I believe in Karma.
Not in some mystical way, mind you, but more like “if you’re a jerk, people will be jerks to you”, or “if you’re dishonest, people will be dishonest to you”. This probably stems from a “this is your values and the company you keep” aspect – e.g.: people who are dishonest usually hang around with other dirtbags who are dishonest. And so on.
This extends to business. Especially web-based businesses. There’s a lot of downright shady (or simply “wrong”) things going on in the web world. I think it’s probably because everyone wants an amazingly successful website right off the bat. Well, it really doesn’t work that way. Here’s some business karma I believe in in regards to web-based businesses:
- If you do shady things to get better Search Rankings (like buy links/have garbage articles/etc), you will not last long.
- If you are cheap, your prospects will repeatedly be cheap with you.
- If you spam forums/blogs / etc, you will not get the business you are looking for.
- If you work for free / participate in crowdsourcing (on either side), you won’t be around long either.
It amazes me how inconsistent some businesses can be. I knew some guys who were starting a web-based consultancy, and were going to charge a pretty decent penny for their services. Which is fine. But man, they wouldn’t pay a decent graphic designer to make a nice logo. Instead, they (proudly) “crowdsourced” and got more than 100 desperate, starving designers to work for free, and the “best” logo got the $50 prize. Gee, what a treat.
I saw the results. It was predictable, really – they got 100 crappy designs. Stuff a “can’t even draw a stick figure” non-designer like me could probably bang out with an old copy of CorelDraw. Yea, they got their $50 worth. And they never did launch the business. I’m not surprised.
I realize a lot of my thoughts above involve money. Sorry about that. But it’s very true – if you want to go the crowdsource route because you are starting out, hey, that’s fine. Then you best take that route yourself in offering your own service. Not so attractive anymore, is it? Or if you are going to take shortcuts to get a high google rank, don’t be surprised when they don’t rank you at all.
Basically, it’s just the golden rule – treat other businesses exactly how you want to be treated. Do things honestly, ethically, and if you want to charge professional rates yourself, then pay other’s professional rates.