruders and I was back to working unpaid on someone else's free business website – at the expense of time spent implementing plans for my own business and probably at the expense of my health, as I'm known for my late nights in front of the computer.

So I plucked up the courage to tell Mary that her site had been hacked and I couldn't keep on putting time in to repair it. Her response: “Oh well never mind, we can start a new one.”

WE? Err, who exactly was going to “start a new one”?

Of course, being me, I didn't say what I thought – but I did manage to say that there had been hours involved in setting it up and there would be hours involved in “starting a new one”. Hours that I am now too busy to donate for free. So she said “Oh, OK, well get rid of it then.” Just like that. As if it was a scrap of note-paper I'd scribbled a shopping list on. OUCH. I was hurt.

Mary is a very kind lady and a true friend, so I'm sure her intention was to stop me feeling pressured to put in more free hours, but I was left thinking….

So much for the value of a free website.

Revaluing My Skills

This left me feeling pretty down – and, it has to be said, guilty that I neglected her site and didn't “educate her better”.

Then, visiting some of my favorite blogs over the week I came across a great post on Carol Amato's blog about missing your audience by Don Purdum of Unveil The Web. (By the way – thanks for the mention, Carol, for Edward Thorpe of Far Side Of 55 and I.) Cluster of links there – but they're all well-deserved!

In my comment to Don's post I mentioned that I saw “what I do” as “helping small businesses”. Don replied, suggesting that instead of thinking of myself as “helping” (which entrepreneurs might fight – for fear of loss of control) a better thought would be:

“I'm in the business of transforming the experience entrepreneurs have online…” That mindset is more inspiring, engaging and leads to a more passionate statement coming from you to them that they can embrace.

And believe it or not, changing my thinking in that way has, instantly, given me so much more confidence in my own abilities.

So What Changed?

Instead of just taking the blog down – which to me was admitting defeat – I composed an email to Mary explaining that I couldn't keep on working for free and suggesting that SHE takes a paid subscription to WordFence (less than £1 a week) to protect her blog. I also showed her the monthly price of a typical Blog Management service.

If you're expecting me to say that Mary saw the light and stumped up for the paid service, I have to disappoint you here. But the take-away message isn't about Mary's business, it's about mine and maybe yours…..

I have stopped thinking that I need to work for free and have started valuing my online skills. (I already have no hesitation in charging a good market-rate hourly fee in my offline business.)

It's not as if I haven't written before on the cost of running a successful blog!

As I reflect on how my skills have developed since I did the “free business website” for Mary, I now feel confident in charging for my online services too. (Especially armed with the story of the hours wasted by relying on a neglected / free blog.)

A Win-Win Solution

Instead of just “giving up” when Mary suggested taking down the blog, I have come up with a solution that is more tailored to Mary's empty pocket and lack of interest in blogging, but preserves my pride, and uses some of the content from the original blog.

FB_180Another service my business offers is the development of mobile friendly websites. So I am preparing for Mary, a mobile website to replace the blog.

No – she's not paying me for it LOL. But my pay-back is:

  • I haven't left a really good friend stranded with no site
  • I am freed from the free blog maintenance issue
  • I can use Mary's site as a reference site for new clients

In addition to learning to value my skills, in the future I will remember that if a business owner isn't prepared to invest time or money into their online business, it's better to work with them on a different solution rather than leave them with a neglected free business website.

Over To You…

Have you ever done a free business website for a friend or family member and regretted it later?

Please share

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Enstine Muki - February 7, 2015

Hey Joy,
What an experience you’ve had there with your friend 😉 I don’t mean to be harsh on Mary but I think some people are like that and we must be able to deal with them wisely to maintain the friendship.

That has happened to me and I really felt like some people don’t make the right use of their brains. Some even want more for free. It’s like you’re to shake hands with someone and he says no I want a hug!

I like the solution you gave Mary and think if she one day sees the need for a blog, you should monetize your services.

Happy Weekend my friend.

