Rant: Respect Your Local Freelancer

By Ian Tingen

I owe you guys an article or two. Sorry, hectic week. In the interim, an email exchange I just had made me fire up ye olde WordPress. I had found an ad online for someone who needed a ghostwriter. I contacted them, with the following:

Dear (NAME):

Hello! My name is Ian Tingen. (BOILERPLATE EXPOSITION, LINKS TO SAMPLES AND CV).

A few questions about your project:

1) Who is your target audience / market for this manuscript?

2) What is your target length of the manuscript?

3) When do you need it completed by?

Best,

Ian Tingen

I send it off. After a few hours, I get this reply back:

1         males, females & others
2         when it is finished (?)
3         30 to 40 days

I’ve come to expect that this kind of response either means a) someone is horrible at communication, hence their need to hire a writer or b) they have no effing clue what they want. This means that, as the contractor, you have to find a way to define the product that the client wants. Here’s what I said:

(NAME) -Thanks for your fast reply. I forgot to ask: what is your target budget for the project?

Ian

I have found that this question gets people’s attention. I’m not doing charity work here, folks – if you want an honestly good product, then you should be willing to pay an honestly good wage. Besides, the bottom line can go a long way to help clarify what the scope of the project will be. This is the response I got:

my business. you want to tell me how to spend my money?
At this point, I get the feeling that there may have been something miscommunicated – email can lose oh-so-much context. This kind of a response is also a great time to have a do-or-die moment in negotiation. Some clients are picky, some clients are jerks, most clients care about coming in at or before deadline and at or under budget. So, I say:
Just doing my due diligence. I pride myself on being able to finish on time, on budget, and without complications.

Best,

Ian

Straightforward, kind of my thing. I get this in response:
I don’t argue about compensation. You appear to be more interested in money than doing a quality job.
If you do good work you make good money.
At this point, I am done. It’s one thing to not know your needs – that’s what hiring professionals can help clarify. But to assume that just because you solicited work on the internet means you can get away with vague threats? No. I’m a freelancer, not a patsy.

How would you all have responded? Any hints out there from readers who have dealt with similar situations? Thanks for letting me rant.

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