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Soliciting Free Design Help

The Internet is a boundless resource of free information, which is awesome, but it has the unintended side effect of creating an expectation that professional advice should always be free. That can sometimes make it tough for professionals in the real world who rely on the more conventional understanding that if they invest their time to help a customer that they will be compensated for it. What makes this even stickier is the fact that many people – lulled by the Internet into a false understanding about the mechanics of commerce – will take offense at the mere suggestion that professional advice should be anything but free. [caption id="attachment_10407" align="aligncenter" width="243"]<a href="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/soliciting-free-design-help/istock_000010968078small/" rel="attachment wp-att-10407"><img class=" wp-image-10407 " title="Free Advice? " src="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/iStock_000010968078Small-300x199.jpg" alt="how to get free design advice" width="243" height="161" /></a> "I'm totally billing you for this, hotshot."[/caption] So, what happens to the interior designer who gets invited to morning coffee and is then bombarded by questions about the state of the breakfast nook? Needless to say it’s a sticky situation. Being helpful is in most people’s nature, but then again so is surviving, and unfortunately coffee does not pay the rent unless you’re Juan Valdez. Nevertheless, professionals have to accept the fact that the Internet is basically a hyper-competitor with a billion voices, and that some of those voices are going to give customers false impressions about the true cost of personalized service. It’s a brave new world where pros have to up their games and be willing to go toe to toe with the Google Machine. [caption id="attachment_10408" align="aligncenter" width="243"]<a href="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/soliciting-free-design-help/istock_000002596604small/" rel="attachment wp-att-10408"><img class=" wp-image-10408 " title="A World of Competition " src="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/iStock_000002596604Small-300x165.jpg" alt="get advice for free" width="243" height="134" /></a> Pictured: The competition.[/caption] As real-world consumers, we can help by taking note of the professional’s plight and be aware of the difference between idle cocktail chatter and straight-up solicitation. (If you set down your drink to dig in your purse for carpet swatches, you’re probably on your way to crossing the threshold.) <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/">ATGStores.com</a>, on the other hand, welcomes all questions and is always happy to provide information (like the How To video included in this post) when we can.
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