I believe there are few things worse than false hope. Being teased with light at the end of the tunnel only for it to have been an illusion the entire time is cruel and painful. We’ve all experienced it to some degree and after being burned numerous times I’m careful not to be hopeful of anything anymore.
The past week is a perfect example. It looked like I’d finally caught a break. I had a potential client respond and tell me how he was looking for someone untainted by corporate and collegiate habits, someone looking to prove themselves by taking over a startup from the ground floor and building something from nothing.
“I’m looking to startup a new brand in the up-and-coming cannabis industry, starting with an online magazine and branching out from there, and I want you to be the GM (general manager).” He said.
Sounds too good to be true right? So of course I asked, “What’s the catch?”
“Well, because it’s a startup, we don’t have the funds to pay you a GM’s salary right away.”
Now it makes sense, but it’s still not a bad opportunity. “Where’s the contract?”
“Oh my assistant is getting them together, but let’s go ahead and get going. I need you to create a social media campaign for my new book (which has nothing to do with the company we previously discussed) and increase my followers by 1000%. Here’s the link to a Facebook page that doesn’t exist. Good luck. We’ll touch base later.”
I kid you not, that’s what happened. This “potential client”, who already owns a successful PR company with government contracts, wanted me to work for free AND do that ridiculous first task. When I refused to do anything without a contract he told me to talk with his assistant and that I needed to hurry up and get to work or be “left in the dust”.
When I finally got the “contract” it paid less than 1/3rd what I was led to believe, noted me as a Senior Writer, not the General Manager, and left room for the client to get away with not paying me by simply saying he didn’t like the work – on top of which he’d get to keep the work.
This all happened over the course of multiple Skype video calls and messages throughout the week, because nothing concerning business is ever straight forward and to the point. The client really just wanted free skilled labor, and that’s the best lead I’ve had in months.
It’s draining and discouraging to say the least.