Ever feel like there are only cheapskate clients out there trying to hire freelance writers for pennies?
It can feel that way, if you’re not finding quality prospects.
Recently, I heard from one Freelance Writers Den member whose feelings about quoting rates and finding clients shocked me.
This writer had just come off a stint on a full-time contract gig and was getting her freelancing going again… when up popped a previous client that gave her the creeps:
“I just spoke to a potential client and right away I’m super anxious about quoting and my rates.
I worked with her a bit last year — she’s starting a business and in EXACTLY the same place she was last year. I think she’s in to save money because she mentioned not having a big budget.
I don’t want to waste my time or energy — I would rather spend it looking for clients who can pay good money and have a lot of work every month.
She wants a quote for a newsletter and possibly an ebook, but I’ve noticed she likes to chat on the phone a lot and I can’t deal with unpaid time listening to her.
This is really frustrating. Should I just tell her I’m not taking on smaller clients anymore? Or give her an hourly rate? I just dread going back to where I was last year…. I worked so hard and made so little…. Maybe I’ve answered my own question on what to do here.
I don’t know if I still want to be a freelancer because of situations like this—it’s just so much easier to work for an employer.”
Let’s review why we freelance
Shall we remind ourselves how fun it was to work for a boss?
The set pay. The endless waits for a raise.
The need to cater to their every whim.
The requirement to warm a chair in an office on a set schedule.
The constant job insecurity of knowing that one person has the power to impoverish your family by laying you off whenever they get in the mood.
Being an employee — especially in today’s world of ever-increasing outsourcing — is not fun times.
How to deal with lowball offers
So here’s the thing a lot of freelancers do that can lead them to the sort of despair this writer was feeling, where she was starting to think about hanging it up and getting a job again:
You get an offer — no matter how crappy — and you think you have to seriously entertain this offer.
But you don’t.
Heed the red flags — and run
This prospect described above is red flag city.
She immediately states she doesn’t have a budget for the marketing she wants done.
This means she has a problem, and she’d like to make it your problem instead.
She’s also a high-needs client who needs lots of phone time.
And she’d like a writer for pennies? I don’t think so.
The way to deal with this is to say no — and fast.
The reason you want to quit
If you spend a lot of time thinking about how sad this lowball offer is, it starts to depress you.
Do this with many low offers, and you start to think low pay is all that exists.
Instead, reject these “offers” immediately and move on.
Maybe do some proactive marketing that very same day, to get back on the trail of finding clients that appreciate the value of a professional writer.
Just because someone wants to hire you doesn’t mean you have to say “yes.”
It doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for you to do. Because working for cheapskates drags you down emotionally and sucks up your marketing time.
Instead, stay focused on the type of client you want, market your business to find them, and remember why you want to be a freelancer.