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SHOW DATE: JULY 25, 2014

You’re being taken advantage of, and you don’t even know it.

One out of three workers in America is a contracted worker, or freelancer—meaning they get a 1099 instead of a W2. Or they get paid under the table.

HUGE problem: most of these freelancers walk through the door saying, “please use me ANY way you please. I’ll do EVERYTHING you want me to do.” Basically, they act like they haven’t gotten their freelance cherry popped yet.

How you begin your relationship with a client or company determines whether the gig is going to fall through or thrive. Will there be insanity along the way? Or will the seas be calm and steady?

Before you even breathe, there’s that split-second where the client (or prospect, or employer) knows, unconsciously or otherwise, whether she can miss a few scheduled meetings, not pay on time, and basically hold you by the balls.

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The dirty truth? You get taken advantage of because you want to be liked, and this absolutely DESTROYS you and your dignity in the long run.

In fact, a worthy employer or client can tell how submissive a contractor will be from the cover letter.

We’re using a combined 50 years of work experience to compile a list of absolutely VITAL advice that will help prevent you from bending over backwards (or forwards) for your client or employer.

1) NO EFFORT and NO CREATIVITY spells DEATH: STOP transcribing your resume onto your cover letter. It’s redundant, annoying and shows no creative thought process. You don’t have to list where you’ve worked when it’s clearly displayed in greater detail on your resume.

2) Tell a STORY: Can you paint a picture of who you are as a hire by describing ONE moment where you excelled at what you do in an unconventional and exceptional way? There ya go, you’ve got the start of a GREAT cover letter.

3) Focusing on ME ME ME: Yeah, we get it. You’re hot shit. But what about us, as clients, or employers? What will you do for US? This is where you fall through the cracks to join the heaps of rotting bodies of unemployed 1099ers. Start expressing what you can do for OTHERS, not just yourself.

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4) Puppydogs don’t get jobs: Calm yourself. If you’re hyperventilating from happiness or nervousness that someone actually CHOSE you, start cultivating a less reactive, more authoritative personality. Fake it till you make it if you have to; desensitization comes naturally with time and MANY interviews and sales pitches.

5) If you’re promising me the MOON, I’ll know you’ll give me the CHEESE: And by cheese we mean crap work based on bullshit claims. Get realistic and don’t offer everything on your plate and then some if you’re not sure you can provide at least half of what you’re claiming.

6) Look AMAZING: Self-explanatory. People like to pay people who keep up hygiene and look their best. End of story.

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7) Always leave a paper trail: Have a contract and some kind of schedule to keep track of your time that you can show the client. This brings you respect, shows that you’re organized and fronts you as the lion in the relationship, not the gazelle.

8) Watch the clock: For those who have clients coming in late on a consistent basis, make sure they know from the get-go that if they’re ten minutes late, they lose ten minutes from their time.

9) Scraping the bottom of the barrel: This one should get you VERY excited. If your prices are low, hike those suckers up. A moderate-to-high price shows that you respect yourself, that you take yourself seriously, and that you’re willing to take the time to put in the effort instead of doing a bait-and-switch and pawning your responsibilities off overseas. Imagine you’re on old 42nd street in New York City, and you have your standard selection of, um… hookers. How would you react is Candy offered you a quickie for $10? Exactly.

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10) GET PAID IN ADVANCE: You’re terrified to ask for money in advance. But if they’re struggling to pay for even an HOUR in advance and take their chances, WALK OUT. Fish in bigger ponds and don’t undermine yourself by grunting away regretfully for someone who can’t even drop a few bills for your skills.

Be powerful. People stop their nonsense and listen to you when you’re able to stand up for yourself and value your time and your money. Trying to be liked will only get you ONE place: broke, sobbing and alone.

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