I think a good discussion for today has to do with when you should offer your crochet knowledge, experience and skills for free and when you should be paid for it.
Every once in awhile someone will contact me to ask me a technical “how to” type of crochet question. While I’m honored that those people consider me knowledgeable in this field, I have to confess that I find it a little bit offensive when I’m asked for technical help with no offer of payment. And I see it happen all of the time in this industry (I’ll provide more examples below). Maybe it happens in all industries, as I’m also often asked technical questions about blogging/ freelance writing.
Now let me say that I don’t mind when someone asks me a general question as a starting point to find more information. And I don’t mind when someone leaves a comment on a blog post asking me a follow-up question to what I’ve posted. What I’m talking about here is when someone I don’t know emails me and asks something like, “how do you do a double crochet stitch?” or “Can you help me adapt this knitting pattern into a crochet pattern?” In my opinion, these are technical skills that you can either research yourself (thanks to Google) or if you want to get someone to tell you how to do it then you should offer to pay for that experience.
Personally, I handle this by offering a suggestion of where they can go to get that information but I won’t provide the answer or instructions. I do offer professional blog consulting services so for blogging I point those people towards the information they would need if they were interested in hiring me and I’d suggest that professional crocheters do the same when someone contacts them with technical questions. I do want to be an excellent resource and a community-builder in both the crochet and blogging communities, but I don’t want my personal expertise that I’ve worked hard to gain to be completely taken advantage of either. I do offer advice in these areas for free at times … sometimes I’ll answer questions on forums if it’s easy enough for me to do so. I participate in various networking groups and craft groups and that’s all about pooling knowledge to help one another. So what I’m specifically referring to is when someone asks for specific professional help in a one-to-one situation without offering payment or a barter option.
That’s my opinion. What’s yours?
Some Ideas for Today’s Discussion
- One problem that I know happens frequently to crochet designers is that someone will contact them for detailed help with their patterns, including ones they’ve posted for free. I don’t mean that they’re confused about the pattern and need more information … I mean that they’ll contact the designer and ask for advice on making yarn substitutions, changing sizes, etc. How do you think a designer should handle this?
- I think it’s one thing for someone to put out a general call for help on a forum or through social sites like Twitter, asking the entire community for help in case someone wants to offer it. I think it’s another thing to contact one person specifically on those sites to ask a technical question. What do you think?
- Have you ever been asked to crochet something for someone without them offering to pay you for your time or even to buy the yarn?
- When you have a technical crochet question that you can’t figure out on your own, where do you turn for help?
Remember that these weekly open discussions are to generate conversation in the crochet community because your voice matters here. Feel free to say what you want to say on this topic. That said, please be respectful, especially when responding to others thoughts and comments on the blog. I’ll add my two cents in the comments as the day goes on.