Being a strong negotiator can make or break your freelance career.

If you do well, you can earn enough to support your family and stash away some cash for your superannuation. If you don’t, you’ll be living on Baked Beans and working around the clock.

But there are times when clients simply don’t have the cash to pay top dollar. And when the work truly appeals to you, and you just want to say yes. But before you sign on the dotted line, think about how you can make this client work for you. Looking beyond top dollar by bringing a few other things into the negotiation can make a project truly worthwhile.

Please bear in mind that we’re not at all suggesting that freelancers work for free. What we’re suggesting is that if the rate isn’t quite up to your normal standard and you’d like to do the work, there are other ways you can make this work for you. So, supplementary compensation – not slave labour.

These could include:

1.) Social media shares: Have you thought about asking your client about the possibility of them sharing your content on their social media channels with a link to your business socials? This can bring you new business, and make it all worthwhile. This can benefit all types of freelancers wanting more work, including freelance writers, designers, web developers or marketers.

2.) LinkedIn recommendation: Think of LinkedIn recommendations as the modern version of a favourable letter from clients or past employers. These are increasingly useful marketing tools, so asking the client to fill out a recommendation upon completion of the project could bring you more business.

3.) Access to subscription services: Expensive tools like subscription services can be outside of the reach of freelancers sometimes. But being able to access these services for research, to access premium fonts, images or media lists can be hugely useful for during the life of the project, so can be a great add-on.

4.) Travel costs: Being invited to attend conferences, being flown interstate for the monthly project meeting, or having educational opportunities such as courses paid for on top of a slightly lower rate can make the arrangement beneficial for you, so consider asking if this can be negotiated into the arrangement.

5.) Fitness memberships: If you’re working in an office for your client a day or two a week and they offer their employees perks such as gym memberships or a weekly yoga class, you should consider asking if you as a freelancer can get the same perk. So, if your client doesn’t want to pay your standard rate, ask if paying for a membership might be more appealing for them.

Have you negotiated a perk from your regular client? Tell us about it below.

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