Just last week I was introduced to an obnoxious Singaporean who graduated recently with a top honour degree in the mass communications field. She was a friend of a friend whom I bumped into common gatherings when we have mutual friends.
When she saw me, she beamed and approached me with a rather direct question “I heard you are a freelancer now. How do you feel begging for jobs?” Taken aback I was speechless for a while.
First off, no ‘Hi Kally, great to see you again!’ or ‘Hey, how have you been?’ Secondly, you heard from who again that I’m a freelancer?? Thirdly, I DO NOT BEG FOR JOBS.
Oh gosh, that totally set my mood off in the wrong way. Fortunately, I am well up-to-date with the gossips in my social circle even without physically being in Singapore. Hence, I know she tried to be a freelancer on the same platform as I am and failed miserably.
So my smarty pants come back retort was “Well, only the unsuccessful freelancers will need to beg for jobs.”
Cruel but it kinda of worked since she started to ask why she wasn’t successful. She started off using freelancer.com and Upwork.com as a freelancing platform 1 year ago. By all means, she should have at least 10 clients under her profile and she has none. She used up all her bids and still have none.
Curiously, I asked if any client contacted her and she said “Yes, but they want me to work for USD$5. It is not a price I am willing to sacrifice my time for. It’s like selling myself short. I only get out of bed for at least USD$50 an hour.”
I pointed out a number of things to her.
- She has no experience or reviews for her services.
- She may be a top honour student but nobody cares that much about qualifications in the freelancing world. The clients are not employing you as a full-time asset, they just want work done.
- She ought to set her rates lower just to gain good reviews and clock in some experience before demanding for a higher rate.
- With nothing proven, how will the clients trust that she can get the job done within the deadline and meet their expectations?
- Do her research. There are many top graduates who offer their services at a fraction of what she is asking for. Why would a client hire her? What’s so special about her?
- There are even journalists who had their articles published in Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post. How is she going to compete with those folks?
As much as I agree that there are clients out there who exploit freelancers, she needs to know the difference between selling herself short and being realistic. If you are going into freelancing thinking that you will earn loads of money by blogging at the beach without putting effort into marketing yourself and your skills, you’ll never be successful. There is too much competition out there and the only way you can stand out is to be so good that word spread around about your reputation. If you have no clients, there will be no word of mouth.
I think my words just wasted on her as she shrugged her shoulders and replied: “I’m sure someone will appreciate my talent and my rate one day.”
I’m sure one fine day someone will appreciate her talent until then she’ll just have to wait at the side while the rest of the freelancers work their way through success. If you can’t have self-awareness, there’s no advice in the world that can help you.
Do you agree with the above advice? Or she is right to insist on her rate of USD$50 per hour. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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