One of the greatest innovations of our generation is freelancing. This type of out-of-office, small business work not only caters to stay at home parents (such as myself) but also to individuals looking to monetize on their hobby or talent. I have been a freelance editor for nearly four years now. It’s a job I excel at and which I enjoy. One of the negative aspects of any business dealings, however, is you are bound to come across some dubious clients.
Recently I had a prospective client offer to pay me half of what I usually charge. He said he would sign me to edit the entire manuscript (not just the one chapter we had previously discussed) if I could do it for half my rate. My first reaction was, “Are you high?” My second reaction was relief that our communication was via email. I find that I can be much more direct in writing. If it had been a phone conversation, I may have said something stupendously annoying and girly like, “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.” I hate the passivity we women use in our business language, but it seems ingrained in me. Only, I can totally escape that in writing. I wrote, “Stop being an ass.” Ok, so I didn’t say it exactly like that, but it was darn close!
How dare he make such an insulting offer? If he thought my rate was too high, he should have simply declined to work with me, plain and simple. When you go into a store and find a product you like that you can’t afford, you don’t say to the salesman, “I’ll pay you half the ticket price!” You don’t do that. Yes, of course freelancing provides some leeway for negotiating… but half?!? No. Just, no. Making that offer, assuming there was a chance that I would accept, meant that I myself did not believe my time and effort are worth my asking rate. How dare he?!
Yes, I am a freelancer who works from home. Yes, I get to set my own schedule and work when I see fit. But this does not mean my work is not top caliber. This does not mean my time is cheap. I know my worth, so do not insult me by offering to utilize my services for half my rate!
And that’s exactly what you should say to anyone who tries to pull this with you, in work or in your personal life. Know your worth! And don’t settle for less. You’ll hate yourself for it if you do. The more you value yourself and your abilities, the more others will value you. And don’t worry about the work you didn’t get from that client; he’s not the right kind of client for you anyway.