Freelancers Really Need To Stop Working For Pennies.

54 replies
I recall there was thread before that addressed this situation and the op was advising freelancers to charge more. Now I understand what he means.

For more than 6 months now, I have been offering a few services on Fiverr. It amazes me the amount of people who bombard me to help them but disappear the second I tell them to follow Fiverr's rules and pay up first. It is only US$5 - US$10 bucks I am charging. And even that seems to be way too expensive for these people.

Well for the past week now, a guy on YouTube wanted to hire me to format a 320 page e-book for him because of a comment I left on another YouTubers video like a year ago. He asked me for my price and left his e-mail address.

I contacted him with a few more questions to find out what publishing platform does he want to upload the book to and if he also wanted to insert images into the book. He came back saying he needed the job done in a hurry and once again asked me about my price.

I had to remind him that I was still waiting on him to answer my questions. Finally he did answer last night that it was for Amazon Kindle and no images were necessary.

Initially I was going to tell him US$100.00 but I changed my mind because he told me that he needed 7 e-books formatted. I figured that as long as I did a decent enough job on the first one, that I could land the job to format the other 6 books. I told him only US$50.00.

This morning I open my e-mail only to have this guy disrespect me. He said there are people (freelancers) who will write and format the e-book for a total of US$50.00. I don't doubt it on that point. What he said afterwards was totally uncalled for. He called me a f*****g b****h.

I don't believe for one second that my price is totally unreasonable. And even if it was, I certainly did not deserve being disrespected in this way. All the same, I am glad I won't be working with him now or in the future.

I have heard the experts say that the clients who pay more are better to work with and I am starting to see they know what they are talking about.
#amazon kindle #ebooks #freelancers #making money #pennies #stop #working
  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Wow, pretty brutal. I wish we could find people to "work for pennies" who were worth more than that. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case.

    We've found that you need to pay good money to get good help and even more to get good, reliable help.

    Yeah, there are a lot of cheap S.O.B's out there. Hopefully, you'll hook up with someone who always has jobs for you to do and knows what you're worth.

    Good Luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      Wow, pretty brutal. I wish we could find people to "work for pennies" who were worth more than that. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case.

      We've found that you need to pay good money to get good help and even more to get good, reliable help.

      Yeah, there are a lot of cheap S.O.B's out there. Hopefully, you'll hook up with someone who always has jobs for you to do and knows what you're worth.

      Good Luck!
      It's been tough going, but I will keep looking.
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  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
    That's nothing. I guy wrote me and asked me to do something, "yesterday' as he needed it for a presentation in the morning. I didn't see it until I was on my way to bed so rather than give him a price and wait for his response, I did the work, left it for him and told him we could work it out in the morning as far as payment went. He downloaded the work and never so much as said, "Thank you."

    Bad karma. I guess I should not have done that, but he said he was desperate.

    Fiverr is like any place else - there are good and bad, everywhere. My problem is, I NEVER learn. That's not the first time I screwed myself. lol
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

      That's nothing. I guy wrote me and asked me to do something, "yesterday' as he needed it for a presentation in the morning. I didn't see it until I was on my way to bed so rather than give him a price and wait for his response, I did the work, left it for him and told him we could work it out in the morning as far as payment went. He downloaded the work and never so much as said, "Thank you."

      Bad karma. I guess I should not have done that, but he said he was desperate.

      Fiverr is like any place else - there are good and bad, everywhere. My problem is, I NEVER learn. That's not the first time I screwed myself. lol
      Hopefully you have learned you less and you will let this be the last time something like this ever happens to you again.
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by Shana Walters View Post

        Hopefully you have learned you less and you will let this be the last time something like this ever happens to you again.
        Unfortunately, no - or I would have learned it by now. I'd much rather continue trying to help people who say they are in trouble, regardless of the final outcome. I would never let the actions of others force me to change who I am and how I operate.

        I'm old and I need the karma points. Besides, It's only money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    There is no excuse for his behavior.

