Frustrations in Freelancing – “Sealing the Deal” or Wasting Time?

I get frustrated sometimes realizing the amount of time that goes into negotiations for each custom and freelance job I get.  The back and forth emails, the time I have to spend imagining how I’m going to make what I need to make, the online research to get an estimate on the cost of necessary materials if it’s something I’m physically making, sometimes sketching out the details  – all of this has to happen before I even can give the person an estimate and, if they agree to it, draw up a contract.  All told, it’s usually thirty minutes to an hour and a half of my time, and sometimes even when they say “yes, let’s do it” and I spend another chunk of time plugging in details to a contract, the initial 50% payment never comes.

This is, of course, the cost of doing freelance business.  But that time in negotiation (which still results in my probably undercharging for what I am doing) is time that could be spent working on my personal writing or art projects that become potential perpetual moneymakers.  So I resent it.  But there has to be a balance of money coming in NOW while building hopefully bigger profits for the future, so it has to be done. And I always learn a lot by doing projects for other people because it requires me to explore ideas and notions that I otherwise wouldn’t do.

Ideas?  I could build in a modest $10 or $20 contract or consulting fee to every project I do, even if I don’t mark it as such in the process, but that doesn’t make up for the deals that don’t carry through.  And it doesn’t seem fair to charge a paying customer something that a person that chooses not to follow through gets for free.

I guess what I really hate, beyond the time wasting and not making money, is imagining out a project in my head and then not getting the chance to see it through to fruition.  :-/

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5 thoughts on “Frustrations in Freelancing – “Sealing the Deal” or Wasting Time?

  1. ooh, I wish I had advice. This is honestly one of the things that is keeping me looking for full time employment instead of trying to freelance. I would be so worried prospective clients would flake on me after I’d invested a lot of time and effort! 😦

    I know the frustration you mean. I feel that way with job hunting sometimes. one of those things that has to be done and definitely has a purpose, for sure, but feels unproductive and pointless when I could be working on my art. You know about 95% of the jobs you spend half an hour each applying to are going to give you resume one glance and toss it.

    • Yes, I had this frustration, too, looking for a new full time job last year, before getting some help from my father to have the opportunity to try building our business for a year-ish without being worse off than we already were. Crafting each cover letter to try to catch the eye of the employer, knowing that they may have already had a candidate in mind. Heck, even my own employers were doing the same thing to me, dangling a carrot but always hiring other people due to nepotism and not wanting to have to train a new hire in my position. It is so discouraging, either way you look at it.

      If it turns out either my or my husband needs to find a full time job in a couple of months, I think I’m going to try going through people I know first before even attempting to get my resume out in regular ways.

    • Our plan for what I hope is to become the bulk of our business will involve an online store with dropdown options for customization. That will hopefully cut down on some of these emails.

      I don’t even imagine ever having an assistant or employee yet! That would be lovely if other people could live on the fruits of my creativity, but I would settle for just our family being able to do that!

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