Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I have a small business in addition to my regular job. I haven’t really
started making much money from it, but I am taking entrepreneurship
classes at the community college, and doing everything right so that
when I retire from my day job (seven short months, count them!) I
can live on social security, my pension, and start to focus my time and
energy on generating revenue. In the interim I have a casual friend, a
computer person who manages the site and updates it for me. I know
I should learn to use the software, but in the short-run it’s easier just
to pay her. Yesterday I asked her to do what I thought would be 30-
minutes work, and then got a bill for an hour (“one hour minimum”)
even though she said the task took .5 hour). We also spent phone time
catching up on the “How are you’s? Do I just pay her and shut up or
should I say something? Every $50 adds up, even for a hobby
business. She just divorced, but I can’t afford to make up for that.
Clearly being in control of the means of production, to quote Karl
Marx, makes you richer and more independent. Maybe you should take
a class in the site software as well as entrepreneurship.
In the short run, pay the bill. But send an email that says I put the
check in the mail. I didn’t realize you had a one-hour minimum. I
thought it was a 30-minute task. Will you give me a 30-minute credit
of time for the next round? I’ll start batching my requests. But next
time you communicate, either do it by email, or start the call with, I
want to catch up but not have the meter running. Is that possible?
Also, ask for an estimate of specific tasks that are routine, or before
you have the tech do something that she hasn’t done before. Most
important is to plan to be your own tech, and use her for only what
you cannot do. $50 adds up fast.