    Joy - February 7, 2015

    Hi Enstine,

    Well, just got back from a girlie night out with Mary and another friend. Much chocolatey ice-cream has been consumed, so I’m feeling very mellow 🙂

    The mobile website will be finished off in a few days and face has been saved for both of us. Most important of all, I retained Mary’s friendship and I learned not to mix business with pleasure – which my Dad warned me when I was old enough to see over the shop counter. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend too Enstine 🙂

Harleena Singh - February 8, 2015

Hi Joy,

That sure was a lot to go through 🙂

I can so well relate to all that you wrote, especially when most of us tend to give so much and do a lot for friend’s, without really knowing our own worth – yes, been there, done that!

I guess one doesn’t realize the time value, when we work for family or friend’s and I would call that a good gesture, to think beyond money and what’s in it for us, when you help others, isn’t it? You know I believe a lot in it too and it becomes tough at times when you can’t carry on doing ‘free service’ forever and want some compensation after a while for your time and service.

I am glad with Mary, things worked out finally setting up the mobile site would save you both the trouble, but everyone’s not as lucky! One needs to keep the personal and professional distance, and make things clear right from the start, where work is concerned, or offer what you can do for free and what you cannot. Easier said than done….but that’s how things work 🙂

Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend 🙂

    Joy - February 8, 2015

    Hi Harleena

    Well, it’s been another afternoon working on this to get a backup onto a stick for Mary and cleaning up everything from my hosting account. It’s being a bit awkward and won’t go – but no doubt Hostgator will help out and be as pleased to see the back of this as I will.

    The other problem it’s caused is that there were too many files in my account to backup, so it’s been stopping my backups too. Nearly there now, though.

    Well, I certainly learned a lesson and won’t be doing that again in a hurry. I suppose in fairness, it was so long ago when I set the site up that I didn’t realize all the things that could go wrong with a neglected site. Several years on, I know better.

    I’ll definitely keep personal and professional far apart going forward. Trying to be kind certainly did ME no favors!

    Yes, I can imagine you being kind enough to have fallen into the same trap too, Harleena.

    Have a great weekend. Joy

Atish Ranjan - February 8, 2015

Good that you have learnt few things when you offered free service to your friend. I do help for free but I rather teach them to do because If I continue to do then the person becomes lazy and wants every work to be done for free.

But yes, you can use that site for your portfolio list.

Nice post Joy. Glad you shared your story.

    Joy - February 8, 2015

    Hi Atish

    I should have realized when Mary didn’t want to do the blog posts or Twitter.

    Anyway – it’s nearly over and done with now and a ready site for my portfolio.

    Have a great weekend. Joy

Varsha Singh - February 9, 2015

Hello Joy,

This is a great post. I think all people are like this post.Very helpful article as always. Liked it very much. The insights are very Good the explanation about free business website.I will share this post with my all followers.

Thanks for sharing this article with us:)

Varsha Singh

    Joy - February 10, 2015

    Hi Varsha

    Glad you like the article – I’d like to think it’s warning to others who might be tempted to do the same.

    Have a great week, Joy

Bill Garland - February 9, 2015

How awesome! You supported your friend get started online! It can be a struggle to ask friends for money when we share our gifts. As your story illustrates, free services tend to not be valued — there is no mutual sacrifice of time and resources. Blogging can be a daunting challenge for those not used to doing it on a regular basis. You learned a valuable lesson and I glad the two of you are still friends!

Great post! Thank you for sharing!
— Bill

    Joy - February 10, 2015

    Hi Bill

    Yes, I suppose I need to bear in mind that it’s never wrong to have helped someone get started, even if it that help wasn’t valued in the long-term.

    And it was a good lesson that not everyone wants to put in the work that we all know goes to making a good blog.

    Thanks for your visit, Joy

Carol Amato - February 9, 2015

Hi, Joy,

Oh my – bless your heart, you’ve really given and given…

Your “friend” clearly is not treating others the way she wants to be treated and has no clue whatsoever what it takes to get a site up and running and content, etc. to achieve good results.

The problem? In my opinion is this right here: “Of course, being me, I didn’t say what I thought” . . . Yes, you’ve voiced you opinion here and gotten it off your chest so to speak in your blog post, but what prevents a situation in future where you are horribly taken advantage of again? (been there myself!)

You and me both! I’ve gone above and beyond many many times to help folks and been taken advantage of more times than I can count. However, I now have a MasterMind Coaching membership and my students (who pay for my help) are my first priority and when they are taken care of, then I answer questions for others as time allows.

