Thursday, August 7, 2014

"You're too expensive. Can I interest you in this shiny penny?"

I read a great article from Freelancers Union about what to do when a potential client doesn't like your fee. Red Adair summed it up perfectly. "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

Sure, there are people that may work for a rate less than I do...and good for them if they can live off of it or wish to work insane hours that they hoped to avoid by working at home to begin with. So, here's my numbered list of thoughts on this matter. Please note that I don't expect anyone to agree. These aren't in order of importance either.

  1. You love your family. I love mine. Just like you need shelter, food, and basic necessities - so do we. My children have school expenses. They play sports. The older two occasionally have an interest in someone of the opposite sex. My dog needs food...rather, I need money to buy the ingredients with which to make her food. It's actually cheaper and better for her than if I were buying elite dog kibble. Sorry, I'm not feeding my dog ash and filler (and you shouldn't feed it to your dog either). 
  2. You have expenses. I have expenses. Let's face it (and I'll say this again soon), if writing were easy, you'd do it yourself. November is known as National Novel Writing Month. That is a month in which participants can aim to write 50,000 30 days. That's a little less than 2k words per day. Think about your topic and open your word processor. Now, try to write 2000 really good words from the top of your head. Go ahead. This post will be here when you're done. What's that? You're not a professional writer? Even those of us who are professional writers must take time to think and to plan. Why on earth would I accept $100 for 20,000 words? Furthermore, why would I limit myself to completing such a task within seven days? Saying no and working with other clients that would end up paying me more money (and I would have more variety) is far better.
  3. Can you call your electric company and bargain? The answer to that is no. Maybe you can set up a payment arrangement, but you can't call and tell them that you think their fee is too high. You will not have electricity if you do not pay your bill. 
  4. My fees are fair. Fees charged by writers vary due to cost of living, experience, and complexity. If we charged less, we end up not being able to pay our bills. 
  5. Hiring a writer who is self employed means that you are (most of the time) hiring a writer who now is devoted to your cause. We aren't successful unless you are successful. You won't deal with mid-level managers. You aren't dealing with an entire agency or a content mill. You are dealing with a real person who can learn about your needs. 
  6. If writing took no talent or brain power, you wouldn't have looked for a writer. If it were so simple, you would have done it yourself. The fact is that why anyone is capable of writing...that doesn't mean that talent to write exists. I am pretty good with computers, but that doesn't make me a web developer. 
So, please...have some respect for your freelancers and self employed contractors. We have the same expenses that you do...and many of us aren't desperate. 

Writers, if you find yourself in a desperate situation...don't accept slave wages. Contact me or look on the Internet to find free websites that list writing gigs. There's absolutely no reason why you can't make a decent living if you are willing to devote yourself. 

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Play nice...the hand that feeds you can also choke you.