Raising Rates

This quote from today’s Clients From Hell newsletter is a lot like what I posted about last week:

Clients will often claim that they can get a man in Malaysia at one-tenth your price point, or that there’s a fresh-faced kid who’s hungry for your work. They’re not wrong, but they are short-sighted. That kid might charge a quarter your hourly rate, but chances are it will take them four times as long, too. Plus, the lack of expertise or experience will be a hindrance that’s rarely included in a cheap price point. There are a lot of factors that justify what you charge, and neither you nor your client should overlook them.

Two things you pay for when you hire a developer

No matter what else you may pay for when you hire a developer, you will always be paying for these two things:

1) Their time. Every developer I know is busy, including myself. That means, in order for something to be good enough for them to stop whatever else it is that they are working on, you need to be willing to make it worth their time. This may be that the project is particularly interesting to them or it may be monetarily. Either way, you will be bidding on their time against any number of other projects that are already attracting their attention.

2) Experience. By hiring a developer, you are making a leap of faith that they know what they are doing. Generally speaking, experience coincides with cost — you won’t find many (if any) experienced developers working for cheap. The market tends to work these things out naturally — an inexperienced developer, overpricing their work, will end up breaking something or getting in over his/her head and will end up getting negative feedback of one form or another and lose clients.

The more you are willing to value these two things in a potential developer, the better the developer you’ll end up with. Anyone can write code, but not everyone comes with the experience and expertise to write good code. If you are  unwilling to apply value to your potential developer’s time and experience, you are unlikely to end up with a very good developer.

Notifications

How many times have you wanted to display a sitewide notification on your site? I’ve needed it a lot on a variety of sites, and the plugins I’ve found in the repository left much to be desired. I decided to create my own, which is still in development, that I plan on uploading to WordPress.org. It’s called, unoriginally, Notifications, and you can grab it here.

This plugin requires the use of the body_open hook in your theme. If your theme doesn’t support it, you’ll need to add it. I didn’t know about this hook but I will start adding hooks to various places in Museum Core in the future, starting with this. It was first proposed on Trac as a way to do exactly what I needed to do, which is display something right after the <body> tag opens.

To use the notifications, add <?php do_action( 'body_open' ); ?> to your theme, then create a new notification from the notifications page.

Right now, it just has a really simple dark background with light text. I plan on adding an options page where there can be “themes” as well as (possibly) a custom css panel to add your own styles. I’m also going to add internationalization support.

Perspective

When I was a meat-eater, I couldn’t fathom being vegetarian. It just didn’t seem possible.

Then I cut out red meat and pork, but I couldn’t imagine not eating chicken or fish.

Then I stopped eating chicken, but the choices for most vegetarians, it seemed, on menus when we went to restaurants was so limited, I thought that’s it, I can’t possibly cut out fish entirely.

Then I stopped eating fish. But I couldn’t see myself going vegan and the prospect of switching to a gluten-free diet seemed impossible.

Since then, our family has cut out eggs entirely, mostly cut out dairy (we occasionally eat a small amount of goat cheese), and we’ve cut out gluten almost completely. We are constantly hearing comments like “but you still eat meat sometimes, right?” or “do you eat fish?” or “so, you never go out to restaurants?” to which the answer to all of these questions is NO! 

No, we don’t eat meat; that’s what being vegetarian means. It doesn’t mean we don’t eat red meat, or we don’t eat meat on Thursdays or we don’t eat meat but we eat fish (that would be a pescetarian, not a vegetarian). In fact, we don’t drink the milk of animals (unless almonds are considered animals) or eat cheese (generally). And we don’t eat eggs (which makes baking a challenge). All of these things combined is what being vegan means (some people include not eating any animal products and include honey in this — we’re not quite that hard core).

But that doesn’t mean we don’t go to restaurants. Because there are lots of other vegan people, too — they’re just not generally thought of that way. Indian food? In India, meat is expensive, so most traditional dishes are made with just vegetables and spices. Hence, there are tons of vegan options on an average Indian restaurant’s menu. Also Thai food, Vietnamese food…we’re planning on trying Ethiopian food sometime in the near future. American food? No, that’s not generally very conducive to veganism or vegetarianism. Ethnic, and particularly Asian food? Yes.

I’ve thought a lot about the reactions of surprise and shock and disbelief to our diet and it is related to my own preconceptions about my dietary choices over the years, and I think what it comes down to, what people are actually saying when they say “I could never be vegetarian” is that sounds really hard.

And the truth is, it’s really not.

Sure, for me, the progression from being a meat-eater to vegan was probably over the course of about 15 or so years; it was a gradual process of dropping this item or that item. By the time I dropped chicken and was onto fish, it was only when we went to restaurants, and the biggest concern I had at that point was where the fish was from and whether it came from potentially toxic waters so eventually, dropping fish was more of a “I don’t want to deal with checking where the fish is from so I’m just not” decision than an ethical or health decision. But, now that I’m here, it’s not hard at all. And it’s a lot healthier, too. I used to have chronic stomach and digestive issues that magically went away when I stopped eating dairy and wheat. We make more of our food, so we know what goes into it rather than buying food from the frozen section. And it tastes better, too. I wouldn’t go back to what I was eating before in a second.

The point is it’s a matter of perspective. Like thinking I am okay designing WordPress themes, but I’m not really a developer, then I can build and develop themes, but I could never do a plugin, to actually building my first WordPress plugin and realizing it wasn’t really that hard — certainly any harder that doing a theme.

The only thing keeping you back from doing anything at all is your own voice inside your head saying I could never do that, it’s too hard. Hard is relative. The hardest part of “hard” is thinking it. It’s just a matter of perspective.