I guess I don’t understand the service you’re offering…I have a regular self-hosted WordPress blog (theme) that is perfectly mobile responsive – so I don’t need a “mobile” website because my original website works great on any mobile device.

You’re more than welcome for the mention as I was excited to get to know Edward as a result of knowing you – it’s a lovely win-win, isn’t it? 🙂

Awesome that Don’s article inspired you, Joy – so happy to hear that. Wishing you all the very best and continued success and business growth!


    Joy - February 10, 2015

    Hi Carol

    I was going to say that having been caught out once like this I wouldn’t be so silly again, but….. you guessed it – this is the second time it’s happened to me. The first friend and I parted on bad terms, although not about the website, and I handed her website on to a paid-for service. Certainly there will never be a THIRD time. Let’s call these mistakes “growing pains”.

    My problem with “not saying anything at the time” is a typical one for me in all situations. I prefer to process things in my mind and then come up with a reasoned response – which sometimes I don’t do if I just “react”. Also it sort of needed to “sink in” properly, and for me to check “did she really say that?”

    Luckily in recent months I’ve been so busy with paying clients that I could in all honesty say I couldn’t continue working free. Yet in a way if I hadn’t had paying clients it would have been more important for me to put my efforts into marketing my business, rather than doing freebies.

    The mobile website wouldn’t be appropriate for you, with a responsive blog, but for someone whose site was old and not a blog with a responsive theme, or someone who has no website, it’s an almost “one-off” solution at a lower cost. Many of the smaller tradespeople I come across don’t even have a website of any kind, or it looks grim on a phone. Those are the people I’m looking to reach – with perhaps a view to moving them onto a blog if they are prepared to make the commitment in time / money. It may be that the blog isn’t the right solution for them – as it turned out NOT to be for Mary. It was a bit of a wake-up call for me that a blog may not be right for everyone, whereas before I’d tended to assume it must be.

    Great that Don’s article on your site came about at just the right time.

    Have a great week. Joy

      Carol Amato - February 11, 2015

      Hi, Joy,

      Oh, ok – I completely understand. Thanks for the clarification. Just learned something!

      Appreciate it! 🙂

      Talk soon,

        Joy - February 12, 2015

        Thanks Carol – glad to have cleared it up…. and actually good to have clarified it, because at a meeting earlier in the week someone made exactly the same point as you did – so I had my answer ready!

        Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Sarah - February 9, 2015

Hi Joy
oh goodness do I recognise myself or what??? However, my FREEBIE has a happy ending. I set up a website and facebook page for my son’s new pub job down in Wales..and his bosses just saw it as a perk for employing him- mum’s expertise comes for FREE!

He is now in a new job- much better place and a savvy boss who understands the value of an online presence. Because I did a good job of the freebie- I am now going to be paid for the facebook page I have set up (250+ likes in a week!!) and am officially recognised as the Marketing company to be used for promoting the new pub.

However, I am still struggling with being paid properly for other clients and am at that crossroads that says- I AM WORTH MORE!

It is very hard to know what you are worth- and even harder to explain to clients just how involved it is- setting stuff up and maintaining it- they just see the end result.

We are swans Joy- serene on the outside- furiously paddling away under the water-because we want our clients to see us as professional sometimes we underplay the sheer hard work it takes to get them the results they want!

I am glad you found a resolution to your freebie issue- lessons learned- we need to value ourselves before we “give away the farm”!!


    Joy - February 10, 2015

    Hi Sarah

    I’m so pleased to hear your success story. Gives me hope to think that my story could have been a success story too, had things turned out slightly differently.

    It’s a difficult transition to make and I do love your analogy of being serene swans on the surface, paddling furiously below water. Perhaps I had never conveyed to my friend just how many hours I had spent putting the site up – perhaps I wanted to look “smart”, but in the end it came back and bit me.

    Congratulations on your paid work, and may it be the first of many assignments.

    Thanks for sharing your encouraging success story.


Augustus - February 9, 2015

Hi Joy,

You know in my country, we have an adage that roughly translate to “What you don’t pay for, you don’t appreciate it” This adage is one of the most sincere saying I have ever heard.

