Early on in my freelancing career I learned something important. Even with seemingly tame nerdy stuff, sh*t can get real, real quick. This story describes the very start of my career in web development and hopefully will serve as a warning to newbies out there.

A young teen, I had just learned some basics of wordpress, I was confident I could hack together something that worked and looked okay with minimal effort and knowledge. One day I was approached by a guy who wanted a job board board site. Knowing there were already clones out there I figured this would be an easy gig, man was I wrong.

In addition to the fact I didn't know about contracts or the scope creep from hell, I had somehow gotten myself involved with a criminal business front.

These guys operated a scam business to rip off investors. Me and my designer buddy were used to make the business look legit. What they would do is hold job fairs where people are supposed to pay to rent a booth, but instead they would give everyone a booth for free and then lie about what all businesses were coming. They would then show this info, along with the website and marketing materials to investors. They would take the money from the investors and launder it for drugs.

The real story starts the day of one of the worst hangovers I had ever had. I was at a random friends house sleeping for most of the day.

Apparently one of the guys who was operating the scam business was about to strike a deal with one of the investors when something on the website didn't work (it was working as designed). This guy, Manny we'll call him, had been blowing up my phone all morning. I check my voicemails and there are threats on my life; saying I will be sleeping with the fishes, or if they ever find me, they'll fuck me up. Needless to say this really freaked me out, either way I decided to head back to my dorm.

When I come back home, my designer buddy tells me that some guys were in the house looking for stuff. Apparently this guy hired two nerds to "break into my computer and steal the website", fortunately they didn't know what they were doing.

After a while I got another call, Manny wanted to sit down and "talk things out". Being naive I accepted and we met up. The two nerds were there with one of his body guards. He said he wanted to have those two nerds take over the project. While this was going on, his bodyguard flashed his gun at me several times making eye contact. I agreed to, but I still wanted to get paid. I asked about getting paid and he said we never signed a contract and that he owned the host and domain. I was pretty much screwed.

This is where the story should end, but I wasn't a very smart guy back then. I gave up the site but I created a back door into it. Every week or so, they would get "hacked". Because the two nerds didn't know what to do, they ended up coming back to me for help. This is when I finally got paid. Totally not worth it.

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