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To all Website Designers: Partnership Offers Are the New Currency and Money From Businesspeople. How to Protect Yourself

Updated on June 27, 2011

Partnerships: The New Currency?

I think people are looking for new ways to do business in this economy, especially to the web design field.

I am reaching out to all web designers to watch out for business owners who promise you great money and success by cutting you into the profits as a partner of a great website idea that will make millions.

In This Hub:

It seems that every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a "great" business idea and does not know how to build a website for it. That is ok and probably the normal course of doing business. It makes web design firms, especially web application programmers, very valuable to the business community.Partnership offers are not only the new currency, but they are the only way some of these so-called self proclaimed business people are paying for web site design.

I have seen a lot of my friends in the web design industry get screwed over deals like this.

The "My Website Idea is Unique and Best" Conversation With the Business Person: The Drama

In the last year, I have seen this 6 times. This may sound like I am exaggerating, but I am explaining the gist of this:

Business Person: Hi Bruce. I love your web design.

Me: Thank you.

Business Person: I have a great idea for a website that will make millions and I want YOU to design it.

Me: I am flattered.

Business Person: I do not have any money right now to pay you.

Me: Then, how to you tend to pay for the web development?

Business Person: I want to make you a partner in the firm. This is a great idea. Nobody has ever thought of it and I want to be the first person ever to come out with it. We have no competition and people will flock to buy the product!

Me: Ok, let me think about it.

Business Person: Don't think about for too long or I will have to go to another web designer to have the website done.

What did I just learn from this conversation? You love my work, Mr. Businessperson, but don't think it is valuable enough to spend any money for it. If that does not kill my confidence, what will?

This has happened to me 6 times in the last year. Do these people really think that I will just join their partnership for a business that has not even started yet and have no idea about its profitability other than a fantasy that it will make millions? I have one man (who "loves" work and has "great respect" for me) telling me that he is upset with me because we shook hands and now I am backing out of the deal. Give me a break!

Ok, let me be absolutely clear. These people are as far from business people as you can get.

  1. First of all, web design firms get this garbage every single day, I am sure.
  2. When I am presented with an opportunity to build a website for free, the first thing I ask the person to do is send me an email with the details about how they see this working. I want to know how they see the invention operating and how it will benefit website visitors when they "flock" to the website. I immediately get back a stupid answer like "Look Bruce, that is why I am coming to YOU. You are the expert. You should tell ME how the website should work. " What??? The business owner wants a website and does not know how it should work. If they don't, how would I. It is THEIR idea. Correct?

If you are in this situation, here's how you deal with it (or at least how I do):

  1. Tell the business owner to put together a business plan so you can see how the service would work. Afterall, if I am going to put in $10,000 or $50,000 of work into this website, I am indeed investing my time. In other words: I see myself as an investor of time, not money, but I am still investing something and time is money.
  2. Tell the business owner to write a business agreement or a partnership agreement.
  3. Take that agreement to your lawyer. Don't just sign it.
  4. Ask this businessperson how you will get paid. What is "your" percentage of the net profits?

Your Net Profit and Break Even Analysis

  1. Do a break even analysis between your time and your hourly wage. Take your hourly wage and multiply it by the number of hours it would take to get the project completed. Just pretend that the businessperson is willing to spend the money and you are charging him. Don't worry about deadlines or the number of months till release. Just estimate your total hours spent and what the charge would be.
  2. For example, if your hourly wage is $75.00 and it will take you 200 hours to complete the website, your investment is $15,000. Period. That includes meetings in addition to development and design.
  3. Now calculate how long it would take you break even under the business person's proposed business model.
  4. Analyze if it is worth it to you to take the project.

In Conclusion:

I hope that I am helping a lot of web designers save themselves from stress. Since nobody wants to spend money in this economy, it is up to us to be on our best guard from people who don't want to spend the money. Save yourself the stress and don't jump at any idea until you have the answers to the questions in this hub.


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    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks, maplethorpej. These people have to understand what's in their own minds, let alone my own.

    • maplethorpej profile image

      Jerad Maplethorpe 6 years ago from Minneapolis, Minn.

      Very true. If you don't know how to make money from it (especially online), then why should it ever be successful?