The problem with free service is that when I offer such, I don’t feel obligated to keep up, if its a writing bonus (I am into freelance writing and I sometimes offer bonus for loyal customers) I do struggle to complete the task compared to when am being paid for it. On the other end, the person I am working for may not really like what I did, but since its free, he/she may not want to complain (Putting our effective communication at risk).

If he/she is a family member or friend, I would rather recommend a friend of mine that is also offering the same service rather than do it for them at no cost. Infact I prefer to pay my friend on their behalf if I feel obligated to that extent.

Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Joy - February 10, 2015

    Hi Augustus,

    Well your country’s adage certainly holds true here too! And probably world-wide LOL

    You make another very good point…. that it’s not as easy to get honest feedback if you have produced work for free.

    A good tip, too, about recommending a friend to do the work instead – at the very least it would give someone an idea of the market rate for a professional to do it – as opposed to a professional who happens to be a friend. Even better if “recommended friend” will return the favor occasionally!

    Thanks for your thoughts, Joy

donna merrill - February 10, 2015

Hi Joy,

You sure did come up with a topic that is well needed for all of us. In the past, I’ve done some “freebies” I learned a long time ago that once I had done this, more was expected of me. It put me in a spot whereby I was giving my time and energy out freely because of a person’s situation. But when I had to tell her I could no longer keep up, that was the end of the “friendship.”

Now that’s OK…It was a huge lesson learned for me that my time is valuable and it really is. Sure…I will give some people extra time here and there event till today, but they do have to pay me.

It is not only good for me but for others. I can still hear my psychology professor giving a lecture such a long time ago talking about payment. In short, people that pay will value us. They will take what we give them and it is better for them in the end. But when it is given out for free, they don’t value it and therefore won’t apply it for themselves.

We give in many ways..just look at the work we put into our blog posts…that’s free! So why not charge for the extras? After all, we cannot sell ourselves short.


    Joy - February 12, 2015

    Hi Donna,

    Yes, lots of people seem to have come across this issue! I’m sorry that in your case the “friendship” didn’t survive – but no prizes for guessing what that means.

    You’re right – we all give out so much in free information on our blog posts, so if people really can’t afford to pay I think in future I will point them to the quality blogs out there (yours being one of them) and let them learn the hard way, paying for their blogs with time. Then they will realize just how valuable our hard-earned knowledge is.

    Thanks for making such a good point.


James McAllister - February 10, 2015

Hi Joy!

I can definitely relate to you on this one! Early on my biggest earner was from Hostgator affiliate commissions. I’d help people get a site up for free and collect a $100 commission from Hostgator, I thought it was a win-win for both of us. The whole process took about an hour. Problem was people thought making money online was easy and gave up not long after they started. I’d say I lost a good half of my commissions before they got paid out.

Now I could say that I’m still banking a good $50 an hour average from that, but eventually I got so frustrated that I stopped doing it for free. I learned quickly that when people need you more than you need them, you really have the upper-hand when it comes to negotiations. I threw in “life-time support” and an hour of 1 on 1 consulting then raised my price to a flat $250. Even if they gave up early on, I still made money and was happy. Fortunately though, most people willing to pay that price weren’t quitters so I got the Hostgator commission on top of that as well.

These days if people are going to take my time from me, I’m going to expect something in return. I had better benefit for giving away my time. There’s nothing wrong with that, and the fact that people expect us to work for free is appalling. Funny story, I once had a guy that expected me to write his content for him. I’m like… are you kidding me? I’m not a non-profit or a charity, I’m a business.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with charging for your work in any case. People love to complain here in the US about the pharmaceutical companies charging money for their drugs, but little do they realize if there wasn’t money being made there would be no incentive to continue developing cures.
I make it clear right up front that I charge, and if other people don’t like it they can go away. Think of all of the other headaches they’re going to cause later on… right?

Better cut off this rant here before I end up writing a book.

Talk soon Joy!
– James

    Joy - February 13, 2015

    Hi James,

    That’s really smart – increasing your price, thereby increasing the perceived value, and attracting better quality customers – leading to win-win situation for all parties. People are much less likely to quit if they’ve paid $250 than $100 – or zero. And good quality customers, having had benefit from your support, are likely to become repeat customers. At the same time, cutting out the trouble makers and freebie seekers early on. Like it 🙂

    Is it only on the Internet that people expect a free lunch? Is it because there’s so much hype and “make money fast” hot air?

