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Respect Your Career in Freelancing: Changing the Narrative

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

"You're home all day and didn't do chores?"

"Take the kids to school since you'll be home."

"Freelancing will do until you get a "real job."

"Why not go out and look for a "real job, like everyone else."


How often do you hear these remarks? They can be discouraging and even cause you to lose respect for your career in Freelancing. Not everyone will respect you, and that is an unavoidable fact. However, you can ignore these voices once you close your door.


When these remarks come from clients who attempt to degrade your work and refuse to acknowledge your value, this can be difficult to handle. If it is left unaddressed, you run the risk of internalizing those voices as a true reflection of your worth. That will harm your self-esteem and ultimately end your career.


Demanding respect as a freelancer is not easy. You are battling negative stereotypes, family members who may not understand nor care about what you do, as well as clients who want to reduce your value so they can take advantage of you. As a freelancer, you may not have a team or an employer to stand with you in dealing with a disgruntled client. It is all on you. So, here is how you handle yourself like a boss.



Know the Value of Your Time.


While freelancers need to charge what they are worth, it is equally essential to bill for all your time.


Look at it this way; a freelancer charges $75/hr for each website she creates with standard features with an appealing interface. A client hires her to create a website streamlined for their business, and she states her fee. However, the client does not like the features she had selected, so he asks to see different functions, features, colours, and before she knows it, she is in and out of meetings and engaged in endless email exchanges.


In the end, she has spent much more than an hour on a standard website, but she is still only getting $75.


In these instances, it becomes crucial to recognize the value of your time, every second of it. The client should pay for access to you, your talent, your thoughts, and your creativity.


  • · Refusal to pay for holding a meeting with you shows their lack of respect for you, the freelancer.


  • · If you neglect to demand payment for your time, it shows that you do not respect yourself.


  • · Payment must also be forthcoming for your time to brainstorm, plan, and whatever else the client requires of you.


Demand respect and the payment your business deserves.


Charge Your Worth.


Not all freelancers will know the monetary equivalence of their work. If this is the case with you, then it is time to research. Find out what others in your field are charging and the conditions of their work. Once you have considered the time, work, and resources you will need to invest in a project, state your price with pride. Also, be prepared to defend it.


To do that, you will need to know what the client is asking of you. Ask the client open-ended questions. Those are questions that require a full thought-out sentence as the response. Do not accept simple one-word answers.


Find out the 'what,' 'why,' 'who,' 'how,' 'when' or 'where.' After asking each question, allow the client to answer, uninterrupted. Do not prompt nor lead the client in any direction. The purpose of this is to establish what issues the client is experiencing and how extreme they are. The greater the problem, the more in-demand your services become, which means that they will more likely pay you what you are worth.


Here you become a salesman. Each potential client has an issue that needs solving. If you can find out what the solution is worth to them and what the problem will cost if left unhandled, you can better position yourself as the best person for the job.


Once the job is done, send the client your invoice. Never be afraid to demand your pay. Be aggressive and do not apologize for sending your invoice. Several time tracking applications offer easy to use accounting features. This way, you can create your invoices and send them off to clients in no time! When clients falter on payments, defiantly send a reminder that the invoice is now due. Do not apologize for requiring a client who is not paying on time to either prepay for work moving forward or become subject to late fees.

Demand what you are worth, and never let people bully nor guilt you into reducing your value.


Be Clear and Assertive when Communicating.


When looking for new clients, you will have to communicate with a lot of different people. If you shy away from these opportunities, then you are passing up on potential jobs. All it takes is some practice. Have your friends or family members help you by conducting mock interviews.


Get in as much practice as possible because communication does not stop there. Written communication is also essential. You may come across clients whose first language is not English, which might lead to you misunderstanding their requirements. Others may not be good at explaining all their needs. As a freelancer, you must seek clarification in a non-offensive way to ensure that you understand the client's requirements. To do this, you must possess superb communication skills.


Poor communication is one of the most common ways that the relationship between a freelancer and a client deteriorates and goes sour.


Freelancers must maintain professionalism in all communication forms, as you are not applying to become the client's friend. Respond to all messages with a positive attitude to eliminate any misconceptions. This way, there is no room for misunderstandings. Clearly define hours, pay, and project parameters in the beginning. Then you will have the full creative freedom to begin working without any hanging doubts and uncertainty.


Most projects you work on will require teamwork. By clearly outlining your business's expectations at the start of the relationship, your workers will want to work harder as a larger business, knowing they will be getting paid.


Deliver Your Best Work.


You must be the best at what you do if you want to work for the best clients. Stay competitive with your work and your charges as well. Your entire life now follows that structure. When you are working on important tasks with close deadlines, you will spend days in a room, focused on the goal.


Stress is a massive problem for freelancers. A part of respecting your career in any field is knowing how to manage stress. If not correctly handled, stress will lead to frustration and constant irritability, which then spills over into your work, causing you to lose focus and reduce productivity. If this happens then, the client becomes unsatisfied and may terminate your contract.


Without proper stress management skills, you will eventually break under pressure. So, to prevent that, do a little yoga. Listen to some music while you work. Take advantage of the meditation apps available. Also, do not forget your friends and ensure to spend more time with them. Remember, you have a life outside of work!


Being organized will help with stress management. You may have decided to try Freelancing because of the perk of working flexible hours. That is how it starts, but later, you may begin to realize that if you want to be successful and earn good money with Freelancing, you will have to get your schedule on track. The more organized you are, the more productive you will be within a day, which translates to more earnings. Simultaneously, an organized schedule also allows you free time for yourself, your friends, or your family.


Acknowledge When You are Wrong.


Having said all this, demanding respect is not a license to be a terrible freelancer.

If you believe you did not do an excellent job at the end of a project, be mature enough to confront yourself about that. Identify ways to prevent a repeat of this and be courteous enough to offer a concession to the client. If the last article you wrote was not your best work, provide a free revision or a discount on the invoice without the client asking. The best thing to do is not to do a bad job. So, if you suspect that you may not be able to perform at your best on a project, do not accept it.


Nevertheless, always deliver your best work and where you have not, for whatever reason, own it. Accept it. Reflect on it and rectify the matter whenever possible.


Let's change the narrative. Respect your career in Freelancing!



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