Happiness-based project appraisals

Hey! It's me!

Happiness-based project appraisals

Posted on June 6th 2010

Someone on Forrst asked about how to charge customers, in terms of hourly rates, billable hours and profit margins.

I hadn’t thought about that in a while, but I now realize how silly and unusual my rates are. Let me illustrate:

Hourly Rates Graph


Yep. Money is far from my primary driver. Here are some:

  • I’m willing to work for free if it’s the most exciting thing ever. If it’s challenging, which in turn enables me to learn from the experience, which in turn makes me happy;
  • If you’re the kind of client who understands hiring a designer means you aren’t one yourself and so you should let him do its job, then I’m willing to go significantly lower on my rates to accomodate your budget. Those projects are so much better;
  • If you’re project is both interesting and relies on solid UX to work, then you can compensate me with something else than cash (equity?). I will come through, it’s my expertise.

I don’t recommend following this line of thought if you’re in financial troubles and have mouths to feed. I’m young and have almost nothing to lose.

But you’re getting ripped off!

How so? From the whole process, I will:

  • Learn;
  • Add something new to my portfolio;
  • Make at least one new contact;
  • Give a gift, as a true linchpin would;
  • Gain experience.

But, but you’re giving permission to clients to lowball us!

I’m making it extremely clear at the beginning of any of those special and rare (notice the emphasis) contracts that I’m making them a favor. In addition to making me happy to do make a gift, it also gives more confidence to my client in my abilities. “Oh shit, this guy is a hot shot, but he’s giving it to us for much less! We’ll never interfere in his design work nor will we question his decisions!” (yea, I wish)

I don’t advertise as such or look for those kinds of projects.

What if they have money AND an interesting project?

Then I expect my usual rate to be satisfied. You don’t need my special rate, you don’t get it. Don’t try to trick me either, I know the internets.

The Reasoning and the Goal of Life

After making the right links, thinking about life in general, it becomes obvious the only true goal of life is to be happy. It’s basically the only thing to strive for that’s worth it and it’s usually behind all reasonings you might have. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong and I’m sad for you. So I write to share my small wisdom, because I’m happy to.

If you’ve been through a good part of your life already and you’re yet to be happy, something has got to change. People dislike school, it doesn’t make them happy, but it’s the prospect of becoming happy at some point that keeps them living and going through life. Everything should lead to happiness or it should not be done.

I can’t stress this enough. I’m not wise enough to write a full post about happiness, so I think that’ll do for now.

Ask yourself if you’re happy and if you’re working towards getting happier.