Selling a Piece of Blue Sky, Part 1: Pointless Insertion

This is a series I’m writing about my time with Global Social Media Marketing, a company I joined as a web developer in 2018. It’s also the tale of how I decided to stop being a freelance web developer. If you’re interested in how this all kicked off, check out the Prologue.

Joining Up

You see, I had been in a downward spiral since I left Greystone. Even though I had a few temporary assignments with companies like Shane Co and Article One Partners, I was struggling. Not to mention, I also needed capital to kickstart Elysium Studios. I was interviewing at a wide variety of places and having a hard time getting my foot in the door. Part of it was my approach. I applied to anything and everything that was tangentially related to my tech stack so while I was able to get my foot in the door, I didn’t have much success staying in.

That’s why I decided to start being a bit more surgical with my approach. I started only focusing on opportunities based in the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MariaDB, PHP) stacks and specifically targeting WordPress roles. I even applied for a few freelance roles that involved my tech stack because, hey, why not? Gotta pay the bills somehow. One of them was for Manuel Solis Law Firm. Out of the blue on the 12th of October, I was contacted by their marketing “guru” (using that term VERY loosely), Benjamin Kepner.

A Wild Benjamin Kepner Appears!

It’s pretty obvious from the get go that Benjamin Kepner was a pretty dodgy bloke. The position I had applied for was with Manuel Solis Law Firm, a law firm based in Houston. It wasn’t advertised that I would be working with this guy and the weird relationship between Manuel Solis and this guy. In fact, to this day, I couldn’t make heads or tails of who I was supposed to report to. This created problems with the law firm that made it harder for me to do my work. It also resulted in a loss of trust and thus, they were ill prepared for WordPress 5.

Towards the end of our interview, we talked about bringing me on as GSMM’s web developer. We would start at five hours a week. I agreed to this because, hey, more billable hours is always a good thing. The pay was pretty shit at $22 per hour, but I was kinda desperate. For a frame of reference, I earned $50/hour at Shane Co. and $52.50/hour at Article One Partners. So, against my better judgment, I agreed upon it. Also, all of this was under the table, which just added to the dodginess.

Lessons Learned

I had done things at the start of this contract that I would not do now. For starters, I didn’t have a contract that protected my interests. Also, I started at a rate that was less than half of what I deserved. This is based on education, experience, and the market for web developers in the Denver area. But these aren’t lessons that you couldn’t have learned from Mike Monteiro’s speech about client relations, “Fuck you, pay me”.

In Conclusion

In Part 2, I am going to talk about the first time I met Benjamin Kepner. I’ll also bring up the first two red flags I noticed at our first meeting. I’ll also talk about the pitfalls of positivity culture and how it can hinder personal and professional growth.

Series Navigation<< Selling a Piece of Blue Sky, Part 0: PrologueSelling a Piece of Blue Sky, Part 2: Dread Letter Day >>

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