THE FREELANCER AND THE HOBBYIST DESIGNER

A One-Act Play

by Christopher Hawkins

ACT I

SCENE I

SETTING: Interior, freelancer's office.  It is a 3rd bedroom in a 2-story home with a lovely view of the park. The office is decorated sparsely with trinket-y items from Pier 1 Imports and Cost Plus World Market. Document boxes, neatly stacked, fill the shelves of every bookcase. The smell of brewing coffee fills the air.

(The phone rings)

FREELANCER:
“XYZ Website Design, Pat speaking, how can I help you?”

CALLER:
“Do you design web sites?”

FREELANCER:
“...Yes.”

CALLER:
“Great! I do too!”

FREELANCER:
“Oh, well, if you're looking for work, I appreciate the call, but we're not hir -“

CALLER:
(interrupting)
“No, I run a small insurance agency and I need a new website. The old one is awful, just awful! If you want to see it, it's at...”

FREELANCER:
(listens to CALLER reciting the URL; browses to the site)
“You know, this looks like a professionally-built, modern, responsive site. But, let's take a minute and talk about what you don't like about it.“

CALLER:
"I hate the way the layout changes when I'm on my iPad or phone. If I'm paying money for it to look a certain way, it should look that way ALL THE TIME..."

FREELANCER:
"...“

CALLER:
“I hate the fonts - there are a million fonts on each page and it looks terrible...”

FREELANCER:
"You know, I only see 2 fonts on the entire site...“

CALLER:
(interrupting)
“The logo needs to be bigger..."

FREELANCER:
(briefly contemplates suicide)

CALLER:
"...there's too much contact info on the home page...”

FREELANCER:
"Wait, what? Uh...sorry, did you say too much contact info?“

CALLER:
“Well, yeah! I don't want people to call me, that's what the website is for, so they can get information without bugging me. ”

FREELANCER:
“Don't you want your website to drive sales for you? “

CALLER:
“Nah, I drive all my sales by telemarketing.“

FREELANCER:
“So you do all your sales...on the phone?“

CALLER:
“Yep!“

FREELANCER:
“But you don't want potential customers to call you...on the phone?“

CALLER:
“Nope! People on the web are tire-kickers, not buyers. We don't even bother responding to inquiries that come in from the contact form. We've never made a sale from the website.“

FREELANCER:
(sotto voce) “Gee, why do you think that is?“

CALLER:
“What?“

FREELANCER:
"I was just clearing my throat. So, after seeing your site and hearing your concerns, I have to be frank - you already have a very good website that is delivering leads to you via your contact form. If I had to make a recommendation, it would be to learn how to use your site differently and to view those online leads differently. If you're not following up with them, you may be missing out on sales that otherwise would have - “

CALLER:
(interrupting) "I think it's because of all the fonts, they're confusing. That's why nobody buys. Too many fonts. And I hate that shade of blue in the logo..."

FREELANCER:
(looking for a way out)
“...there are only 2 fonts...but never mind that, er, you're right, you know your market and you're the expert. I'm sorry to say, it doesn't look like this project is going to be a fit for us here at XYZ Website Design, but I'd be happy to recommend another - “

CALLER:
"I KNEW IT!"

FREELANCER:
“...sorry?“

CALLER:
“YOU WEB DESIGNERS ALWAYS BACK EACH OTHER UP! But it won't work with me. You know why?”

FREELANCER:
“...“

CALLER:
“BECAUSE I DESIGNED A SITE FOR MY SIDE BUSINESS ON SQUARESPACE! I KNOW ABOUT DESIGN! YOU CAN'T FOOL ME LIKE ALL THESE OTHER PEOPLE!”

FREELANCER:
“...OK, well, thanks for calling, and I hope you get exactly the design you're looking for.“

CALLER:
“Oh, I will. BECAUSE I'M GOING TO DO IT MYSELF!”

CALLER:
(hangs up)

(Dead-eyed and soulless, FREELANCER steps outside onto the sunlit terrace for a breath of fresh air, re-considering that long-ago decision to drop out of law school; sighs deeply)


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