    If someone asks about pricing they are $$ conscious. You say he asked twice but you would not quote a price until after he had answered questions you sent. It sounds like a logical request ...but then he had time invested and when the price was more than he expected he was angry. From his response - wouldn't want to work with him anyway.

    There are sellers on fiverr offering formatting - and they state their prices. I notice they usually have a 'range' so they can quote higher if the job is more complex. I'd suggest doing that going forward. At least give a potential buyer an idea of what price he's dealing with. It will quickly rule out those looking for 'penny pricing' and save you frustration.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      There is no excuse for his behavior.

      If someone asks about pricing they are $$ conscious. You say he asked twice but you would not quote a price until after he had answered questions you sent. It sounds like a logical request ...but then he had time invested and when the price was more than he expected he was angry. From his response - wouldn't want to work with him anyway.

      There are sellers on fiverr offering formatting - and they state their prices. I notice they usually have a 'range' so they can quote higher if the job is more complex. I'd suggest doing that going forward. At least give a potential buyer an idea of what price he's dealing with. It will quickly rule out those looking for 'penny pricing' and save you frustration.
      I am happy I will never be working with him in the future. I actually don't offer formatting services on Fiverr. It is something else more related to dating. This person found me because of a comment I left on a YouTube video nearly a year ago. Since I'm not getting good results over on Fiverr, I am thinking of putting my gigs on hold.
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  • Profile picture of the author dana67
    Calling you that is totally unprofessional and uncalled for and I am sorry you had to deal with that. Unfortunately, some people just don't know how to act. I hope your next projects go much more smoothly.
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  • Profile picture of the author JoostMediaDev
    If people ask for a price straight away that is a bad thing, they only look for the cheapest way to get something done. Don't deal with these people, it won't have any added value to your business.
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    • Originally Posted by JoostMediaDev View Post

      If people ask for a price straight away that is a bad thing, they only look for the cheapest way to get something done. Don't deal with these people, it won't have any added value to your business.
      I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. Small business owners have to budget for services like the rest of us. If they can afford the services now or they need to reallocate their expenses to afford these services.

      The issue here is the customer was rude, period. Being direct to the point isn't rude.
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  • Profile picture of the author chuckholmes
    Three words: People Are Crazy. Sounds like that guy forgot to take his medication.

    Typically, you get what you pay for. Sometimes, you can find a very inexpensive price and get a great quality freelancer, but it isn't the norm.

    Whenever I try to go the cheapest route with a service provider/freelancer, I end up regretting it. I usually end up hiring several people before I get the job done right. The time it takes is the worst part. Hiring and firing people. Interviewing people. Getting quotes. Getting revisions. It's crazy.

    That being said, there are some great low cost freelancers out there, if you shop around. I have a virtual assistant overseas I pay $4 per hour to. She is happy with that. To find the same quality work with a fellow American would cost me at least $20 to $25 per hour.

    I've also found that if you are good at what you do (as a freelancer), people will rehire you, and you can charge more. I have several freelancers who work for me and I give them a raise every three to six months, because they are very good at what they do, and provide me a great value.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Ouch. I'm not sure if this is a sign of the times or something else.

    I've seen this as well, people always want something for nothing. The second they have to work (or pay) for it, then they turn around and think it's ridiculous. Just avoid and ignore them!
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Shana,

    Move up in circles, buddy. Help out high rollers for free by promoting them and endorsing them. Gain their trust. Be patient and persistent. High rollers hire you.

    Blaming freelancers who charge pennies for your failure only levels you with them, and failure. Focus on abundance, not scarcity. Your frustration goads you to move into higher circles, where higher paying clients reside.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      Hi Shana,

      Move up in circles, buddy. Help out high rollers for free by promoting them and endorsing them. Gain their trust. Be patient and persistent. High rollers hire you.

