Business of Freelance

Seeing Past the Dollar Signs

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The job came at the perfect time. It might not pay as much as I normally asked, but at least it was paying. I reviewed the request, the length of the project and quickly replied yes. My email included some clarifications and a few questions. His reply included a shocking timeline, but I was willing to give it a shot. The long term paycheck was too nice to pass up.

That evening I dug into the first article. The research took twice as long as I expected (and was suggested by the client), but the information I discovered was unique from the other sites he had me visit. Grammar was checked and then rechecked along with spelling. I carefully read the article through – out loud – three separate times, tweaking the words as I went.

I sent the first article along with a few more questions about invoicing, plus my concerns about the quick turnover and I called it a night.

The next morning I was a little shocked to find the reply in my email. I will spare you the details, but let me say it was less than a stellar review. It was a hard punch to my pride that has been so puffed up as of late. “This is not what I wanted, expected or am willing to pay for.”

Getting offended at the insults thrown at my article does not help me see the gaps of communication. I need to understand where the instructions from him skewed from the instructions I received. I agreed to be open to his requests and comments and to try and rewrite the article to his satisfaction. He is the client after all.

But there is a limit.

There are times when the project seems perfect for my skills and for that particular moment in my career. Once the project gets started it turns out that the product expected was not the product described. I can see the big paycheck at the end of the road. And it would be a HUGE one for my family. That paycheck has not changed, but the sacrifice required to get to that paycheck has changed.

Guide to Walking Away from the Big Pay

    1. It is time to walk away when the demands of the client continue to change beyond what was originally requested BUT the pay does not change.

    2. It is time to walk away when the amount of time speculated for the project is nowhere near the amount of time required for the project to be done properly.

    3. It is time to walk away when the deadline for the project will require late, late nights because it is a “rush” job but no compensation is included for that rush.

The more I dig into this project, the more I wondered about the value it would provide. The paycheck would be nice, but am I setting myself up to be short changed once again from this client down the road?

Freelance writing is a tough balance. You must continually ask yourself, about each and every project, is the pay worth the price?

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