    You make the good point about the pharmaceutical industry, where new drugs are really valued – quite rightly – and profits finance further research.

    I bet even the worst of the Internet freebie seekers don’t ring up their local plumber and suggest he might like to repair their plumbing free!!

    Yes, we could write a book!

    Thanks for dropping by 🙂


Sandy - February 11, 2015

Thank you for sharing your story, Joy. It sounds so familiar to me, just in different situations. It is not easy to ask for money, and that is some thing that needs to be changed. Deservability issue at play! Thanks for this post and the comments by your friends left above. It’s valuable! 🙂

    Joy - February 12, 2015

    Hi Sandy,

    Yes, seems many people can relate to the problem – whatever the context. Well at least I’m not the only one.

    Asking for money isn’t easy – especially after having given for free. I guess with hindsight (that wonderful thing) I should have said “free for x months”.

    A lesson every business person has to learn PDQ!

Edward Thorpe - February 11, 2015

Hi Joy,

And yet another reason to love and respect you!

The reason, one might ask… You take friendship seriously and are willing to accept the good with the not so good.

You’d be less than normal IF you didn’t feel somewhat ‘put upon’ from this site building and maintenance experience.

Yet, you gained so much more than what payment would have brought you. Not the least of which was ‘once bitten – twice shy’. A lifetime value that’s priceless.

Speaking of pro bono work, you’re sure doing an excellent job for me and my simple little blog. And, I Do Thank You…

    Joy - February 12, 2015

    Hi Edward,

    You’re too kind 🙂 Well, as you may read elsewhere, this was actually the second time I fell for this one, I’m a slow learner. But this time it’s definitely twice bitten thrice shy.

    I so enjoy reading your blog. Anyone “the far side of 55”, or even coming up to 55, couldn’t fail to enjoy it – so it’s very little extra effort to add the odd social recommendation. Keep up the good work!

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Tasleem Khan - February 11, 2015

This post brought back memories for me. Even though I have not built a website for free for anyone, I did however offer my teaching services for free, at the time I thought it would only be a month but since my friend’s daughter started to really improve in her Maths she wanted me to carry on for FREE!! Lets just say I totally regretted it and learned to be positively selfish with my time.


    Joy - February 12, 2015

    Hi Tasleem,

    Thanks for widening the scope of the topic – yes it can be anything!

    Completely counter-intuitive that because your teaching had such a good result you were STILL expected to do it free. It might be thought that after a successful free month someone would see the value and be willing to pay – but that’s some people for you.

    You’re not being selfish with your time, you’re valuing yourself correctly!

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Lea Bullen - February 13, 2015

Hi Joy,

Its so disappointing when you work hard on something just for someone to treat it like nothing at all. I think sometimes its hard for people to recognize what it takes to accomplish something since they’re not doing it. It’s like kids with money before they start earning it themselves.

Very kind of you to set her up with something especially since she seemed so indifferent about having it.

I have not done free business for a friend or family member but have done other things, that I would now consider too much, and have kind of learned from that and applied it to business. I’m willing to help out a little for free but only to a certain extent since it would be my livelihood.


    Joy - February 14, 2015

    Hi Lea,

    Yes, you’ve really captured how I felt – when I thought I was being helpful, and then I felt as if I may as well not have bothered. Perhaps that’s not how Mary meant it but that’s what came across to me. But you’re right to point out that because she has no idea how to do it herself, she has no idea how much work went into it.

    Certainly the last free work I’ll be doing for friends. Perhaps a little advice, but that’s it. Too high risk 🙂

    Have a great weekend. Joy

Nanda Rahmanius - February 13, 2015

Hi Joy,

This is my first time here. And I’m happy to be here, finally. Nice to meet you. 🙂

This is a good article.
Indeed, nothing is free in this world currently. Honestly, I have never created a website for my friends or my family. Since they do not quite understand about that.

You know, in my country, even a blog is something that is not well known at all. They do not quite understand what is a blog and how to get money from there.

That’s why I became a blogger to get knowledge about blogging and my ultimate goal is to teach them all about it. I can not wait for when that time comes. 🙂

I will do something for free if I feel it is not something that deserves to be paid. However, if I feel it is too hard and time-consuming, I would ask for a fee. Well, I also need costs to survive in this world, I guess..hahaha 😀

Thanks for sharing, Joy.
Have a nice week and see you around!


