Just this morning I was reminded of an interesting communiqué I received several years ago.
(Doesn’t communiqué sound way sexier and a lot more high-falutin’ important than just saying “I received an email?”)
Anyhoo, here’s what that message was about so many years ago:
One of the biggest of the big, deepest of the deep pockets, 800 lb. gorilla of direct marketing…
Can’t afford my fees!
How about them apples?
I felt an immediate swelling of pride the minute I read that emai… er, I mean communiqué.
Now I probably shouldn’t blurt out their name. I don’t want to embarrass or disrespect anybody. So… all I can tell you is… their name begins and ends with the first letter of the alphabet.
Yeah, THAT marketing monstrosity.
The fee I quoted them for some online copy was so darn high…
You see, in 2012, for the first time ever, I decided to sell most of my business ventures (except my inner circle, the Marketing Camelot) and become a full-time freelance copywriter for a while. Back then I needed a break after more than 17 years of serial entrepreneurship.
Well, word of that decision started spreading throughout our tight-knit little direct response community. And some exceptionally good gig opportunities started flooding in. And THAT is when I started upping my fee with each successive offer.
Supply and demand.
There’s only one of me… and there were a LOT of offers on the table.
Truth is, I didn’t need any of ’em.
That’s not a positioning statement or a “psyche myself up” attitude technique. I honestly didn’t need any of them. My monthly nut was covered whether I accepted any of these offers or not.
And THAT is the biggest secret
to GETTING high fees!
I’m telling ya… prospective clients can FEEL need. It drives them away faster than saying “pro bono” to an ambulance-chasing attorney.
(Interestingly, I discovered the same thing with the opposite sex back when I was a single man.)
One of the first thoughts I had when all these primo copywriting/consulting gigs started flooding in was… where were all these offers when I was broke and living in my car?
Back then I really needed the money.
And THAT, my cherished reader, is why I never had any. (I used to roll my eyes at those kind of statements when I was broke, too. Don’t worry… it will all make sense soon enough.)
You see, need is a really poor position to be in when negotiating anything… copywriting fees, business deals, one night stands… anything. You’re negotiating from a position of weakness and your adversary knows it. The smell of your need permeates the room like a fart in church… and you’re gonna wind up being the sucker in the deal.
So how do you not “need” when, in actuality, you DO need the money?
My pragmatic answer is to make sure your monthly nut is covered.
Well, there are lots of ways to do that…
- Select the right parents… the ones who can give you a multi-million dollar trust fund. (Probably not an option.)
- Save up enough cash to pay all your bills for a year if you wind up without an income some day down the road…
- Keep your day job and freelance part-time. (If you don’t have a day job, get one.)
- Start an online “lifestyle” business that brings in enough money to cover your monthly nut.
- Get one or two low maintenance retainer clients. Let those fees be your monthly nut money while you work on finding the really high paying gigs.
There are probably a couple more I’m forgetting right now… but let’s move on to more important stuff.
How do you not “need” if none of the above are an option right now for one reason or another?
Aaaahhh… that’s the toughest part. To explain that, we gotta get into the Zen-like “get your head straight” stuff…. and that’s an entire lifetime of learning I can’t cram into just one little blog post.
So I’ll just give you a couple tips for now.
If you really knew how many opportunities are out there right this very minute… just waiting for you and your particular personality and skill sets… and how many people are hoping, begging, PRAYING for someone to help them increase their business and make more money… you would finally see…
You really don’t need ANY particular gig!
There are more opportunities and gigs out there than you could handle in an entire LIFETIME. The problem is you just don’t know how to find them. (If you only have a website selling yourself that’s proof positive you’re clueless about how to attract big money clients.)
And attracting clients – instead of pursuing them – is another big secret. If you knew how to do THAT, you would immediately not need ANY particular gig.
And… as counter-intuitive as that sounds, not needing something is exactly how to get it.
I’m starting to sound like that old blind dude from the 70’s Kung Fu series, aren’t I?
Chew on it for a spell. It will all make sense soon enough.
All the best,
P.S. I had some HUGE client-getting and client-attracting breakthroughs after selling my business interests and freelancing for a few years.
I’ve discovered exactly what works, and more importantly what doesn’t work, to attract the best (and highest paying) clients out there.
And I know without a doubt that YOU can do the exact same… and probably even better than I have.
Because I can of mine own self do nothing.