Why Freelancers Should Never Lower Their Prices To Win A Deal

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When John Ashton started his copywriting agency Write Arm, he had no money for staff writers. So he hired freelancers. Little did he know this would become one of his agency’s greatest strengths. A few years on, he has not only built up Write Arm but also founded The Kitchen Table Community support network for other agency owners that work with freelancers. 

In this Freelancer Feature with PulseBlueprint, John shared more about his background, his worst-ever client experiences, and why he believes freelancers should never lower their prices to win a deal. 

Where are you from / what’s your background?

I’m originally from near Manchester, but have lived in Brighton for 20 years. Once upon a time I worked in TV documentaries, then I became a non-fiction author and legal researcher. Along the way I did some commercial writing and I eventually realised that that was where my future lay. So, I dreamt up Write Arm, which is a commercial copywriting agency. 

What do Write Arm and Kitchen Table Community do?

On the Write Arm side much of our work is under NDA, but to give you a flavour our current projects include:

  • Producing hundreds of pages for a price comparison site.
  • Writing articles for a VERY well known online giant.
  • Writing articles, white papers and case studies for a variety of tech scale-ups.

On The KitchenTable Community side I’m currently concentrating on the content offering, so I’m planning and making podcasts and webinars, and am producing document templates and other resources – some of which are for members only and some are public on our blog

I’ve also just launched the platform as a resource for marketers who want to hire agency services. This was a big step forward and involved a lot of work!

What’s the worst client experience you’ve ever had?

A few years ago Write Arm worked with a start up run by a very stressed and volatile character who was unable to express what he wanted and who objected to much of what we did, even though we had followed his instructions to the letter. After a few uncomfortable months we agreed to go our separate ways.  

Thankfully, of the 2,000+ jobs that we’ve completed only two or three have turned toxic.  

What’s your freelancer stack?

What’s your favorite thing about working with freelancers?

The variety of personalities that I encounter. We work with a lot of freelancers and I always love getting to know them. At a personal level that’s because I just like people. At a professional level it’s because I enjoy the challenge of matching them to the right projects. 

What’s one pitfall of freelancing that every freelancer should be aware of? How can they avoid it?

Don’t become too reliant on one client. It can be fatal. 

To avoid it take on other clients and outsource the overflow work to other freelancers whom you trust. Be upfront with your clients about this – they shouldn’t mind as long as you guarantee quality control. 

What’s your advice for freelancers having trouble closing clients?

Don’t drop your price and don’t appear desperate. Be clear with yourself about what value you are adding and express that clearly to the client without being pushy.

Find the niche in which you excel and promote yourself as one of the go-to people in that niche.

Remember that the customer is always right, even when they are wrong. But serial offenders will bring you down, so extricate yourself from their clutches as soon as you are able. 

What’s your favorite quote?

“I’m all for censorship. If ever I see a double entendre, I whip it out.” – Kenneth Horne. Puerile but wonderful wordsmithery.

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