    Joy - February 14, 2015

    Hi Nanda,

    Welcome to my blog, I am so pleased you found me and I hope you will find plenty of helpful information here:-)

    I’d always be willing to help people out with a SMALL freebie – it’s the ongoing jobs that cause the problem. They’re easy to start on, but less easy to finish.

    What a great opportunity you have that in your country few people are aware of blogs. I wish you well in spreading the word – and making a regular income out of it.

    Have a great weekend. Joy

Mark - February 15, 2015

Thanks a great story Joy!

Of course it’s obvious that you should have been justly compensated
for your extremely valuable time and skill!

But the truth is, that particular situation served a much bigger purpose, in that it convinced you of your worth and belief in your skills!

That long term is far more valuable to you! Sure while you were experiencing
it, it wasn’t pleasant!

However, now going forward you know what you’re capable of! So it was sort of like
a mini apprenticeship!

And you graduated extremely quickly and for a relatively keep cost in terms of long ongoing expenses!

Now you’re more than make u for any short term costs you may have incurred!

No offense, but constantly reading your excellent post on your blog, i was under the impression that yo already knew your worth!LOL!

So glad you came to the right and logical conclusion!

    Joy - February 16, 2015

    Hi Mark,

    Yes – that’s a good way to look at the experience, a mini-apprenticeship. I suppose that’s what I intended it to be, but I was just a little taken aback when things turned out the way they did.

    I’m not high in the confidence stakes, and that did upset me. However, your kind words, and other people’s comments, have helped.

    Have a great week, Joy

Kabie - February 15, 2015

Hello Madam Joy,

I have had similar experience as well. I bought the domain as well and went ahead and host the blog but at the end it was like my work was never appreciated.
I have parked the domain currently and interestingly he doesn’t konw because he hasn’t updated and visited the blog for over a month.

It hurts though but as your dad rightly stated, never mix business with pleasure.
Thanks and pleas do have a great weekend.

    Joy - February 17, 2015

    Hi Kabie

    Wow – that’s really hurtful, that he hasn’t even looked. At least Mary looked occasionally.

    Well, we’ve both learned a lesson, and I’ll be following my Dad’s advice from now on.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Jan Kearney - February 18, 2015

Oh yes, I can relate!
I recently switched a freebie off that was on my hosting – it hadn’t been updated with a post since the end of 2013. I knew I wasn’t maintaining it and doubted if the owner (a friend of a friend) was bothering to pop in every couple of months and update. It made me itch!

It made me itch even more because I do stress the importance of backing up and updating with every site I create (I learnt the hard way haha). I even offer an affordable service to do it for people I work with who don’t feel comfortable clicking the update buttons.

I approached the person involved and got a barrage of verbal rubbish – so off it went with no second thoughts.

I did sometimes work for “free” – like you I “help”. My mindset is changing and I am seeing better results and people valuing my skills more.

    Joy - February 20, 2015

    Hi Jan

    I’ve learned a lot the hard way! But yes, updating an backups are vital.

    I would have switched Mary’s site off – especially as the domain was coming up for renewal, but she actually paid for the domain renewal, so that was something, and it means I have another “reference site” for my mobile sites.

    Sometimes there’s almost as much work / effort “proposing” a job as there is doing it. Another pitfall – do a detailed site report then off goes potential client with no return for the work done. LOL.

    Anyway – my mindset is changing too. I have no difficulty charging a decent daily rate in my offline business, so I’m reminding myself of that for my online work.

Jamie Thomson - March 1, 2015

Hi Joy.

Great post.

I’ve regretted doing free and low paying gigs myself at points. Like your post summarises, it can sometimes lead you down a slippery slope and a difficult situation.

I’m glad the outcome was a win-win for you and Mary though.


    Joy - March 2, 2015

    Hi Jamie,

    Welcome to my blog, I am so pleased you found me and I hope you will find plenty of helpful information here:-)

    Seems I’m not the only person who’s got themselves into sticky situations like this. Still, it’s a lesson well learned and I was lucky to escape with the friendship intact and a website to showcase my other gigs.

    I live and learn 🙂

    Have a great week, Joy

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