Here are some situations in my life.
Do we all remember when we went to college/university, graduated and how we would take very low pay/no pay at all at first for the sake of "real life/world experience"? This applies to the universe outside making pretty websites.
I learned without going to school, I went to college for other things, to supplement my skills.
I remember someone who wanted a website, that person said to all applicants that they do a mock up and send it to him, he will look at it, will hire the winner on the spot. Anyone want to guess what is about to happen? YES YOU ARE CORRECT, He took all the mockups and picked mine. Never hired me or paid me what he promised on the ad. He took it to his son (who was 15 at that time) and created my mockup into reality. He was living in Europe. I live in Canada. I should of sued him, I don't know to this day how you sue trans-country/continent.
What I learned from this situation: Contract, no mockups, yes portfolio.
I did free for a non-profit group. Later I found out the CEO/President/Whatever's paycheque was $650,000. Did you know so many NPGs/NPOs/NGOs/Charities...pay their CEOs $100,000+ a year yet claim they have no money for website?
What I learned from this situation: Charge something, or the fact that you would do a website for free will spread faster than naked hollywood photos
Realted to story 2, I would get so many requests but..."We don't really have a budget".
What I learned from this situation: Say no to free work, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you to work for free, including the "if you do this, it can turn to full-time paid work" (or some variation)
Friend wanted me to do her website, for free.
What I learned: So, this friend makes money because of her website for her work, aren't I entitled to money for MY work?
She got upset at me, stopped talking to me. She didn't even come to hospital, sent me a card/e-mail/balloon/etc...that time when I was in the hospital due to a drunk driver hitting the car I was in.
Friend of a friend...We have common friend, come on buddy. Do my website.
This friend of a friend wanted me to do the website for FREE AND give IT free hosting AND domain. IT was going to give me the privilege of putting a credit link at the bottom: Created by Miroslav Glavic.
If anyone wants a laugh, go to your local Craigslist at GIGS > Computers section and look at what people think an acceptable ad.
Domain + Hosting + e-commerce + attached to twitter/facebook/G+/etc... (JetPack's publicize), take ALL photos for the e-commerce shop and upload the 500+ items on the shop........all for $500.
That was my favourite ad of all times.
I have met the cheapest, tightest, assholes who think it will take a few hours to do all that.
I even had someone (NOT THE PERSON WHO PUT THE CRAIGSLIST AD ABOVE) who actually paid for the website, e-commerce, social media and the full big bang. I send the e-mail with login details and a nice .PDF with instructions on how to maintain the site, add items to the shop...and so forth. 3 days later this person does the reverse-charge/charge-back on the credit card.
Good thing the person did not read the contract saying I turn over site when I have full payment, I didn't and locked him out of his own website. He settled the bill a week later after threatening to take me to court.
I am giving you this wonderful thread because I just gotten an e-mail from someone who wanted me to do his/her/it's FULL website within 72 hours, register domain, get hosting.
I made one of my sisters pay for things (at a discount, she paid for the costs of domain and hosting).