The Human Freelancer

Happy and honest self-employment for conscientious newcomers

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It’s irksome that people make money out of us. Yet there’s something more palatable about a client who exposes the margins they make on top of your work. It says “I’ve got nothing to hide between us. Your work does a tremendous job attracting success for me and this is proof.” Considerate clients share insight like that about the quality of your work.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of profiteering from other people’s toil. But it takes the exploitative edge off when clients are at least honest about a commercial arrangement.

That’s about the best we can hope for I suppose, trapped here beneath the toxic Dutch-oven duvet of capitalism. Until people trade resources without polluting deals with cash the honest freelancer must bite her or his lip and get on with things. After all, if we weren’t cheaper for clients than doing a job in-house we wouldn’t be asked for assistance in the first place.

There’s another way you can help yourself feel less pissed off. Always choose a fair price you’re happy with in the first place. So you feel adequately recomposed for the effort and value you add to your client’s business. A human freelancer never increases their price out of avarice.

The other way to do business deserves no respect. That’s when a client hides their pleasure, pretends they’re indifferent to the successes they gain from your work and treads on your tits until you squeeze out an even bigger milky margin.

How is that supposed that make a freelancer feel? Like shit. And it reduces your inclination to do a good job and more likely to put their windows through with frozen acid turds.

I’m uncomfortable with profiteering from other people’s efforts because I can’t bring myself to do it.

“I’d suggest that’s a serious misunderstanding of how the capitalism model works” said my accountant friend when I admitted to charging clients only cost price for other freelancers I draft in. He’s probably right but I’m not convinced it’s right to mark up someone else’s work when they did everything to create it and you did nothing. But then he has to spend his life being an accountant.

Some people charge introduction fees for passing on work, but making money out of sharing something that didn’t cost me anything seems ethically wrong. It’s fair to charge for my direct effort and experience, it’s not fair to profiteer from other people’s just because you pushed an opportunity their way. What goes around comes around, hopefully their thanks will be collaboration in the future.

Perhaps I’ve been hoodwinked by the ubiquitous call for more transparency in the system – a veil for shirking responsibility from those who do wrong but are at least open about it. Maybe I’m placated by a pat on the head and a “well done” when I should really be demanding more money for my work.

Yet every decent human freelancer knows more money doesn’t mean more happiness. Happiness comes from a sense of purpose doing what you love and feeling content with where you are right now. So I defer to that instead of making the system worse by polluting it with more greed.

The Human Freelancer book

LOOK! There's a book full of this shit and more!

Self-help business books perpetuate the myth that success is relentless growth and more of everything means progress. They preach about bookkeeping and market research: things you might need to do of course. But let’s face it they’re fucking boring.

The Human Freelancer book is your antidote: stuffed full of emotional support and insightful advice for vulnerable newbies to self-employment like you.

Buy it now