I know what you're talking about.
When my company opened it's doors in 1993, we had two
of us doing EVERYTHING! My wife did the books, took care of advertising, answered
the phone, etc. And I did computer network installations. We would do anything
for anybody for $35/hr!
Now let me do the math for you. $35/hr times 12 hours per day times 7 days in a week
is $2940/week. For the two of us that was pretty good money in 1993. But the
awful truth was we weren't able to bill all that time. Came out to more like $35/hr
times 4 hours per day times 5 days....or $700/week.
So when the Mr. BIG company came along (we're still good friends) and offered me a
contract for $20/hr for 20 hrs/week, I snapped it up. It was $400/week we weren't
getting anywhere else. And the GOOD news is that the contract was for a whole year!
I should have seen the handwriting on the wall. The Mr. BIG Company insisted on my
being available during business hours....whether they called me or not. So in
essence, they were buying half my time (for a little more than half my fee) and I had to
be available for the whole time.
About two months after this all began, it became obvious this was a mistake. Another
company needed a full network installation and was willing to pay my $35/hr, and it would
easily have been a 25-35 hour per week engagement for at least 3-4 months. But I
could not commit to the time because of the Mr. BIG contract. OUCH!!
This same scenario repeated itself three more times before the year contract
In retrospect, I just wish I had had more faith that there was enough business out there
and that good marketing and prospecting would find it so I could have felt comfortable
telling the Mr. BIG Company NO.
Rob Vance, ARK Systems, Inc.