Don’t Shoot the Messenger – Or, how Freelancers Can Get Paid More

The other day, during a conversation with’s Philippine Country Manager, Jorge Azurin, he articulated a very interesting insight regarding online freelancing marketplaces like 

Don’t shoot the messenger.

I’ve heard a lot of my freelancer friends say that any serious freelancer should avoid jobs from these freelancing marketplaces like the plague. When I asked why, they said that employers who go to these sites are not concerned with quality. Instead, they’re only after getting the most amount of work done at the least price possible.

It can seem that there is a constant drumbeat in the world for lower prices, and it is easy to hear only that loud drum,” says Hunt Big Sales consultant Tom Searcy. “But you can use your own choices to learn a lot about premiums and preferences to develop new offerings for your customers.”

He adds: “Whatever the product: Some customers are clearly willing to pay much more for what are arguably incremental differences in product, service and experience.”

So how do you raise your prices? Tom gives three rules, which I’ve posted below:

Ask. When considering premium-priced offers, talk to your customers who are on the higher end of your value spectrum. Those are the people who have already demonstrated a willingness to consider components of value beyond price.

Test. Market testing is a science for very big companies, but for your company it may be just as simple as trying something and seeing what the reaction is.

Measure. Always compare past performance to new performance to see if there has been an impact on volume, margin, satisfaction, and acceptance.

Going back to the issue of freelancing marketplaces like – while there is a surplus of people willing to sell themselves dirt-cheap for their services on these platforms, you don’t have to go that route. Show how valuable you are, price yourself accordingly – and explain, explain, explain if you must.

Some of the successful ones on the site managed to raise their prices by gathering testimonials from other employers. Of course, they made the sacrifice of pricing themselves lower than they were actually worth until they received a substantial number of recommendations and a high rating. While this is an option, you can also ask an employer you met outside the site to hire you through the platform and give you a testimonial after the job is done. This way, you have the best of both worlds: you can command high prices on the platform, as well as for clients you meet outside the site.

Will you burn the mall because the customers who go in ask for a discount? No. The same goes for and online jobs marketplaces. The platform is merely that – a place where employers and freelancers meet. It’s people who ultimately dictate how the game will be played. So know your value, dictate your price, and utilize the features of the platform to your advantage (such as the security of payment the website provides, among other things.)

By Evan Tan

Evan Tan is a writer & communications professional based in Manila, Philippines.

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