Wanting More: Greedy or Smart?

For freelancers who just landed their first client, it may seem like a lifetime away: making enough money so you can comfortably pay your bills and still have some left to spend on the fun things in life. But once you’re there, what’s next? Do you stay at that level because it allows for a very good work-life balance? Do you strive for more? And if you do, are you just being greedy? In my opinion, to a certain extent, it’s actually a smart thing to do. 

Freelance Life Can Change Overnight

It’s a cliché and that’s because it’s true: freelance life can change overnight. Especially when you have regular, long-term clients, your income can seem as stable as an employee’s salary. It may give a false sense of security. However, things may change quickly.

Last week, I found out that a client wants to lower their budget for next year, as well as pay an hourly rate instead of a fixed price. If you’ve read my pricing strategies article, you know that’s just not the way I charge for the type of work I do. Worse, with the lower budget, they still want to have the same amount of work done. I made them a counter offer, but when they insisted on their new terms, I decided that unfortunately, I had to let them go. Bye, bye €700 per month.

However, later that same day I received an email from another client and let’s just say ‘that escalated quickly’. I wasn’t happy with their work-style for a while already, but now it became very unprofessional. Quickly it came to the point where I decided to no longer work with them. Over the course of 48 hours, I lost over €1000 in regular, monthly income. Ouch!

Did that stress me out? Of course it did. It’s a lot of money and especially because I made some ambitious saving plans for which I was counting on that money, it was a bitter pill to swallow. But am I worried that I won’t be able to pay my bills anymore? No, because once I reached the level where I had enough money each month, I kept going. For my own peace of mind I wanted to get to the point where even when my two biggest clients would drop out, I can still pay my rent. Obviously, it sucks that now I’m losing out on such an amount of money, but it’s not getting me in trouble. These weren’t my biggest clients either, so it could have been much worse. However, starting Monday, I’m going in full client-acquisition mode. I’ll make up for lost clients soon enough.

But just imagine what would have happened if I had stopped looking for more work once I was making enough each month. I would have had some serious problems right now.

So, is it greedy to keep on working more after you’re making enough? No. As a freelancer, you have to think ahead and prepare for some worst-case scenarios. It will make life a lot more stress-free.

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