Client Wants To Pay Me Even After I Offered To Work For Free

by jeeni
10 replies
I would love your take on how to proceed with this client.

One day, I came across a new product in my favorite niche. The
chance to finally do some work on a subject I love and with a
resource that has never been offered to this market before.

So I shot the creators an email with an offer. Did they need any
writing done? Would they take a look at my suggestions? Would they
let me donate my time, working for free, just to be a part of this?

That was my mistake. I got ahead of myself. When I sent that email, I wasn't
thinking about the money (or the client). Instead it was all the possibilities swirling
around, like where this product could go, how it's gonna be a steamroller in that
industry, that I'm gonna be there when that happens.

But it was the wrong offer on my part. I knew it when the client replied:

"I'd feel more comfortable working out an hourly wage"

I read that and my head finally broke free of the fog. Of course he would feel
uncomfortable. His product is fighting against the exact thing I was offering--
low wages!

However, I don't really want to work with an hourly wage. When I finally told him
my rate for an auto responder series, well, there may been some backtracking.

Now, I still want to work with this client, because I think he's an awesome guy who
sticks to his values, but now I'm stuck with figuring out how to price this.

Long story short: Client wants to pay me even after I (stupidly) offered to
work for free. How do I price this? Should I:

(a) Charge my usual rate, but with a payment plan of x months
(b) Earn a 5% commission on every sale
(c) Suggestion of your choice

And I'm not just doing an auto responder, this arrangement will include
other work that needs to be done. My gut is telling me (a).

Thanks for your time
#client #free #offered #pay #work
  • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
    I'd go with a) unless there's some very good reason not to. I've been promised SEO work on commission (for some vague future performance), but I've got a family to feed. There's always moving parts and marketing that depends on the other participant, so you'd be making a bet that they're able to sell their stuff.

    Are you feeling lucky? Or rather, have you done your due diligence?
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    Links in signature will not help your SEO. Not on this site, and not on any other forum.
    Who told me this? An ex Google web spam engineer.

    What's your excuse?
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    • Profile picture of the author jeeni
      Originally Posted by nettiapina View Post

      I'd go with a) unless there's some very good reason not to. I've been promised SEO work on commission (for some vague future performance), but I've got a family to feed. There's always moving parts and marketing that depends on the other participant, so you'd be making a bet that they're able to sell their stuff.

      Are you feeling lucky? Or rather, have you done your due diligence?
      nettiapina, thank you and good point. I wasn't given concrete numbers, but it is already selling - before it has even launched.

      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      Always better to get a fixed rate than some "possible figure depending on this and that."
      Laurence, I'd never thought about it like that. Makes me more sure of option payment plan. Thanks

      Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

      Consider this: except the hourly rate but also require a royalty on every sale of this product. That way if their product is selling well after 6, 12 or 18 months you are still getting paid on your initial project.

      If the client doesn't go for that then offer a set price based on initial project and 12 months of product sales commissions.
      Interesting, makes it the best of both. My issue with the hourly rate is I'm not sure what to set it at, or what if it ends up taking me longer than I quoted. Thanks for your suggestion.

      Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

      Hit him with, "What do you think is fair?"
      Thanks Ken. In my last conversation with the client, I did ask something similar to this after we discussed what needed to be done. It usually works. But he said he didn't know. I think its because I didnt set it up properly.

      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post


      You need to reestablish your value.

      By redirecting their attention to what's on the table, you might be able to salvage the relationship.

      Mark
      Thanks Mark, I'm hoping that's the case. Like I said above, I did some version of that already, asking what he thought it was worth. He didn't know.

      But there were no concrete numbers involved when we were speaking and that was where I slipped up. I skipped that step. Can I still go back to that conversation?
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
        Originally Posted by jeeni View Post

        Can I still go back to that conversation?
        The short answer is yes.

        But only if you're good at "setting the table" and making your prospect salivate for the picture you paint.

        What you did wasn't smart. That's just reality.

        But you could use it to demonstrate your enthusiasm about the product... and ultimately ask for a bigger payday (front and backend.)

        This is for anyone:

        If your prospects don't have a number in mind for what kind of initial and long term profit they want - IF your copy converts...

        ...start planting some numbers.

        "$50,000? $100,000? A million? More?"

        Don't let them off the hook.

        You have to help them think big - when they're holding back from declaring what they want.

        Once a number comes out like, "I want to make a minimum of $100,000 in the first month," then give them a realistic number for what you want to make that happen. All the sudden a $10,000 upfront and 5% backend doesn't look so intimidating, does it?

        Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Always better to get a fixed rate than some "possible figure depending on this and that."
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    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Visit my site for more info

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    • Consider this: except the hourly rate but also require a royalty on every sale of this product. That way if their product is selling well after 6, 12 or 18 months you are still getting paid on your initial project.

      If the client doesn't go for that then offer a set price based on initial project and 12 months of product sales commissions.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8837362].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    You've really backed yourself into the corner.

    You completely undermined your value.

    You need to make sure and communicate your excitement for the project...

    ...and how you KNOW if it's positioned correctly, everyone can makes lots and lots of money.

    Start there.

    Here's my question...

    Do you honestly believe you have the ability to maximize the profit potential?

    If yes...

    How much does the client stand to make?

    Now ask him or her (or them) how much money they're willing to invest - so that profit potential can be realized.

    In essence...

    You need to reestablish your value.

    By redirecting their attention to what's on the table, you might be able to salvage the relationship.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by jeeni View Post

    I would love your take on how to proceed with this client.

    One day, I came across a new product in my favorite niche. The
    chance to finally do some work on a subject I love and with a
    resource that has never been offered to this market before.

    So I shot the creators an email with an offer. Did they need any
    writing done? Would they take a look at my suggestions? Would they
    let me donate my time, working for free, just to be a part of this?

    That was my mistake. I got ahead of myself. When I sent that email, I wasn't
    thinking about the money (or the client). Instead it was all the possibilities swirling
    around, like where this product could go, how it's gonna be a steamroller in that
    industry, that I'm gonna be there when that happens.

    But it was the wrong offer on my part. I knew it when the client replied:

    "I'd feel more comfortable working out an hourly wage"

    I read that and my head finally broke free of the fog. Of course he would feel
    uncomfortable. His product is fighting against the exact thing I was offering--
    low wages!

    However, I don't really want to work with an hourly wage. When I finally told him
    my rate for an auto responder series, well, there may been some backtracking.

    Now, I still want to work with this client, because I think he's an awesome guy who
    sticks to his values, but now I'm stuck with figuring out how to price this.

    Long story short: Client wants to pay me even after I (stupidly) offered to
    work for free. How do I price this? Should I:

    (a) Charge my usual rate, but with a payment plan of x months
    (b) Earn a 5% commission on every sale
    (c) Suggestion of your choice

    And I'm not just doing an auto responder, this arrangement will include
    other work that needs to be done. My gut is telling me (a).

    Thanks for your time
    You're excited about the project and would be happy to work for free just to be involved, correct?

    Quote him a low fee that you know he'll accept.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Chriswrighto
    How did this turn out?
    Signature

    Wealthcopywriter.com :)

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    • Profile picture of the author jeeni
      Update: The client and I worked something out that satisfied us both. I offered the payment plan solution and they accepted. Thank you for all the help!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8847140].message }}

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