      Blaming freelancers who charge pennies for your failure only levels you with them, and failure. Focus on abundance, not scarcity. Your frustration goads you to move into higher circles, where higher paying clients reside.
      I am not blaming anybody for my failures. That's on me.
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by Shana Walters View Post

        I am not blaming anybody for my failures. That's on me.
        A brief ray of common-sense and personal responsibility. Two of the most basic tenets of being a winner at the game of life. Well, done!
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  • Profile picture of the author nowservingpixels
    You have to be careful which ponds you fish in as a freelancer.

    In 2012 I was designing $50 logos for clients on Elance and they were mostly pricks who micro-managed everything and always wanted to haggle with me on price.

    In 2018 I'm now designing $800 logos for local business owners who give me complete creative freedom, never hesitate to pay an invoice, and are a delight to work with.

    What's the difference between now and then? I'm building infrastructure that attracts good clients to me instead of chasing after bad clients on these garbage platforms. The former takes a lot of time and effort, the latter is low-hanging fruit. That's where a lot of us take a wrong turn (myself included.)
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    • Profile picture of the author VT18472
      You are right on the money. I could not have said this any better.
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    • Profile picture of the author vmdv16
      Originally Posted by nowservingpixels View Post

      You have to be careful which ponds you fish in as a freelancer.

      In 2012 I was designing $50 logos for clients on Elance and they were mostly pricks who micro-managed everything and always wanted to haggle with me on price.

      In 2018 I'm now designing $800 logos for local business owners who give me complete creative freedom, never hesitate to pay an invoice, and are a delight to work with.

      What's the difference between now and then? I'm building infrastructure that attracts good clients to me instead of chasing after bad clients on these garbage platforms. The former takes a lot of time and effort, the latter is low-hanging fruit. That's where a lot of us take a wrong turn (myself included.)

      This is great advice. You really have to choose the right client to attract and get yourself in front of them.

      This saves you from lowballers who disrespect your time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    Originally Posted by Shana Walters View Post

    I have heard the experts say that the clients who pay more are better to work with and I am starting to see they know what they are talking about.
    After freelance ghostwriting for almost a decade I can assure you this is the truth. The clients who ask for cheap rates are the same ones who are going to be a pain to work with. (In most cases.)

    They'll decide they want 100 pages instead of 25, but within the same time period.

    They'll ask you to add images though that was never part of your original agreement.

    They'll ask for revisions that are completely different from what they originally said they wanted.

    Sorry this guy was such a jerk -- but celebrate that you don't have to work with him!

    Rose
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

      After freelance ghostwriting for almost a decade I can assure you this is the truth. The clients who ask for cheap rates are the same ones who are going to be a pain to work with. (In most cases.)

      They'll decide they want 100 pages instead of 25, but within the same time period.

      They'll ask you to add images though that was never part of your original agreement.

      They'll ask for revisions that are completely different from what they originally said they wanted.

      Sorry this guy was such a jerk -- but celebrate that you don't have to work with him!

      Rose
      I remember a ghostwriter said that a client had her revised one book 4 times. Then in the end he published the one she originally wrote and he never paid her for all those revisions. This made her tighten up her ghostwriting contract.
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  • Profile picture of the author Therealman
    Such people dont deserve our time.Thank God that you never ended working with such a person.Such issues need to be addresed
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  • Profile picture of the author sanash
    Unfortunately writing has been devalued and everyone thinks they can write and edit and don't want to pay for it.


    In the UK freelance writing rates for business magazines haven't changed for the last 20 years or so.



    Usually I prefer to write for legitimate companies although I have even had problems there when there is a mis-match between price and expectation.


    Hope that you get more respectful customers in future!
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  • Profile picture of the author ecomgalore
    Yup. Don't work for clients who charge very little, it's not worth it unless you really want to build your portfolio.

