Sometimes you just have to say no


February 6, 2015 by Sian Rowland

One of the hardest things about freelancing is setting a price for your services- too high and you price yourself out of the market but too low and sell yourself and your expertise short.

Training takes preparation

Training takes preparation

Here’s an example: I’m asked to run a two hour training session. In order to make sure the session is tailor-made for the audience I need to liaise with the person requesting the training. This is usually done via telephone and email but often I’ll offer a free preliminary visit just so we can meet and work out what is best. Let’s say half an hour of admin at a conservative estimate.

Then I need to prepare the presentation and the materials. Again, as a conservative estimate I’ll allow two hours for prep. In reality it usually takes more as there is editing and redrafting involved as well as researching and making sure the materials are up to date and as good as they can be.

I’ve been using my own computer, telephone and internet so let’s add half an hour to cover those costs.

Let’s say that the training is to be done in a venue an hour’s travel away. I always like to arrive at least half an hour beforehand so that’s two and a half hours. I don’t always charge for travel but it’s nice to be able to cover the cost.

So far this two hour training session is up to seven and a half hours or pretty much a working day if you allow for an occasional loo break and a cuppa.

On the face of it I’m earning a fair old whack for just two measly hours of delivery but in reality I often earn less than minimum wage for the hours I put in and sometimes that means I just have to say no. I hate saying no but it’s not fair to my profession (or my bank account) to sell myself short. I also hate saying no because there’s a group of people I would have loved to work with and offer great quality training to and I hope they don’t miss out.

I do loads of freebies in my own time too so it’s not all chasing the pound. Recently I gave a presentation at a local #Teachmeet where teachers meet for bitesize CPD (continuous training development) and I’m judging a schools public speaking contest soon. I do things like that willingly and happily in my own time just to contribute to the wider education community but it’s only fair to be paid a living wage when I do charge.

So if you’re thinking booking a freelancer and quirk an eyebrow at their hourly rates or think, ‘all right for some,’ don’t forget how much goes on behind the scenes. A good freelancer puts the hours in and why would you expect less?


4 thoughts on “Sometimes you just have to say no

  1. It’s the hardest part but if you don’t factor in all the additional costs you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

  2. Melissa says:

    Great article. It’s very easy for a potential client to only consider the contact hours and not realise all the behind the scenes work that goes into making that face to face time so rich and customised. Very helpful that you’ve spelled it out here.

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