First, we live in the age of popular online freelancing sites. The competition to obtain new clients in these spaces result in bidding wars and competing with people willing to work for a little of nothing. It's very easy to get lost in the hype and lose sight on what's most important: OUR WORTH. However, when we know our worth, the value of our time and the services we offer, potential clients will take notice and value our quality services too. That whole “…you get what you pay for” quote comes to mind here. With that said, get your money from beginning to end: Charge. To. Consult. I have to stress that message here. Even if it is as small as $25.00 for 30 minutes of your time, charging a consulting fee will keep you from burning out or getting burned in the long run. When people are serious about hiring you, they will pay.
Consults for potential clients are a necessary part of your business, therefore you must strategically plan how you will offer that service as all other services. There was a time I based whether to charge consultation fees on the type of service in which the potential client was interested in hiring me. As time moved on, I learned that was not a good idea. I began to notice a pattern where people were interested in the social media, professional and legal document preparation services I offered, but not following through the hiring process. I remember spending time answering questions whether it was by phone or email, creating detailed proposals and making sure there was clarity on both ends. The risks included them taking the information I’d given them and going elsewhere or using the information as a ‘do-it-yourself’ guide. Either way it became frustrating and resulted in a waste of time. Even if the consultation fee is deducted from the hiring fee: charge. Consultations usually lead into giving advice. And, for many (including myself), it takes a lot of deep, time-consuming research, networking, sitting in classes, obtaining degrees that we spend a lifetime repaying to learn the information and advice we give. It is important that we all take this into consideration. I have.
Are you a freelancer? Do you have any experiences you want to share? What are your thoughts?
To find out more about the services I offer and for business consulting, click here to Innovative Social Media and Professional Services.