    Always make sure you have respect from your clients, or else they will bend you backwards. Fiverr, is quite the grind.
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  • Profile picture of the author popmati
    it is really painful, but people devalue others because of how you present yourself to them, and believe me all this freelance site should increase the price of services, at least $50 pay job, because this is making professional to loss their value, they believe if a professional cannot do the job at cheap price, they can find someone on fiverr who can even take less the price.
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  • Profile picture of the author King Manu
    This guy is an awful person. If he likes to exploit people to work for pennies and some accept it, that's on them. But I can guarantee you no GOOD 320 pages book can be written by someone that is charging 50$ (he claimed that he knows people that write the book for that amount).

    Regarding your fee, that's a normal amount for what he asked. Some even charge more. I usually charge way more on this type of work because people also want me to edit/proofread their work, which involves much more work than plain formatting.

    I don't agree that you shouldn't state your price from the beginning. Quite the contrary. Flash your big price right there on the first touch. This way, these kinds of cheapskates will run away like crazy from you. And btw, him insulting you is just a proof that is someone too low to deserve your attention and you are lucky that you had nothing to do with him.

    Move on, find better clients, and ignore these type of individuals asap.

    After a couple of years in the business, you are going to get an extra sense when it comes to these people. The faster you identify them, the better for you. I respect your mature attitude!

    And regarding the fact that some people expect us to do wonders for pennies, we are the ones that must become stronger when it comes to never let our price down regardless the reason. It was a tough job for me, but I did it. Do you want a cheap deal? Go somewhere else. You will come back anyway because there's nothing you can do with that text that sounds like it's written by a drunken monkey. (No offense to primates. I am sure they can become awesome writers if they want.)

    Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

    My problem is, I NEVER learn. That's not the first time I screwed myself. lol
    I hope that you will take this hit as a lesson and you learn it, because no one deserves to be treated like that. Stop being nice to people until proven that they are serious and respectful. It might sound like judging, but in today's world, good people are a rare breed. You seem like one of us that simply went through a lot. I am sure you have what it takes to make the situation better for you and avoid these type of things in the future!
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by King Manu View Post

      And regarding the fact that some people expect us to do wonders for pennies, we are the ones that must become stronger when it comes to never let our price down regardless the reason. It was a tough job for me, but I did it. Do you want a cheap deal? Go somewhere else. You will come back anyway because there's nothing you can do with that text that sounds like it's written by a drunken monkey. (No offense to primates. I am sure they can become awesome writers if they want.)
      I don't ever want him to return. Hopefully he will find someone else who will work for him at his ridiculous price.
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  • Profile picture of the author LEE BYRON
    IMO, the best platform is your own website instead of Freelancer's platform. You share your professional experience and slowly you will be regarded as the expert.

    I never relied on the third-party platform, I start to earn money by building my own blog from the first day.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by LEE BYRON View Post

      IMO, the best platform is your own website instead of Freelancer's platform. You share your professional experience and slowly you will be regarded as the expert.

      I never relied on the third-party platform, I start to earn money by building my own blog from the first day.
      This is why I am going to create a blog and offer my service there instead. So come 2019, no more Fiverr for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author mal129
    I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I think most of us can empathize with you. I'm willing to bet he was a keyboard warrior too, and wouldn't of come close to saying that to your face. In any case, this situation makes you stronger as a person and an entrepreneur.
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  • Profile picture of the author KIORTY
    Yeah, sometimes freelancers have to live over really difficult times but, however, often only among freelancers can you find the best specialists though they may cost so much
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  • Profile picture of the author luiscara
    I´m a freelancer myself. I think the best way to increase your Prices it´s to offer some kind of bonus (competitive advantage) that the other freelancers are not offering. Also include it on your sales pitch and make emphasis on your bonus. And a great customer service helps. Make them feel like royalty.
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  • Profile picture of the author KimboJim
    320 pages for $50 is too much? That's $0.15 a page, who is willing to write that? I don't think that's worth it for anybody. There's no level of desperation that will make that a reasonable deal. I can understand for proofreading (still seems low), but writing that much is insane.

    Also, let me tell you that my absolute best clients had no problems with price. They allow me to write however I want and trust my judgment. The worst will question your price over and over again and they will give you such strict formatting that it's almost impossible to write the content in the first place.

