Freelancers aren’t free

Before we get into this, let’s just clear a couple of things up – cue


  1. A person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc, rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer

From Sell

  1. To transfer (goods) to or render (services) for another in exchange for money; dispose of to a purchaser for a price

Despite “Freelancer” having the word “Free” in it, Freelancers aren’t free. Quite simply, Freelancers sell work for money. I know you know that. You’re wondering where this stating of the obvious is going. Well, read on and I’ll tell you more.

Freelance Copywriters, for example, aren’t just that. Yes, they’re Freelance and yes, they’re Copywriters, but they’re also their own Receptionist, PA, New Business Director, HR Manager and Accounts Executive. They answer their own phone, manage their own diary, source new business, support themselves on professional and personal issues, and create, send and chase invoices.

You read that last bit right. They chase invoices because money doesn’t automatically appear in their bank account on time, every time. Often Freelancers have to wait days – even months – to be paid. And all that chasing (and Receptionist-ing, PA-ing, New Business-ing, HR-ing and Account-ing – no wait, that’s an actual word – Accounting) is done on a Freelancer’s dime. I’m not American but “dime” sounded better than “penny” there.

So although Freelancers aren’t free, they do plenty of stuff for free and in their free time. And yes, a Freelancer’s rate (and time management) should take all these things into account so they never actually do anything for free (or in their free time) but People Who Hire Freelancers don’t make it easy for them.

We don’t have any budget right now…

Why are we even talking?

Your rate is higher than I was expecting…

Why are we still talking?

You’re pretty expensive…

23 years of experience doesn’t come cheap.

I wondered if you’d reduce your rate…

Only if you reduce your list of requirements.

What can you do for half of your rate?

Half of the job. It’s pretty simple maths.

We’re an exciting start-up but don’t have any money yet…

Only you think you’re an exciting start-up. Talk to me when you have money and then I’ll get excited too.

We can’t pay you now but think of the exposure…

Exposure doesn’t pay bills. Think of the bills.

We can’t pay you now but there will be more work later…

Great. But you’ll need to pay me now. And later.

Could you do us a quick favour?

I don’t do favours. I do work for money. We aren’t mates.

Can we jump on a call?

Well, you say “jump” but we all know that I’ll be sat listening to conference call hold music for 15 minutes until you dial in.

Can I pick your brains?

Are you a doctor? Then no, you can’t pick any of my organs.

Let’s meet for coffee…

Let’s just think about that for a moment. I’ll need around an hour to get there, an hour to meet and around an hour to get home again. Three hours of my time is worth far more than a coffee. Oh and by the way, I don’t drink coffee.

Why don’t you come in for a chat?

Why don’t you tell me what you want to chat about? Because if you just want to spend an hour telling me how important Copywriting is to your business and make all sorts of promises you won’t keep then I’d rather stay at home and chat to my dog. I don’t actually have a dog but if I did, that’s exactly what I’d say. I wish I did have a dog but that’s got nothing to do with this article.

Like I said earlier, Freelancers aren’t free. But they do have to deal with People Who Hire Freelancers trying to get something for nothing – for free. A lot. If you’re one of these People Who Hire Freelancers, please, think of the Freelancers. If you’re a Freelancer doing something for nothing, don’t. And if you need advice or support, you’ll find loads of it online – for free.  - As recommended by Louise Mora - As recommended by Julia Graham - As recommended by Robyn Santa Maria - As recommended by Nicola Rossi - As recommended by Indrajeet Deshpande - As recommended by Laura Parker - As recommended by Megan Rose (@MegRFreelance)

Written by Vikki Ross, visit her website here