Whether you are looking to break into remote work, wish to travel the world as a digital nomad, or currently working as a freelancer – negotiating your compensation is the most important, and difficult aspect of becoming your own boss.
Most traditional workplaces come with a preset expected range of wages based on what can be a combination of subjective metrics; including the dreaded ‘experience’ measure which is used to pay talented workers less than what they deserve.
The emerging digital markets are slightly different, while some employers who rely on remote workers carry over some of the frustrating wage practices from traditional workplaces, many are willing to compensate those they work with based on what they bring to the table, rather than undercut them wherever possible.
The millennial generation is strongly entrenched as consumers, clients, and employers in the digital age, meaning the state of business is shifting.
Younger generations are far more invested in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and working with individuals who hold ethics as a major point of emphasis within their business practices.
This dynamic shift has led to more open-ended negotiations regarding employee and freelancer compensation. However, it remains important for remote workers to understand how important negotiating their fees is within the current environment.
The following guide will provide digital nomads, freelancers, and remote workers all the tips they will need in order to successfully negotiate a fair and living wage for the work they will provide for their various clients.
Understand Your Living Situation
Prior to beginning a negotiation; preferably before deciding to begin working as a freelancer, workers should take into account their living situation. It costs more to live in a big city than doing so in smaller areas.
If you are brand new to remote work; you will have to account for a learning curve related to learning the various software, beginning to make money in a new field, and building yourself a following on various platforms.
These issues can be reduced based on your current skill set. For example, if you are a polished writer who is just beginning to dive into the freelance and remote work digital sphere, your transition will not be as stressful as others. However, you will still need to consider a few factors prior to becoming a full-time freelancer.
If you live in an expensive area it is prudent to begin the journey as a remote worker while working your traditional job.
This will allow you to gauge how much you can expect to earn in the early months of being a full-time remote worker. While this may seem time-consuming, the results can be quite telling. If you are regularly gaining clients as a part-time freelancer, your income will only increase as you transition into a full-time remote worker.
Those living in areas with more affordable housing and living expenses will not have to worry as much, but they should follow the same process to make the process as seamless as possible.
Negotiating Your Wage
The same advice when considering the appropriate way to negotiate during conference calls is applicable to this situation as well, “When negotiating you should always begin with the best deal you feel could possibly be accepted, if your client attempts to haggle it allows you space between what you feel would be ‘fair’ and your initial high offer.”
In most circumstances, freelancers will negotiate their compensation through either conference or chat applications. Remote work opportunities allow for workers to negotiate wages in a less stressful environment.
By beginning with your ideal rate; which should be based on a combination of what you need for your living arrangements and the work you will produce for a client, you will have the flexibility to cater your clients to your preferred work schedule.
Initial negotiations are important, most freelance work will free you from being relegated to an hourly pay structure. Digitally based companies who require remote workers for sustainability are far more willing to use this model as it is mutually beneficial to everyone involved.
Your goal should be to make a living wage without having to work over forty hours a week once you are a full-time remote worker. Keeping those metrics in mind will help you structure compensation requests in a manner which allows for long-term clients, and a comfortable living situation.
How My Remote Experience Can Help You
“Being able to work in a remote environment as a journalist gave me the time allotment and opportunity to work on several screenplays and novel.
Over the past several years I dedicated time to working on the projects, but prior to becoming a remote worker, I didn’t have the necessary time to truly dive into either,” my personal experience shows the importance of effectively negotiating a living compensation for yourself in the remote work sphere.
If you have larger goals; such as owning your own business, your work as a freelancer becomes a way to leverage your skills without wasting away under the thumb of a terrible working environment.
That’s why it is necessary for you to be confident and come prepared to wage negotiations. The process is often without stress, especially if the time is taken to map out the acceptable wages for each client.
While not every client in the digital sphere is a pleasure to work with, you will be able to develop long-term relationships and build your business and lifestyle on your own terms.
If you are able to stick to your numbers, the negotiating process will be fairly straightforward. When starting out, you may need to except slightly lower compensation than what you deem fair, but that should not be a long-term trend once you have a few clients.
If you continue work at a traditional job while breaking into the remote work sphere, you’ll never ‘need’ to accept below what you feel is fair compensation for your work.
I hope these tips helped you understand the importance of negotiating your compensation as a remote work freelancer.