Author Topic: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought  (Read 3176 times)

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Slartibartfast

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When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« on: July 23, 2013, 12:02:15 PM »
Awkward situation here and I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with it . . .

I'm self-employed (we'll say as a sculptor), but I've made many friends in the sculpting community online and through some local professional organizations.  One friend (as in, someone I know personally through the local group, have passed on baby clothes to, and chat with online sometimes, but have never been to her house or seen her sculpting studio) is very well-known in the sculpting community for her expertise in the business side of the profession.  She regularly gives online workshops about how to get your art into museums, how to negotiate for better prices when selling sculptures, how to get chosen to create commissions, etc.  I've never taken one of her classes, but I've heard some great feedback from people who have.

I'm pretty middle-of-the-road about the business stuff - I've done what research I could, but I am at a point professionally where I could really benefit from her expertise.  I had heard from someone else that this friend was going to be offering her online class again soon, so I emailed her to ask if that was true and if so, were there still spots available?  She replied with the link, yes there are spots, and she looks forward to seeing me in her class!

But then I got to the page about it . . . and the class costs significantly more than I thought it would.  Also quite a bit more than other online classes I've taken (on other sculpting-related topics).  It's worth the money, from all I've heard, but I wasn't really planning to spend that much at this stage in my sculpting career.  I'm on the fence about whether I want to spend that big a chunk upfront, all on the assumption that a) I wouldn't be able to do the professional stuff as well on my own, and b) this class would make the difference.

So yeah . . . I might go ahead and do it anyway, because it really is information I need.  If I don't, though, how do I tell her that after I've already done the one email being all excited about her class?  If it matters, if she hadn't been offering the class I was planning to ask if she'd be willing to do lunch sometime and give me some pointers (probably many of the same ones from the class), and I would have been happy to pay her for her expertise . . . but (just based on my previous experience) I would have offered quite a bit less than what she's charging for the class.  Also, she's a good enough professional friend that if our situations were reversed, I would be willing to do an hour or two of work/guidance for free, not that she'd need it at her stage in her career.

Thoughts?

cwm

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 12:09:38 PM »
If you decide not to do the class, I wouldn't worry about it, unless your friend brings it up. Then you can tell her that you were excited to learn from her, but you hadn't budgeted quite that much for continuing education at this point, but to please keep you informed when she has other classes and as soon as it's more feasible for you to afford them you'd love to come.

I wouldn't ask her for personal guidance unless she pressed the issue and it came up. In my experience, people who tend to mentor one on one charge much more for that then for a class. Your situation may be different, and she may offer to help you out as a friend, but I would personally never ask for it.

siamesecat2965

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 12:11:21 PM »
I would simply be up front and let her know that the class was a bit more than you can do at this time. There's no shame in that; you simply asked her for info, and its then up to you to do with it what you want. Just because she said she looks forward to seeing you in the class, doens't meant you committed or are even obligated to take it!

This is similar to another recent issue, in another thread, when someone asks you (who does a service or craft) how much something would be and then decides or doesn't realize just how much it actually would cost, and how to gracefully decline.

In both instances, they are business transactions, not favors between friends. so you shouldn't feel awkward about declining to take the class; you were simply asking if she was giving it, and how much.

lowspark

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 12:13:00 PM »
"Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, something has come up and I won't be able to attend the class after all. I hope to be able to sometime in the future."

You don't have to tell her that the "something" that came up was the cost of the class.
And I wouldn't ask for the lunch with pointers unless you want to do that formally. As in:
"How much would you charge for a lunch with pointers?" (Obviously putting it more eloquently than that.)

Of course that would put you in the position of declining because of cost, which I guess you are trying to avoid. But if she thinks her time and expertise are worth a certain amount, you really need to meet that amount or not employ her.

fountainsoflettuce

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 12:15:22 PM »
Please don't ask her to lunch and ask for pointers, hints, etc.  It is akin to asking an accountant or lawyer for free advice.  She provided you with a link to a class she offers which is a hint she is not willing to work for free.

*inviteseller

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 02:02:45 PM »
Because this is considered a business related expense, you can write it off on your taxes.  Something to think about if you are on the fence.

Slartibartfast

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 02:11:02 PM »
Please don't ask her to lunch and ask for pointers, hints, etc.  It is akin to asking an accountant or lawyer for free advice.  She provided you with a link to a class she offers which is a hint she is not willing to work for free.

Yes, I definitely won't ask now.  I think I would have been comfortable putting it in my original email ("Could I meet you for lunch sometime or are you offering another class?") but I kinda missed that chance  :P  In my situation it's not quite like asking a lawyer for free advice - the professional group we're both a part of is specifically for mentoring young sculptors in things like this, and it's built around trading help and advice, so it's not really as parallel as it sounded in my OP.

Anyway, yeah, I'm going to keep thinking about whether this class is worth it for me.  There are a few weeks left before it starts - I don't know how many people she takes or how close she is to that cap, but I'll spend the next week or two looking around at what similar advice I can find for free online and hopefully I'll get a better idea of whether this specific class would be worth it or not.

TootsNYC

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 07:51:19 PM »
If you decide not to do the class, I wouldn't worry about it, unless your friend brings it up. Then you can tell her that you were excited to learn from her, but you hadn't budgeted quite that much for continuing education at this point, but to please keep you informed when she has other classes and as soon as it's more feasible for you to afford them you'd love to come.

I wouldn't ask her for personal guidance unless she pressed the issue and it came up. In my experience, people who tend to mentor one on one charge much more for that then for a class. Your situation may be different, and she may offer to help you out as a friend, but I would personally never ask for it.

I'll just stand over here next to cwm and nod vigorously.

Pen^2

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 04:18:14 AM »
If you decide not to do the class, I wouldn't worry about it, unless your friend brings it up. Then you can tell her that you were excited to learn from her, but you hadn't budgeted quite that much for continuing education at this point, but to please keep you informed when she has other classes and as soon as it's more feasible for you to afford them you'd love to come.

I wouldn't ask her for personal guidance unless she pressed the issue and it came up. In my experience, people who tend to mentor one on one charge much more for that then for a class. Your situation may be different, and she may offer to help you out as a friend, but I would personally never ask for it.

I'll just stand over here next to cwm and nod vigorously.

Now we have a crowd of nodders, like a collection of bobble-head dolls on display.

Virg

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 10:07:48 AM »
I don't see any rudeness in telling her (if she asks about it) that you had to decline the class because the cost was out of your budget.  Many people who charge for their advice work on a sliding scale, and she might be willing to work with you to get you into the class by lowering the price or accepting labor or trade.  Since you're both in a society that encourages such interaction, be honest and let her decide what to do about it.

Virg

TootsNYC

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Re: When a favor ends up being more expensive than you thought
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 12:24:32 PM »
Also, FYI--that is not a favor.

There was no favor involved here.

You made what was essentially a *business* inquiry. She didn't do you any favors by telling you about it. Even if she had said, "all the spots are full, but for you I'll make space," it's still not really a favor because you would be paying her the full rate.

Now we have a crowd of nodders, like a collection of bobble-head dolls on display.

LOL!