Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm going to talk about negotiating for higher rates of pay, lower word counts, or easier keyword topics.
And you're wrong.
I'm actually talking about negotiating for the services and products you use in order to make your freelance writing income happen in the first place.
You see, I understood fairly early in my freelancing career that if I could keep my living expenses and costs to a minimum, I actually wouldn't need to earn nearly so much to live very comfortably. By this, I mean paying off credit card debt, personal loans, other pointless expenses that don't add to your quality of life. All they do is eat your income every month, so you end up working for the bank instead of for yourself. So I did all that and paid them all off. I have no personal debt (outside of the mortgage), I bought solar panels for the house, grow my own organic vegetables, and cook healthy meals at home. Yay me. I reduced my expenses beautifully, so my income really IS mine to spend - and not everyone else's.
However, I still have a mortgage. I still have to pay for Internet provision. I still need a mobile phone. I still pay insurance premiums. And I still need to put fuel in the car, even if I do work at home 98% of the time.
So I decided on Monday that I was going to conduct a little "experiment". (Actually, the experiment was really for an article I'm researching/writing for an Aussie magazine, but it's still valid here too).
I looked at my costs for the things I need and wondered if there was a way to reduce the amounts I pay, yet still get the same - or even better - products, services or provisions. Then I jumped online and did a quick search for competitor's companies offering the same services, products or provision. I compared the costs with what I'd receive in return. I made lots of notes.
And then I called my own provider, bank, or insurance company and told them what I'd found. I told them that I was thinking about switching to take advantage of those better deals. Here are my results:
- My bank reduced my mortgage interest rate by a further 0.8% off the interest rate I was paying previously. That reduces my mortgage payment each month and reduces the amount of interest I'll pay over the rest of the term. YAY!
- My bank also upgraded my credit card to a Platinum card from a regular credit card - even though I'm one of those annoying customers who pays all bills with it at the beginning of the month, and then pays it all off before any interest can be charged. They make no profit out of me, yet they still upgraded it.
- My mobile phone provider gave me a brand new Samsung Galaxy phone - you know, the cool, new smart-phone with Android operating system, without me having to pay any extra on what I currently pay, rather than see me leave. Woo hoo!
- My mobile phone provider also offered me a new Samsung Galaxy 8" Tablet PC as part of the same "business" package, that is connected to the same data allocation as my mobile phone. Yay :)
- My Internet service provider agreed to upgrade me to super-high speed broadband, with an unlimited data transfer amount, and dropped my access bill by $10 per month at the same time, rather than see me leave. Hee hee!
- My insurance company agreed to offer me a 10% discount off my current premiums because I have my house, car and contents all insured with them. Woo hoo.
So, what's the point of all this?
The point is - the vast majority of freelance writing tips you read around the place are very focused on telling you how to get your income up, how to work harder, how to ruin your wrists and your eyesight by working longer hours and writing more stuff. They focus on ways for you to work into the night trying to establish blogs or other sources of revenue.
I'd rather make it easier for you to spend less money so you don't have to write nearly so much to still enjoy a great lifestyle. It means you get to enjoy writing a little more, but also face much less stress about having to earn so much to cover your bills.
Have fun calling your own service providers with what you find on your own research. I know I did.