first define small – then spec
I’m normally a big fan of Seth Godin’s writings. Doesn’t mean he’s always correct. His advice post on “How to get a job with a small company” ends with the applicant, “…offer(ing) to contribute a website or a sales letter or some sales calls–with no money on the table.” Great advice – if you’re the hirer. Web site this week. Collateral next. Pretty soon it’s a work-for-free, just-for-fun marketing department that sites like No!Spec are working hard to counteract.
When you show up and offer to go prospecting on spec, offer to contribute a website or a sales letter or some sales calls–with no money on the table–many small business people will take you up on it, particularly if they are cash-strapped, profit-oriented and know you by reputation. (Please don’t overlook that last one).
Seth’s post wrapped up with a throwaway graph that focused on giving away substance in exchange for a tryout. He tries to qualify by limiting the category to small businesses – although that label can be interpreted across a wide spectrum, from local Mom and Pop to widely recognizeable. And the notion that a job-seeker at any level needs to contribute free servitude out of concern for the “cash-strapped” potential employer turns this into an arrangement that’s also recognizeable as indentured servitude.
wall street should love this
Cash-strapped is cash-strapped – is the mission of the applicant to save the company? I found that particular paragraph especially distasteful for a number of obvious reasons, not least of which is the misguided notion that a web site done for free for someone who has obviously missed the value aspect up to that moment stands little to no chance of ever being compensated or respected. Add to that the liklihood that such work will fail on a variety of levels – creative, function, vision, content – and the best outcome will be a site that draws no traffic, returns no stats, and earns the owner a rep for cheap. Is that what small business really needs in these difficult times?