(From January 27, 2009 newsletter)
I see many websites for freelancers and consultants that offer a certain benefit, and every time I see this benefit I cringe. Here it is: Use a freelancer to save money because you don’t have to pay for our vacation time, health insurance and other benefits.
I confess. I also used this benefit in selling my services during the 1990s, and my first website, posted in 1998, centered this “benefit” on the home page.
However, now you’ll see this nowhere on my freelance website (www.DianaWrites.com), and I’ve permanently retired my use of this concept.
It’s like saying, “Go ahead, exploit me. I don’t expect the same benefits your other workers are receiving. I’m here to be treated as a second-class citizen.”
The value of a pro
We are professionals and deserve all the financial and other benefits the word implies. We freelance and consult because we have superior skills that enable us to advise others wisely and to implement independently. We hold our services in high esteem and expect to be paid accordingly.
Our rates sound high, and they should sound high
We have invested years of study and experience to attain such high levels of performance. And not incidentally, we devote hours of unpaid time to prospecting, preliminary research, administrative tasks, etc.
(If you fantasize about an annual income that you calculate by multiplying your hourly rate by 40 hours per week and 50 or even 52 weeks per year, you are not being realistic about the work load you can handle over the long haul. Even if you can obtain that much work in such an incredibly consistent flow, you’ll eventually disintegrate into an exhausted heap.)
Setting ourselves apart from the employee and freelancing herds
Today every corporate prospect is well aware of this “benefit” from using independent workers. The era has long passed when we had to educate prospects about this basic concept of not paying freelancers for employee benefits.
As independents become a more common staffing solution, this low-cost argument does not set us apart from other independents. It may have been an acceptable claim back in the past when we were competing more often against full-time staff for specific assignments. But today this concept in no way differentiates us from others who are available for freelance or consultant projects, regardless of how little their qualifications match up to ours.