What’s on the iPod: Viva la Vida by Coldplay
Yesterday’s return to work was pretty fruitful. I managed an article revision, an ongoing project section, and interview requests for an upcoming article. Also, I sent out an idea to my editor chum. All this while going to the dentist and helping someone in the house with an employment-related issue. Today it’s a pile of ongoing stuff – blog posts, confidential projects, and possibly another article idea or revision.
I had to turn down a request to help someone out today. I don’t like turning people down, but I’m coming to a point where my workload is such that I cannot continue to walk away in the middle of the day. And I’m beginning to resent that the requests don’t seem to consider my time as having any value. That’s not a good situation. I’ll have to clear that up now before it becomes a bigger issue.
I had a nice correspondence with a regular visitor/chum here. We discussed rates for beginners and how to handle pushing for what you’re worth. A snapshot of the situation: The company advertised, the writer answered, and the assignment was made without any further information. Also, there was no formal assignment letter or contract. And they’re proposing paying ten cents a word.
My advice was to push back on the price, but not before asking some specifics, such as:
– Where is your website?
– Where are you located?
– Who is your target audience?
– Would you like me to supply my standard contract or will you be sending one?
And definitely say something akin to “My rates are normally a bit higher than that. Can you do better on the price?”
I like asking that way so you don’t lock yourself into a price that may still be too low. Also, it gives the client that modicum of control that keeps them from walking away entirely. And frankly, they may walk away still. That needs to be okay with you. You’re negotiating, not bowing down. You have to hold firm on your minimum price. Only you can determine that. Only you should determine that.
Negotiating with a new client is like a job interview; both sides are learning about each other. You have to know all the facts about the job before you can price it correctly. Plus coming across as a professional who is measured and careful in negotiations frames you as someone worth paying more for. Not that it will always work in your favor, but the jobs you lose as a result aren’t really losses you’ll grieve.
How did you price your first few client projects? What would you do differently?