I recently got an email from a freelancer copywriter (who shall remain anonymous) I look up to for advice, insight and how to play the professional payment game. This individual easily commands top rates, so I was rather surprised to discover s/he even has to contend with this type of situation. Sadly, it seems, we all do.
THE INCITING SCENARIO
The aforementioned copywriter receives a message from someone who as been referred to her/him and who is looking for a "suitable copywriter." Said copywriter is amenable to offering up some names but wants to know more. This is where s/he asks for a ballpark payment figure. The inquirer writes back with the offer of around $15 for 400 words "maybe more" if research is involved. BAD move!
THE COMMUNICATION DETERIORATES
The copywriter and her/his contact exchange in a back-and-forth debate about how ridiculous (or not, depending on the perspective) that offer is, with the emailer resorting to the good old: "I wouldn't have thought it would take much longer than 15 minutes to write a 400 word article, at $20 an article, that is still $80/hr, which works out at something around $200k/yr, isn't that still quite good pay?"
When the copywriter breaks down the numbers, pointing out the error of the emailer's ways, the emailer counters with, "I meant no offense, it's just that's how much my current copy writer charges me who is based in the US."
The copywriter is, deservedly, angry but quickly realizes it's not entirely the inquirer's fault for harboring such sentiments. The final sentiment s/he wanted to get across to both the emailer and fellow copywriters is this: "The only reason many of these people offer such low rates is because all the writers willing to work for such rates have trained them to expect it. So, in that case, can you blame them?"
Precisely! As a prospective client said to me the other day, if you don't believe in yourself (and your worth), who will?
Labels: client tales