Take the money

After yesterday’s post about speaking up, I got some questions about what my responsibility is as a freelance programmer. Am I qualified to judge other people’s business ideas? And if so, should I tell them if it’s a bad idea? I’m a computer programmer, maybe I should just stick to what I know.

The question I’m trying to answer is: “Should I just take the money?”

I’m not sure if it is my responsibility to judge other people’s business ideas. It also really depends on who the other person is and what they want from me. If people want me to build something in exchange for shares, then I obviously have to judge their ideas. When it comes to paying clients, I could just take the money and walk away.

However, I have never been like that. Luckily, freelancers in my profession are in very high demand and we can afford to say ‘no’ to clients every now and then. When I’m taking on freelance projects, I try to avoid doing projects that aren’t good ideas. For example, I’ve advised clients who came for an iPhone app that they should just get a mobile website instead. Or more recently, for a lab prototype, I advised to go for Android instead of iOS, because the necessary technology wasn’t freely available on iOS. In both projects, I could have chosen for the money, but I think it’s in everybody’s best interest to do things the right way.

The client should of course get the best possible solution. But I believe it’s better for me, too. Hopefully, the client will remember that I took myself out of the equation, and will get a good impression of me. They might hire me for another project or recommend me to their friends. This is why I think it’s best for me to be as honest as possible about these projects. It might not be fun in the short term, but I hope it will pay off in the long time.