Will you work for me full time, for free?

How many people do you think would LOL at you if you went up to them and asked them if they would come work for you for free?  Most of you will no doubt respond to that question with, “all of them”!  I mean seriously, who would ask such a question in the first place?  Well surprisingly I get this question all of the time (only worded a little different).

I got an email the other day asking me if I would come work for this person.  Now what made this particular situation unique is that this guy insisted on arguing with me and for some dumb reason I replied back.  I don’t know why I wasted my time going back and forth with the guy but I figured mind as well let something good come out of the exchange, so I am turning it into a blog post so that maybe others can learn from the experience. 🙂

So as I said before, this particular person contacted me wanting to hire me.  I do freelance consulting jobs all of the time so the request wasn’t anything new to me.  The first thing I do is ask the potential new client about their product or service.  In this guys case he runs a membership website with his newly launched affiliate program.  His website wasn’t to bad.  It wasn’t anything spectacular but at the same time it didn’t make my run away screaming and crying either.  That actually happens more than you might think.

So after the guy writes me back and tells me all about his website and how great it is, he doesn’t exactly make a firm offer, he just sort of implies that he wants me to head up his new affiliate program.  He had launched it he said a few weeks back and hasn’t had even one person sign up yet.  I replied letting him know that launching and then running an affiliate program is a full time job, not exactly in line with my normal freelance consulting gigs but that he seemed nice enough so I would consider it for $X per month plus 10% performance based bonuses, meaning he would pay me 10% of everything his affiliates made on top of the monthly salary.  In other words if the affiliates make $20,000 a month in sales, I would make a bonus of $2,000 a month.

He was quick to respond to inform me that he didn’t have any money and couldn’t really pay me right now but that when his affiliate program started doing well he could maybe pay me then.  I kid you not, he actually said “maybe”.

So I wrote back for some reason and asked him what made him think that he could convince someone with my skills and expertise to come and work for him for free?  What would possess him to ever waste my time?  He wrote me back probably 20 emails after that going on and on about how his website was so great that if I would just take over his affiliate program then he would make way more money and then he could afford to pay people.

Here is how the rest of our conversation went …….

  • ME:  You seem like a very nice guy but I just can’t help you out.  Might I suggest you find someone with less experience who might be willing to work on commissions alone.
  • GUY:  I don’t want to waste my time with some noob that doesn’t know what they were doing.
  • ME:  So you really expect me to come work for you, for free?  Build up your program and then as you put it, “maybe” you can afford to pay me?  I didn’t get to where I am today because I’m a dumb ass.
  • GUY:  Someone told me you were nice and you helped people out.  I guess not.
  • ME:  There is a difference between helping someone and being taken advantage of.  And yes I help people out all the time but what you want is me to develop and launch your entire affiliate program, make it successful and then hope to get paid?   Things just don’t work that way.
  • GUY:  Well what if I promised you 10% once the affiliate program was a success?
  • ME:  I wouldn’t work for anything less than (my requested base salary) a year plus 10% period.   You can stop even asking.  There are no exceptions, ever.  I’ve worked for enough jack asses over the years that have made me a lot of empty promises.  I’m sorry to be so harsh but you really need to move on.  I’m not going to come work for you without cold hard cash, period.
  • GUY:  I don’t see why you won’t.  My site is awesome.  I have over 700 videos and 2300 photos.  You don’t find that stuff anywhere.

At this point I couldn’t even force myself to reply to him.  Obviously he wasn’t going to listen.  But there is a lesson to be learned here.  People aren’t going to work for free.  If you want good employees then you need to pay them, period.  Offering someone a revshare may be fine for an affiliate program, but not when it comes to valuable employees.  NOBODY IS GOING TO WORK FOR FREE.

Nobody who has been in the adult industry longer than a few years and seen all the fly by night, shady people in our business would be stupid enough to even consider such a thing.  So if you really need help then you need to consider PAYING THEM.

What’s amazing to me is how many people really think people will work for them for free.

Will you work for me full time, for free?