I don’t talk about it often, but in addition to being a freelancer on Upwork, I’m also a client. Over the past couple of years I’ve hired lots of freelancers to help me with various projects — from writers, to video editors to designers, and many more.
I’ve learned at least as much about freelancing from being a client as I have from being a freelancer. Probably more…
A few years ago I was looking for a copywriter who could help me on an “as needed” basis. So I posted a job on Upwork. I explained that I needed someone I could pay by the hour since they’d be doing “odd jobs” here and there — sort of like an “on call” physician in an ER.
I waited for the proposals to roll in.
I’ll never forget one of the first ones that came through.
At first, the guy sounded like he might be a good fit.
Then, something surprising: He told me he didn’t want to get paid by the hour.
Instead, he wanted to get paid “based on the value he created” for my business.
Since I liked his proposal, I responded and explained that I understood his concern, and that I’d be open to discussing a different pay structure in the future if we decided to work together. But for the time being, since we’d be working on different things every few days — and there was no way to determine the “value” of each individual task — it seemed obvious to me that it was better for both of us if we stuck to hourly pay, at least for now.
He wrote back and said OK, he’d do it for $30/hr. That sounded good to me, and I decided to think about it for a day before pulling the trigger.
The next morning I woke up feeling good about hiring him. But when I went to do it I saw the following message from him:
Danny, thanks for the opportunity. But I’ve decided to reconsider… I think I need to stick to my principles on getting paid based on value, rather than trading my time for income. I wish you the best of luck.
Fortunately, I received another great proposal shortly thereafter — this one from a freelancer who was happy to fill the role in exchange for an hourly fee. I ended up hiring him and it worked out beautifully. (Today he charges $100/hr and gets more offers than he can handle.)
But back to the freelancer who stood firmly against hourly pay…
Do you think he made the right decision? What would you have done in his shoes? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Then, in my next post, I’ll tell you what I think (you might be surprised by my answer).