In debating about a suitable topic for my December blog I happened across various poems and ramblings that I keep in an online journal. I often “park” ideas that may prove useful at some future date in this journal and while most of them amount to nothing, occasionally I am inspired to explore one of these “parked” ideas further. Some of them end up posted in my blog “Random Rumblings from Suburbia.” Today, I share one here. The reason? This particular poem has to do with value. How do you value yourself, your business and your service to others?
I won’t bore you with the whole poem although I do think it was quite clever. The essence had to do with providing writing services for free and how others perceive the value of that service. As I wrote, it also became a reflection of how I let others determine my value. I choose to share this publicly today because I want you to know this more than anything else: Don’t ever let another person determine your value! The only person that should determine your value is you.
“I’m a freelance writer, self-employed but blue,
people think nothing of not paying you….
Create content they say, for the web or my blog
I can’t do it ‘cause my brains in a fog…..
Just because I’m freelance doesn’t mean I work for free
I have a mortgage and a family…..
But I’m busy they say, out hustling for money.
Finding customers to buy my organic buckwheat honey
and don’t have time to work on my website
Words are easy for you – you’ll do it right….
You do it at first because you want the exposure
But the only thing gained is a loss of composure
because your wallet is empty and bills need to be paid
and all you have for your labour is a jar of honey in trade…..”
You get the idea. Your intentions were well-meaning and definitely self-serving to some degree. You hoped doing various articles, blogs and website posts would earn you exposure and some “street cred.” After awhile though, you begin to realize that an expectation now exists that you will work for free. The value of your effort goes unnoticed and now you’re struggling to ascertain what that value should be. This leads to further turmoil when it comes to asking others to pay full value for the service you are providing. It becomes a vicious circle. Work for free, gain exposure but the exposure comes at a cost – you, undermining your true value.
In a long- drawn out way this is a reminder to all self-employed entrepreneurs, regardless of your product or service, to determine your value up front, own it, state it clearly to others at the start of any negotiation and then provide the best darn service you can – at a fair, openly stated and honestly earned price. Because let’s face it, when we get something at a discount we often think “well that’s all it was really worth to begin with. I’m just paying fair market value now.” Are you worth nothing? We all have value and don’t deserve to be discounted. If you are providing a service to others (and it isn’t a volunteer position) it shouldn’t be free, even if you’re a “free”lance writer!
As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed? Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.
Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.
Writing Right For You
Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!