You Are Not a Transaction - You Are a Transformation | Internetly Vol. 12
On the difficulties of running a freelance writing business, why people spend money, and how to negotiate with a new client.
Freelancing is very, very hard.
I feel sheepish admitting it, even though it’s relatively obvious. Running a business is no joke.
There are two sides to operating as a freelance writer. The first is your craft. You know, how to write well enough to persuade someone to hand over their precious attention or hard-earned money. The second is what happens behind the scenes. It’s the actual business behind it all.
The past few days my thoughts have been saturated in Business 101 hoopla. Am I pricing myself accordingly? How do I negotiate? Should I set up some accounting software? That’s what the professionals do, right?
Up until this point, I was focused entirely on my craft. Everything I use on a daily basis - copywriting, content writing, social media marketing, ghostwriting - I’ve taught myself. College didn’t help with a lick of it.
So when it comes down to the business side of things, it’s…rudimentary. I just haven’t focused on this side of work yet. Like most freelancers, we’re better at the creative than analytical.
And chances are (like me) you held a few jobs growing up where you were paid minimum wage. Suddenly, you have to turn inside and ask, “What, really, am I worth?”
It’s an intense question. How do you go from bare minimum to shaking yourself by the shoulders and exclaiming you’re worth ten times more than that? It’s during those moments that Imposter Syndrome tends to shine.
So this week, Internetly will be focused on money mindset and entrepreneurship. Because lord knows we don’t talk about it often enough.
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: Journaling is Where Creativity Begins
If you had an emotional High School experience, there’s a good chance you kept a journal.
Maybe you still keep up with the habit. Maybe you discarded it years ago. Or maybe you never started.
I was one of those kids who journaled religiously growing up. But once I graduated college, it took a backburner.
For three years I meandered through the world with all my thoughts jumbled in my brain. But in 2020, I took up the habit again. Nothing like a worldwide pandemic to scare you back into self-reflection. But with each journal entry, life became a little bit simpler, once again.
I could never quite put my finger on why it felt so cathartic. There was no official scientific reasoning behind it. But this week, I stumbled on a resource titled “The Heath Benefits of Journaling” put out by Psych Central.
Unsurprisingly, journaling namely affects your creativity.
Check this out:
“The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit, and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all your brainpower to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you.”
It’s a powerful quote. It encapsulates how journaling allows you to get in touch with your internal world. Rather than get lost in the maze of your own storylines, you pull them out from the depths of your subconscious and make sense of it all.
Not to mention, journaling now has (proven!) benefits, such as strengthening immune cells and decreasing the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Who would’ve known?
Journaling has proven benefits, such as strengthening immune cells, decreasing symptoms of asthma, and engaging your creative right-side brain. 🦄
🥒 Content Diet
Some resources to make you a little bit smarter about money. What’s not to like about that?
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
I know, I know. Shocker. Like, who hasn’t heard of this dude?
I finally caved and bought the audiobook. It was half as a joke, half because I thought, “God I’m desperate to learn more about money let’s just see if what he has to say can put me out of my misery.”
And I’m shocked to report it but...this book is actually...really good? It’s difficult to swallow, considering this guy is now part of real estate scams, but for the sake of brevity let’s swerve from that. Instead, let me unpack some valuable lessons this book teaches:
Making more money will not solve your problems unless you are financially literate.
You must use your money to buy assets - not liabilities.
Wealth is determined by how long you can survive if you stopped working today.
You will not achieve wealth if your only income stream is from a job.
“I can’t afford it” is a lame excuse as it lets you off the hook. “How can I afford it?” forces you to think.
I’ll keep you guys posted as I keep listening. But so far, he makes some valid points.
Making more money will not solve your problems unless you are financially literate and buy money-generating assets. 💰
How to Run a Profitable Business and Make Money by Chris Do (The Futr)
In a 55-minute masterclass, the legend Chris Do goes through Business 101 essentials. He teaches you what you should understand before you set your price in the market.
The biggest lesson here is understanding the difference between price and cost.
Cost: Measured in time (effort) and materials. Amount of money spent by the company in the manufacturing of a product or creation of a service.
Price: Determined by cost and profit.
When a client asks: “What will this cost?”, they are really asking, “What is the price of doing this?”.
When the value exceeds the price, people give you money. But value is subjective, so it’s up to you to communicate your value in your price point.
It taps into the same thought process as to why someone would voluntarily shell out hundreds of dollars to wear an inconveniencing puffer coat with no zippers, pockets, or hoodie. Kanye creates the value - price be damned.
Let’s take it one step further: how do we go about presenting our value in the market?
Read down below.
When the value exceeds the price, people give you money. 💸
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: You Are Not a Transaction - You Are a Transformation
Last Wednesday I chatted with Alejandro. He’s a former client who turned into my life coach and business partner. Weird how fast things can change in life.
“I have a new contract coming up, and I’m stressing thinking about how to negotiate my rates,” I mused during our Zoom. In response, he offered me a quick, 5-minute masterclass on negotiation.
Now mind you, Alejandro does this professionally. High-performers pay him a good chunk of cash for his consulting services as they switch over to new roles. Needless to say, I was tuned in like a sponge, trying to absorb as much information as I could.
So, let’s say you’re sitting with a client. What are some negotiation tactics?
Firstly, the best negotiators ask questions. They don’t manipulate.
Your questions are aimed to get the client to reveal the outcome they desire.
The ideal outcome includes reputation. How much is their image worth to them?
You are not a writer, coder, designer, etc. You are a person with a certain skill set that will help transform their business and take them from point A to point B.
It’s transformational, not transactional.
It’s useful advice. But it’s a whole new ballpark on how to go about asking these types of questions.
I’ll keep you guys posted as I negotiate my next contract this upcoming week. Wish me luck!
When negotiating your rates with a client, present yourself as a transformational asset for their business, not a transactional service. 🧠
Thank you so much for reading!
We’re at 255 of us on this thing. How nuts. I appreciate you, whoever you are!
If you learned a lesson or two about money from this newsletter, why not share it?
See you next week!
P.S - I just ordered “Art For Money: Up Your Freelance Game and Get Paid What You’re Worth”. I’ll keep you posted if it’s a good read!