    Perhaps the only exception is one client I have who has no problem with price, but is a rampant keyword stuffer. He wants each keyword 30+ times in a 1,000-2,000 word article, it's crazy.
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  • Profile picture of the author skylikemake
    You should quit Fiverr and go with Upwork or Freelancer. My friends make around $5k monthly
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  • Profile picture of the author ifmcinstitute
    Go with freelancer or open your own website to provide service which is a good option.
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  • Profile picture of the author Talkbrands
    You should work on creating a premium image for yourself to attract sensible clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author jex1
    I have hired lots of ghostwriters including some who have posted or liked comments on this thread. Whilst in general the ones who charge more are less in demand therefore easier to work with, it's not great for customers like me.

    One person's work was great but she allowed "personal problems" to delay the work (whilst still advertising that she was available to new clients), every single time I was waiting for a job there was a new excuse. In the end it was more efficient for me to hire cheaper but lower quality ghostwriters and edit the work than it was to pay top drawer and have excuses thrown at me when the work was not done by the deadline set.

    I had another ghostwriter I met on Odesk who promised the world for a lot of money, I paid the money, recieved the work and it was terrible. So I replied saying it was terrible and I was not willing to pay full price. Some of it had even been cut and pasted in from info sites (do they expect you not to check?) it was that bad but hey, she made a huge deal about how me telling her her work was bad made her cry and therefore I'm a msyoganistic asshole.... etc etc.

    The problem is many people are doing this as a side gig or something to do...but charging the same rates as people who do it for a living. And such difference comes out in the quality of their work, and of course not being pro's (but expecting pro comissions) they want you to hold their hand and tell you what a great job they did even when they don't.

    As a result I ended up just using a third party. I pay more, they pay writers and take a percentage... I get good work on time. Which is what I am paying for.

    Tldr people are quick to call clients scum (on a public forum no less) when half the time they are emotional narcissistic amatures charging pro prices who can't do the work to the spec they quote for.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shana Walters
      Originally Posted by jex1 View Post

      I have hired lots of ghostwriters including some who have posted or liked comments on this thread. Whilst in general the ones who charge more are less in demand therefore easier to work with, it's not great for customers like me.

      One person's work was great but she allowed "personal problems" to delay the work (whilst still advertising that she was available to new clients), every single time I was waiting for a job there was a new excuse. In the end it was more efficient for me to hire cheaper but lower quality ghostwriters and edit the work than it was to pay top drawer and have excuses thrown at me when the work was not done by the deadline set.

      I had another ghostwriter I met on Odesk who promised the world for a lot of money, I paid the money, recieved the work and it was terrible. So I replied saying it was terrible and I was not willing to pay full price. Some of it had even been cut and pasted in from info sites (do they expect you not to check?) it was that bad but hey, she made a huge deal about how me telling her her work was bad made her cry and therefore I'm a msyoganistic asshole.... etc etc.

      The problem is many people are doing this as a side gig or something to do...but charging the same rates as people who do it for a living. And such difference comes out in the quality of their work, and of course not being pro's (but expecting pro comissions) they want you to hold their hand and tell you what a great job they did even when they don't.

      As a result I ended up just using a third party. I pay more, they pay writers and take a percentage... I get good work on time. Which is what I am paying for.

      Tldr people are quick to call clients scum (on a public forum no less) when half the time they are emotional narcissistic amatures charging pro prices who can't do the work to the spec they quote for.
      Well if you read my original post, you can clearly see I was not calling the duded names. He was the one who verbally attacked me and for no good reason.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    and of course not being pro's (but expecting pro comissions
    They bought a "program" that said, "Anyone can do it." "No experience necessary."

    And they believed it!

    Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author fredm
    I tried the Freelance arena just to land a client that couldn't make up his mind what he wanted. I re-created that picture 3 times due to his indecision and he only paid me for a 1 time creation. Never Again!
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    That was a rather unfortunate experience I' sorry about that. There are still many others like him/her, but please remember not to let that affect the outcome of your day. No one has the power to ruin your day if you don't accept it as a fact.
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  • Profile picture of the author akshay7
    Charge what you feel is right and own it. And it is true, higher paying customers are better at conducting themselves because they value quality.
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  • Profile picture of the author wecoach
    It is a sad experience, and an interesting reflection. I do not understand why people react violently or insult when the price for a service does not suit them, it is enough to say that they will not hire the service because they feel that the price is not convenient; without losing time and energy, and without wasting time and energy to whoever sells the service.

    I'm sorry you had to go through this.


    Best regards
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  • Profile picture of the author Rud
    Good Point.
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  • Profile picture of the author SarCol
    Sounds dirty but I understand your position.
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  • Profile picture of the author vcss15
    freelancing is a pure wastage, i waste my 2 valuable years as a freelancer.
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    • Profile picture of the author MSutton
      In my 20+ years in business I have learned one thing for sure. Consumers that like to pay nothing for products and services are the most demanding and are the first to badmouth you (and are very quick to do so, might I add).

      It really doesn't pay to cater to the discount market.

      Originally Posted by vcss15 View Post

      freelancing is a pure wastage, i waste my 2 valuable years as a freelancer.
      Fivrr isn't really freelancing, it's the internet equivalent of standing at the road side with a sign saying "will wash all your windows for $5".
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  • Profile picture of the author Mega Vaper
    The problem is that content gets diluted the more freelancers produce content. More content on the web dilutes the value of future content. Diluted value mean less return on investment with the growing competition.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fortune_Hunter
    I have been a full time freelancer for 15 years now. In that entire time I have always valued my time and talents and charged accordingly. Other than minor updates to a web site I don't think I have ever done ANY job for $100 or $50. I am truly not trying to brag here, but I believe the premise of this thread is accurate. As freelancers we have to believe in our value and be willing to charge for and get it.

    I have never worked on Fivverr, Upwork, etc. I believe those sites are trolled by price sensitive people looking for the lowest dollar service they can get. Sadly because most freelancers are desperate and willing to work for pennies or are in countries where the standard of living isn't as high they will do this work for those prices.

    Remember as a freelancer you only have your time to sell. Once you run out of time you have nothing left to sell so you better be willing to get the most amount of money possible for that time. Lawyers really seem to understand this principle. How many of them do you see advertising their services on Fiverr or willing to do ANYTHING for less than $150 per hour including answering the phone!

    I think it comes down to creating a better brand, keeping sharp skills, knowing your value and not being willing to discount yourself even if you need the work. Start a precedent and you will regret it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joy Imtian Masum
    Now a days freelancer work is cheapest for the more and more compitition
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  • Profile picture of the author Rendition
    I learned a long time ago that if you ask a guy for $500 to do a task, and then ask another guy for $5000 to do that exact same task, the $50 guy will end up being the one expecting the world while the $5000 guy will be the one leaving raving testimonials about the quality of your service.

    Don't let your client wonder what is wrong under the hood. From the get go ask for enough moola to make real magic.
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  • Profile picture of the author dfreelanceangel
    Charge what you believe your service worth. Higher paying clients are better to work with because they value quality. It's true that clients who pay more are better to work with!

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  • Profile picture of the author sulelechat
    Many freelancers accept pennies just to have their share of the market. Invariably they could not cope on the long run and force to be out of the market they taught they could gain ground by offering low price in the first place.
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  • Profile picture of the author GiorgioGD
    I completely agree with the people above me. Most of the time the clients you charge more money are the better clients. They don't stalk you asking for updates, they don't argue with you, they know you are the expert and are busy doing the stuff they are good at. I prefer to charge more and have fewer clients than charge less, but having annoying clients that will give you headaches.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cezar Renta
    The freelancer market is pretty much dominated by freelancers from India, Pakistan and other similar countries. Since they are many and usually ask for way less, the market automatically readjusts itself. That being said, if you want quality freelancing work, you won't get it for cheap.
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