The short answer is, when people are looking for a freelancer to provide a service, they want to hire an individual more than they want to hire a service. They want to know the person they are hiring. Their complete personal profile, including but not limited to persona, written and oral communication, integrity, reliability, the past experiences of others working with you, among others. Of course, people are interested in your competence, but often, a person may be competent but difficult or unpleasant to work with.
By putting my face to my name and work, however unintentional over the past year, I have have been able to secure more business opportunities and projects, because clients start off hesitant and recommendations will most likely travel faster about a person, how they are to work with, quality and reliability, than a writing service.
As I have mentioned in my last freelancing post Freelancing: One Year Update this is one reason I have neglected to continue on the popular freelancing websites such as Upwork and Freelancer. Contractors looking for freelancers via these mediums tend to want large amounts and quality of work for next to nothing prices, luring freelancers with the promise of frequent or ongoing work and good reviews. Simply, I am unable to compete with freelancers from other markers, who’re much less skilled and willing to work for peas.
The quality of my work speaks for itself. Your work is valued at it’s worth. I am unwilling to be paid $2.00 for a piece of work that I have put research, time, intellectual resources and editing and writing skills into perfecting. I am equally unwilling to produce sub-par work that is less than within my abilities and send it out with my name attached in an effort for it to be worth the ‘price tag’. My name is my brand, and each project/piece I work on will reflect that image.
Additionally, the option exists for the contractor to decide whether or not to pay you or to prolong their ‘satisfaction’ in lieu of payment. An irritating example of something that happened to me last year, is that a contractor and I discussed a project and we agreed on the price. After 24 hours of research and writing, I submitted the project and he was unhappy. He then proceeded to provide clarity on what he wanted, which turned out to be completely different from we discussed and instructions that pertinent were to be provided prior to the project, not on completion.
When I pointed that out, he said he agreed, but it was ‘no big deal’, I could re-do it with the new instructions. So to him, my time and effort were not valuable and I could afford to work for two days, for $2.00. I refused. I politely suggested that he could contract the piece to someone else as I was no longer in interested in working with him further. The client proceeded to ask me to return his instalment, which was a fraction of the cost agreed to. Again, I refused. He proceeded to threaten me with a ‘bad review’ as a new freelancer on the platform if I didn’t and opened a dispute. I explained that is was okay and this was followed by multiple threats and harassment.
Suffice to say, he did leave a bad review, claiming that I only ‘played by my own rules’ and should only be hired for a ‘joke’ project. As you can imagine, spending hours and days working on a project for someone to decide they will not pay you at their leisure is bad for business, and the platform offers no persona to the freelancers who use them, particularly new users, who are heavily dependent on reviews.
My client base has grown over the past year has indicated the preference of hiring me as an individual, not just a mechanical skill set. While you may be bound to have situations where contractors fail to pay, they are less likely if the project coordinator takes into account realistically the time and skills required and market value for the project at hand. I know my worth.