Dec 16, 2013

The dangers of Trading an Article for a Service

The dangers of Trading an Article for a Service Front
“If you’re good at something, never do it for free”, Joker, The Dark Knight Rises.

Even you would agree that the dialogue is super cheesy. Fortunately the meaning holds perfectly true for current blogging atmosphere.  Take examples of bloggers, the one of the things they’re good at is writing, so the obvious question, Why not use the skills and get something done for yourself. 

Usually bloggers benefit from their writing skills through advertisements. But new concept dictates the use of this indispensable skill as a barter system. In simple words, “You do something for me and I’ll write an article for you”.

The same was true until an unnamed blogger decided to barter his services for something he wanted. So he went in search for the same and one day found a suitable firm which was ready to provide a service unless and until he agreed to write an article for the firm.

What went Wrong?

But little did he know about THE PERILS OF TRADING AN ARTICLE FOR A SERVICE. Here is an email thread between the firm and the unnamed blogger, The names of the entities have been changed to protect identity. Find the Email Thread about Sam and Sue here.

How did it go wrong?

Let us discuss what went wrong and how could it be rectified. The major reason why such arrangements fail is because; neither party is willing to work with full efficiency in the beginning. This is because there exists no monetary transaction. This was the precise reason why barter system failed in history. For that failure the reason was you cannot equate fixing a window and a sack of rice. Similarly you cannot equate an article and a service unless there is professionalism in both the parties. What do I mean by professionalism? 

Professionalism in any task is shunning the informal way of working and adopting a mean result oriented approach towards things. It the main reason why corporates thrive and small businesses do not. 

How could it be Rectified?

So how do you get into professionalism? 
Easy, you make sure that you follow the following points.

Before agreeing to work

  1. This is not a deal, neither the party is working for free, nor are you. It is best if you could determine the boundaries of your relationship, i.e.. What you are planning to do and what you are expecting the party to do.
  2. It is better to create a proposal document (just one page) stating the responsibilities you and the party are going to undertake. Sign the document and send them the signed copy asking them to sign on the document. When both have consent for the jobs to perform on a paper, both the parties will have an incentive to complete the job in the best way possible. Also a signature would save you from legal difficulties afterwards (If they arise)
  3. Preserve the email threads between the parties
  4. Always set a deadline for the job to be completed. Break the job into parts. And include penalties in the proposal document if a part of the work is not completed within the stipulated deadline.
  5. Also work out about the license of the final product, you can look at some articles on creative commons or thy types of licenses you can use.

On English and communication

  1. You must write proper English. People won’t take you seriously if you write like a kindergarten student.
  2. You write complete sentences and no abbreviations unless absolutely required. Remember you’re writing an email and there is a difference between email and a text.
  3. Try and keep informalities out of the equation. This is a business deal and not a social network.

After and during the work

  1. Periodically inform about the progress of the work. To keep things simple, try and give the progress report in a tabulated sheet at the end of the week.
  2. Once the job is completed inform about it and ask about their portion of the work.
  3. Always reply to a mail, a bucket full of misunderstandings can be avoided if you just reply or acknowledge
  4. If you have made the proposal document, after completion of the works from both the parties, drop an email stating that the agreement has been carried on in the desired way and tell them it was a pleasure working with them.

Show your availability for future jobs if you genuinely find the party to be a delight.
Front image credit HDW

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The dangers of Trading an Article for a Service MohitChar