I once heard a story about The Value of Knowledge. The story was about a ship that suffered engine failure. No mechanic knew how to fix the problem and soon they called in an experienced mechanic who had build ship engines from a young age, but who had no formal training.

He inspected the huge engines from top to bottom. After looking things over, he pulled out a small hammer and tapped the engine in one spot. On start up, the engine fired up perfectly. A week later the ship owners got their bill from the man for $10000. The ship owners who had watched him repair the engine were incensed. After all, the man had only used his hammer, and it took 2 minutes…They demanded an itemised bill as they felt he had done ‘nothing’.

The man sent that bill, it read:

Tapping with a hammer: $2

For knowing where to tap: $9 998.00

They settled the bill…

A new client recently contacted me for custom work on his website. He had been struggling for a week and just couldn’t get his page to display. He then decided to get expert help, as his client wanted the website to display in a certain way.

When I opened up the dashboard and viewed the page, my experienced eye picked up his mistake immediately. It took 2 minutes to fix the error. ( I knew where to tap...)

The young client was grateful, and thanked me repeatedly. He insisted on paying me and I kept telling him, it’s okay, it only took 2 minutes. I asked him to rather put out a good work for me. And he has, via Twitter. My question is this: do you charge someone for 2 minutes work or rather get them to promote you?

My son of course, (the younger generation) felt that I was too lenient. Bump him for R1000. He is paying for your knowledge. Of course, I know he is right, and God knows, all freelancers need the money…but deep down inside I felt it was wrong and I have to believe in my instinct. I believe in karma. That a good deed, will be beneficial to me in the long run! Well, I hope so, anyway…