Friday, November 19, 2010

How to freelance. Lesson 1, extorting money.

As I’ve been freelancing for a couple of weeks now I’m something of an expert on the subject.

So I thought I’d begin spouting out my vast knowledge, in a new series cunningly titled How to freelance.

Let’s begin with the first task for any freelancer, the distasteful business of negotiating a fee.

As we all know, more important than the actual work is how much you can get away with charging for it.

Now if you’re anything like me (an incompetent coward) then you’re not really cut out for negotiating. So the moment that haggling begins, you’ll want to fold like a cheap suitcase.

However you must resist that urge. This is the time to play hardball.

Whatever they say, double it and add a nought or two. Make sure you maintain eye contact and try to add some menace to your voice. If they dare to hold your gaze, don’t be afraid to bare your teeth.

(If you’re not actually negotiating in person, no problem. You can achieve the same effect over the phone by shouting. Or, if you’re communicating by email, simply write in all caps.)

At this point they may ask you to justify your fee.

This is nothing to be fazed by. If you think about it, there are all kinds of reasons why they should pay what you're asking. You might make excellent tea, for example. Or, like me, have a cute ass.

The only rule when it comes to justifying fees is that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU MAKE PROMISES ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE WORK YOU'LL PRODUCE. Trust me on this one. It will lead to all kinds of difficulties down the line.

Once you’ve agreed a fee, you might think that's the end of it. But there are still a few cunning tricks you can pull.

A favourite of mine is to add an extra hundred or two when you invoice. Agencies LOVE this, as it shows initiative and tenacity. And if there’s one thing creative directors are looking for, other than a cute ass, it’s initiative and tenacity.

Hopefully that’s enough advice for you to be going on with. I’ll be spewing out more wisdom on the actual work of a freelancer just as soon as I successfully negotiate my first job.

1 comment:

  1. Charge like a wounded rhino. It's the only way…