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Stand Your Ground: Setting Boundaries as a Seller


thatwordchick

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I see a lot of advice that encourages the freelance tropes - the idea that we’re all workaholic night owls, perpetually hunched over keyboards, waiting at the beck and call of potential clients.

Never log out…
Always be agreeable to clients…
Give free samples or mock ups…
Answer right away…

If you needed an experienced professional to give you permission, in plain words, here it is: it’s okay to be a human being.

Never give out free work. No samples. No mockups. Period. That’s what your portfolio is for! If they can’t judge the quality and capability of your work from your portfolio, they’re likely going to be a pain anyway. (Editing to add: make sure your portfolio DOES reflect your capability, though - if it’s just an image with some text like “I do X, Y, and Z!” and there are no pictures of your actual work, change that. If a client can’t see your work within a few seconds, statistically you’ve probably already lost them!)

Do not offer discounts or give in to buyers begging for one because they’re a “start up.” You were a start up too, and no one paid you more because you were new, right? Don’t give them something they’d never extend to you.

No arbitrary discounts, especially for new clients asking “can you just…” or promising future work. Spoiler alert: that future work, if it even manifests, is going to be expected at the lower rate. You wouldn’t let your boss at a conventional job just randomly pay you less per hour because they felt like it, right? So don’t do it here.

Do not feel bad about taking days where you don’t schedule work or respond to messages. In conventional jobs, people don’t “swing by the office” to see if they can work on something - they enjoy their days off and use them to get personal things accomplished. Do that. Your sanity will thank you.

Some clients are going to be in different time zones. Answer when it’s appropriate for your time zone. Otherwise, you’re setting up a precedent of answering questions at 3am in your time and the client’s going to get testy when that’s not the norm.

Value yourself, your time, and your work - a freelancer is no different than any other worker, and we deserve the same dignity and consideration as those “protected” under a conventional job. It may mean we have to be a little more firm about boundaries with clients, but you can do so while remaining polite and businesslike.

I reject at least 2 or 3 jobs every day because I know in my heart they’re a poor fit, either price-wise, effort-wise, or expectation-wise. I just steer those clients back to the Fiverr marketplace and explain there’s a ton of talent that would suit their needs better than me, and they’re all ready to work.

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If you liked that, then here is another Fiverr thread that agrees with you, another video (though not as entertaining), and a link to an article I found in one of @smashradio's old 2017 posts.

The power of saying, "NO!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X5fE0BuasM
https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/should-freelancers-work-for-free/

You are not alone in your frustration.

Edited by imagination7413
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Hoorah! Someone else who buys into a common sense view of freelancing.

I can’t fault anything you say.

Sadly, I suspect the next post I read on the forum will be from someone asking how to show online 24/7 or asking why their gig doesn’t rank. :man_facepalming:

Sadly, I suspect the next post I read on the forum will be from someone asking how to show online 24/7 or asking why their gig doesn’t rank. :man_facepalming:

Close enough, unfortunately.

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I see a lot of advice that encourages the freelance tropes - the idea that we’re all workaholic night owls, perpetually hunched over keyboards, waiting at the beck and call of potential clients.

Never log out…

Always be agreeable to clients…

Give free samples or mock ups…

Answer right away…

If you needed an experienced professional to give you permission, in plain words, here it is: it’s okay to be a human being.

Never give out free work. No samples. No mockups. Period. That’s what your portfolio is for! If they can’t judge the quality and capability of your work from your portfolio, they’re likely going to be a pain anyway. (Editing to add: make sure your portfolio DOES reflect your capability, though - if it’s just an image with some text like “I do X, Y, and Z!” and there are no pictures of your actual work, change that. If a client can’t see your work within a few seconds, statistically you’ve probably already lost them!)

Do not offer discounts or give in to buyers begging for one because they’re a “start up.” You were a start up too, and no one paid you more because you were new, right? Don’t give them something they’d never extend to you.

No arbitrary discounts, especially for new clients asking “can you just…” or promising future work. Spoiler alert: that future work, if it even manifests, is going to be expected at the lower rate. You wouldn’t let your boss at a conventional job just randomly pay you less per hour because they felt like it, right? So don’t do it here.

Do not feel bad about taking days where you don’t schedule work or respond to messages. In conventional jobs, people don’t “swing by the office” to see if they can work on something - they enjoy their days off and use them to get personal things accomplished. Do that. Your sanity will thank you.

Some clients are going to be in different time zones. Answer when it’s appropriate for your time zone. Otherwise, you’re setting up a precedent of answering questions at 3am in your time and the client’s going to get testy when that’s not the norm.

Value yourself, your time, and your work - a freelancer is no different than any other worker, and we deserve the same dignity and consideration as those “protected” under a conventional job. It may mean we have to be a little more firm about boundaries with clients, but you can do so while remaining polite and businesslike.

I reject at least 2 or 3 jobs every day because I know in my heart they’re a poor fit, either price-wise, effort-wise, or expectation-wise. I just steer those clients back to the Fiverr marketplace and explain there’s a ton of talent that would suit their needs better than me, and they’re all ready to work.

An extremely relevant set of points @thatwordchick. Nicely done!

Do not feel bad about taking days where you don’t schedule work or respond to messages. In conventional jobs, people don’t “swing by the office” to see if they can work on something - they enjoy their days off and use them to get personal things accomplished. Do that. Your sanity will thank you.

Cannot agree with this more. My sanity has been doing several cartwheels out of sheer joy ever since I consciously started putting down more work-life boundaries.

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  • 3 months later...

How I wish this was all common sense. I agree with everything you said. Yet I always feel guilty if I live by these ‘rules’, and when I don’t, I keep ending up in awful situations with buyers. Eventually ruining my mental health. I’d highly recommend anyone to follow up on this advice.

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  • 1 month later...

Found this awesome reminder today, too:

[If a client tells you “I know people that charge less,” respond “I got clients that pay more.” Keep developing skills to the level that allows you to work with whoever you want to. Value your work and effort.]

152136789_10101569082872678_7156334342681369168_n.jpg.52b6545186e8117b454cf0dea6a51a75.jpg
May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'IF A CLIENT TELLS YOU: "I know people that charge less" RESPOND: got clients that pay more" Keep developing skills to the level that allows you to work with whoever you wan to. VALUE YOUR WORK AND EFFORT.'526×515 43.4 KB
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Guest logosupreme

@thatwordchick not just your post is interesting and thought provoking but the some replies as well. You must be proud to have inspired and let other sellers speak their mind.

It’s such posts that I come to Fiverr forum for. Thank you.

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  • 9 months later...
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Amazing advices!

 

Although working as a freelancer can be stressfull i intend to be a "good kind" of stress. Theres no place to free work on letting be harassed. Also following your gut is a great advice, when a offer does not sound right is better to let it pass even when you may miss the money, there are some headaches that are better to avoid.

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