Ich bin Freelancer*

I started writing this blog over five years ago. At the time, I hired freelancers, I was friends with freelancers and I loved freelancers.

But I was not a freelancer.

It seemed too hard. (How do you make money?) Too scary. (How do you make money??) Too lonely. (How do you make money?!)

This Friday, I’m leaving the Day Job and taking my practice full-time. I am going to be a full-time freelancer.

I am a jelly donut!

Pres. Kennedy in West Berlin.

My road to freelancing wasn’t the blissful stuff of internet fairy tales. I resisted it like hell for a while, then timidly tested the waters, and then finally made a plan that only changed about a dozen times from beginning to end.

Once I made that plan, I approached going freelance the same way I approach a lot of negotiations: I identified what was important to me, created a structure that was strong enough to support those interests and flexible enough to change when I needed it to change, and I made sure I had a good back-up plan.

One of my strengths as negotiator is that I’ve got a good long game. I can wait you out longer than you think I can.

Which is funny, because when it comes to day-to-day stuff I can also be (ahem) a bit impatient.

But I’ve gotten to this point by giving myself smaller goals to achieve along the way. It means that I’m always accomplishing something that gets me closer to where I want to go, even if it isn’t the great big thing that I’m working toward.

I started this countdown calendar when I finally gave into the idea that maybe I could make a go of full time freelance work. Twenty-two months ago. Twenty. Two. Months.

22 Months.

22 Months.

So the next time you worry about not nailing a negotiation perfectly, or leaving money on the table, or being at a disadvantage because the person on the other side keeps saying things like “leveraging synergies” and “learnings from stakeholders,” remember: you are a freelancer. You play the long game. You don’t need to get it absolutely perfect on this round, because you’re working toward more important goals.

Each and every negotiation will teach you something. Each wacky client demand will give you an opportunity to practice your skills. Each job will be a chance for you to learn about how you like (and don’t like) to price your work. Each contract will give you a shot to stand up and protect yourself.

Here are a few of my favorite posts from over the years – posts that I hope will help you as you work toward your goals. However long a game that might be.

How to Tell a Client How Much Something Costs

I Have Something to Tell You, Parts One, Two & Three

And Now For Something Everyone Hates

Yes, And

Being Disagree-able

Why You Should Raise Your Rates

What To Do After They Say “No”

If You Really Want Something, Don’t Ask For It

Finding the “Yes” in Your “No”

You Have The Right to Remain Silent (In a Negotiation)


*Yes, the German is only close-ish; the things one will do for a joke.

Categories: The Rest



« Negotiating While Female: Beyond the Headline Hype

Don’t Be Afraid to Charge What You’re Worth »

4 responses to “Ich bin Freelancer*”

  1. Ilise Benun says:

    Congratulations, Katie, you’re almost there! I love the way you have done this and can’t wait to see the next chapter! You’ll do great.

  2. Claudiu says:

    Welcome to the freelancing world then 🙂 I’m new to the ‘full-time freelancing’ thing myself, and so-far, so-good.

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