No point in beating around the bush, as creatives we must know when to say “no” to our clients. Some people, even those who’ve hired you for years, will try to push the bounds of your working relationship so that they benefit from the exchange as much as possible. We must recognize these instances and stop them in their tracks. Feel free to be polite, as being a douche may hinder your referrals, but remain firm in your stance. Typically explaining the amount of work + the time consumption will = the cost for the work requested and the client will understand the value. If they still don’t understand, move on to someone in your target market with the pockets to afford your expertise. Shuffling around with clients who are offering you pennies in exchange for gold bars will only cause more headaches than it’s worth and you will end up burnt out.

Here’s some examples you may come across:

* Can I get a 50% discount since I’ve been your client for a year?… NO
Being a client, be it 1 year or 20, does not warrant outrageous discounts. Keep in mind that once you allow something this asinine they will continue to attempt to receive other off-the-wall exchanges.

* Can you do it for free now and if i like it I will use you for future paid projects? HELL NO!
This is called spec work and we must stand united against it. For reasons as to why, please read Is it Cool for Your Boss to Have You Work a Full Day for a Half Day’s Pay?

* Can you work on this project for us, you’ll gain lots of exposure? Well, that depends. Here’s an awesome chart that will help you decide 😉

At the end of the day, you must remember that one of the benefits of being in business for yourself is not having to work under someone else’s rules. You have the power to set your standard rate. Make smart business choices that will only enhance your work load instead of making it more hectic. There’s trillions of dollars floating around out there, market yourself to those that seek the product you are providing and you will find an increase in your success!

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