Why are You Taking that Freelance Job?

Before you say yes to a freelance job, consider the WHY behind your acceptance.

Not too long ago, I was offered gig. I quoted my price, and the blog owner came back with a counter-offer that was less than half my rate. I countered his counter in a way that split the difference. He accepted the new rate, and mentioned that if things go well, we can talk about raising the rate to something even closer to my requested rate in a couple of months.

Sometimes, I sign on to a job like that, and show flexibility in my rates, because it makes sense for me at the time. If it’s not working out after a couple of months, we can go our separate ways, and no harm is done.

But why would I take on more work at a time when I’m feeling a little frustrated and battling burn out?

Sadly, the answer is very straightforward: CASH FLOW.

Sometimes You Just Need (or Want) the Money

Summer is coming on, and I know that I will be doing a little more in terms of travel and having fun. My cash flow is very irregular during the summer. Many clients cut back. I might adjust my workload to accommodate travel.

This gig’s trial period will provide some extra cash during the time we need it most to smooth my finances. Do I need the money? No. But I like the idea of having something somewhat stable to make up for the irregularity that sometimes comes during the summer.

So I took the freelance job, even though it’s not strictly what I want to be doing right now. I just want the money to shore things up a bit.

What Makes You Take on a Freelance Job?

It makes sense to consider your motives when accepting a freelance job. Think about the why behind your decision. Some of the reasons to accept a gig include:


This is the big one. When you need the money, it’s hard to say no. If you really need the money, it’s especially hard to say no. In the beginning of my freelance career, I took on a number of jobs because the bills had to be paid. I don’t have to do that any more, but money still plays a role in which jobs I choose to accept, especially when it comes to timing.

Sometimes the work was painfully boring. Today, the types of articles that make up most of my income remain boring. But it’s the basis of my ongoing income, so I suck it up. I do other, more interesting things, to make up for the boredom.

Beef Up Your Credentials

Another reason to take a freelance job is to beef up your credentials in a certain area. A few months ago, I accepted a gig for a little lower pay than normal because the blog focuses on a subject that I want to get more involved with. If you are interested in beefing up your credentials, and getting “out there” a little more, it can make sense to accept a gig.

After getting a few bylines under my belt, my next client in that niche paid significantly more. When you have a niche, you can potentially charge more, so getting that cred can make sense, even if you accept a little less for a few months.

It’s Interesting

Perhaps the job seems interesting to you. If that’s the case, money might not be as big a deal. It can make sense to work on something you find worthwhile and fascinating.

A few years back, I was offered a chance to work on an interesting project for a nonprofit. It didn’t pay super-well, but it was in an area I’m passionate about. The project lasted six months and I loved it.

You Like Who You’re Working With

Sometimes, it’s all about who you’re working with. If you want to work with someone specific, and the opportunity arises, you can consider the trade-offs. A few of my long-term clients are people I’ve been working with for years—and I like them a lot. I don’t raise my rates on them as quickly. They often offer me bonuses to make up for the fact that they know I’m charging them less.

A good relationship can be worth more than cold hard cash.

It’s Easy

At times, I take on a job because I know it will be easy. If I’m working with an editor who already knows me and I know I can work with, I’ll do the work. It might be boring. It might pay a little less. But if it’s easy, and I can bang something out in less than an hour, I’ll take it.

When I know there won’t be revision requests, or onerous fact-checking requirements, that’s worth A LOT. Working with a business or finance editor is preferable because they won’t have me source basic information like “stock represents ownership in a company.” Nope, the fact-checking is easy and in line with journalistic standards and they won’t hound me for stupid changes. That’s easy. And I’ll work on the most boring thing ever to make easy money.

Bottom Line

Think about your motivations. When you get right down it, there’s a good chance that the reason for accepting a freelance job just aren’t compelling enough to go through with it. Often, the first impulse is to say yes — no matter what.

Take a step back. Think about your goals and motivations. Don’t forget to consider your future goals and plan for your freelance business. Sometimes, taking something for a small amount of money isn’t worth the hassle. A project that takes too much of your energy and focus away from high-value tasks could be terrible idea for your long-term prospects.

Don’t settle for any old freelance gig because “it’s something.”

0 thoughts on “Why are You Taking that Freelance Job?”

  1. Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce

    We’re in the same position of having an unreliable cash flow in summers. Your rate flexibility seems like a good call.

  2. Anton Ivanov | Dreams Cash True

    Good food for thought. What do you think about accepting freelance jobs to get backlinks back to your main website? It would be a way to both get paid and increase your primary website’s rank.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      I think that can be a good way to build your site. Many of my clients include author bios with links to this blog. Additionally, I like to include my G+ profile. If Google Authorship takes off, that might be more valuable than links to my blog. But I don’t often provide content just for the link — I usually require payment for the content.

      1. Anton Ivanov | Dreams Cash True

        I have been reading a lot about the prospects of Google+ authorship as well and you’re right – it may hold more weight in the future than actual links to your website.

        To me it just seems that you are killing two birds with one stone – you get backlinks and you get paid as well.

        1. Miranda Marquit

          As long as the pay is involved, too 🙂 But yeah, there are normally links to other things I’ve written in many of the posts I write, and in bio links to my site.

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