The improvement in the weather lately seems to have brought me a bit of luck when it comes to my freelance assignments.  I’m constantly working on fine tuning my schedule, and as a freelancer having complete control of the work coming my way is variable.  When it comes to my schedule I find that I may be bombarded with assignments during a certain period, and then there are other times when assignments may be on the lighter end of the workload spectrum.

While there are great benefits to working for yourself, as someone starting out, I find that it’s very important to connect with other freelancers.  Because you don’t know all the answers and there may be advice that can be passed on to you whether you’re reading a blog or having coffee with a fellow freelancer.  This week I experienced putting into practice what I read in The Diversified Writer’s blog.  I laid my “I’m worth asking for more” cards on the table, took a big sip of courage, and wrote back to a client about their rate for a new project.  I started by stating that I was interested in the project, and mentioned my usual rate for similar projects that I’d done.  A few hours later, I received a reply that basically informed me that my rate could not be met.  And so I did something I never dreamed I’d do–I turned down the assignment with a simple, yet professional “Thanks, but no thanks” email. And you know what, I felt lighter once I did it.  Now, you may think I need to lay off the Amaretto-flavored liquid creamer in my coffee.  But I assure you that I was not over caffeinated and jittery or woozy from the Amaretto in my java (not that there’s any alcohol in that stuff anyway).  No, my mind was clear when I made my decision.  And here are my reasons:

No Thank You

  • I’ve come to a point where I’m starting to realize that waiting for other people to recognize my worth and to compensate me for it isn’t their responsibility.  If I’m going to get anywhere, I have to set the financial bar regarding what I’m willing to accept for the work that I do.
  • I didn’t feel good about the rate to begin with. It just seemed like a step back compared to similar projects that I’ve done.
  • The amount of time it would have taken me to complete the assignment wasn’t worth it, especially considering the fee I was being offered.
  • And every established freelancer at one point was considered a newbie, and at some point he or she made a decision to command his or her financial worth by setting rates.  Now this may mean saying “no” to an assignment, negotiating the rate with the client, or discussing other terms (Linda Formichelli does a fab job of discussing some terms that could be negotiated for writing assignments).

So, will I be kicking myself later over the potential funds I’ll be missing out on by saying no to that assignment.  Nope, not at all. I feel good about my decision.  It’s a positive step toward becoming  business savvy and navigating the financial aspects of my career as a freelancer.  And besides I already received some awesome news from another client who bumped my rate up for a new project.  So, I’m feeling really good about things.  I think once you challenge the numbers that clients offer you for assignments, you’ll begin to get the confidence to ask for more–the other part of the picture is that you have to explain to the client why you’re worth the bump in rate.

Do you have a story about challenging your rate for assignments? I’d sure love to hear about it.