September 22, 2007

How Much Will You Pay Yourself

A couple of days ago a friend of mine was telling me about a new project that he might take up. He had been sounded off about the details and everything looks promising. Then came the difficult part.

How much money should he quote?

In our case there is no one simple way of fixing the remuneration. Though we often get referred to as our own bosses, the good thing of being a freelancer, and are usually expected to decide our worth which at times is the flip side of being a freelancer. So how does one decide the worth of the work you'd put in, the worth of your time and the worth of being worthy enough?

Usually when you quote a price the client thinks you are over-quoting. Of course, I'm over quoting dude! It is at this moment that they'd discover their deep rooted connection with places such as Chawri Bazaar, Karol Bagh and Sarojini Nagar. Usually everyone knows that protocol- they ask, you quote, they under cut, you quote, they still under cut, you carry on quoting and finally after months of keeping hands on each others rears, some times, you finally get around to dancing.

The deal with freelancing is that you get so engrossed in the money part of it that most of the times you are on some sort of auto-pilot. Once the work comes around then the only thing you look forward to is getting done and moving on. In the case of a 'regular' job there is an industry standard, there are appraisal and when there is nothing else you go for a few interviews and quote your mind off and depending on the reaction you know how much you 'can' be worth. Many people suggest that once in six months you should always brush the dust of your CV and let it float around. let it have a life of it's own and like some new relationship you enter, let it go with the flow. Who knows were the hell it leads ya. The good thing about such an activity is that you might not reach where you wanted to go but usually end up where you ought to be.

I have refused more work than accepting. Many freelancers do that. The biggest hassle is the chase. You might get an advance (if you're really adamant) but after that the only place you can really be creative is tracking down people and asking for money. One of the recent jobs I did for this guy who assured me that as he knew a freelancers pain for he was one of the tribe some time ago, he'd not screw up on the payment. I still wait for the tribesman to revert. It's been almost 5 months and I haven't received my final installment. One person asked me to show a sample; considering the state of their original matter was pathetic, it didn't make any real sense. I showed sample. They asked for more. I asked for money. They told me what if this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship? I assured them if they show the money they will have my attention, undivided. They never got back.

So what's the best way to decide?

No one way.

Just close our eyes and think of a figure. In any case even if you really slog your brains off to reach a figure, a justified one I may add, you'd have to come up with another and another and another and another....for everyone else you can ask the Internet to help you decide your worth. My way way of picking up work is to make sure I'm going to enjoy it and chasing people for money is the collateral damage!

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