I am a full time freelance WP theme developer and I have had several instances where I received e-mails like:
- I am a new blogger and yet to start earning.
- I would like you to quote lower as I/we am/are a startup.
- I don’t have money, can you please help me?
- I want (xyz – tons of features) but.
- Low budget. Kindly quote and reply.
If you have been a freelancer then I am sure you must have come across these and many more similar instances. I don’t have any intentions to disrespect anyone. This is a problem with everyone who starts new and I can completely relate these with my own condition few years back.
What I am trying to focus is on the right way to approach any freelance designer/developer to seek help. Because yes, no one wants to work at a “low budget” instead they might be willing to help you and offer you a courtesy.
How to ask for help?
Start with an introduction and your goals for your product/website/blog
Say “Hello” and start with a brief introduction of who you are and what you are trying to build. Tell, why you need help and how a designer/developer’s helping hand could be fruitful.
Don’t present yourself as “helpless”
As they say, first impression is the last impression. If you are starting new, you should be filled with energy and confidence. Don’t use statements like, “I am yet to start earning, so please help” or “Please quote low”. It’s better to ask for help humbly rather than being a helpless creature.
Decide your priorities
Every time we start new, we are excited and so overwhelmed with our thoughts and ideas that we absolutely lose track of our priorities. Create a short list of the most essential things you need to get done. Don’t overload it with unnecessary requests like “change header color, link text color, widths” Anyone can live without these changes. Your site will still work.
Once you are done with a short list of requirements. Cut short long paragraphs and explanations into simplest terms. Keep it short and to the point. “I need X feature but If it’s complicated or time consuming, we can skip this part.”
Saying “Low budget” doesn’t help
By simply saying, “I have a low budget” you shouldn’t expect someone to work for you. When someone works, it becomes their duty to deliver everything that they promise and that’s why they charge a certain fee. While asking for help doesn’t bound them. It gives freedom to both client and the freelancer. Just in case, someone agrees to work for you at “low budget” there are chances it comes out as a courtesy and over the time they will lose the interest. This will lead you to a disappointing situation when you paid but the work wasn’t completed to your expectations.
Be humble and say thanks
It’s not compulsory to say thanks or being humble. But, it’s always good. It adds to your personality, behavior and etiquette. Again, never use statements like “I will do X stuff for you in return”. Instead say, “I am thankful for your time and efforts for reading this e-mail. I look forward to your reply when you can spare a moment.”
Don’t be pushy
If you didn’t receive a reply to your e-mail for a couple of days, you might send a short reminder e-mail. But don’t be pushy. Don’t keep writing or calling. There could be a lot of reasons for not replying, including your way of presentation, low budget situation, busy schedule or anything else. Or if you receive a reply saying NO. Then again, don’t plead or push someone to work for you or help you. Move on.
Why ask for help?
Short answer is FREEDOM. As I mentioned earlier, paid work puts you to a certain level of agreement while help gives you the freedom to choose from. You might seek help from a fellow blogger to setup your blog first time and a developer might be glad to help you with some minor tweaks. Now, consider the case when you ask for a low budget work. If the developer/designer agrees then it means yes it needs to be the done the way you have requested. And of course, the requests keep changing in certain cases. That’s where the disagreement comes in and we lose interest for the work.
I hope these pointers will prove helpful when you are starting new and writing your first e-mail. I will b writing a couple more posts in this series to offer insights on how freelance business works.
Image by Steve A Johnson