Gig economy and why not to say, "It'll only take 5 you minutes!"
I'm updating this for the "state of the world". There has been a rash of bad behaviors inflicted upon me this year (2021) that I will not stand for and have further changed my business model to stop the type of people who are causing the issues. I do understand that people lost their jobs. The month Covid hit, my business stopped for that first six weeks. Too much of a panic and I can't blame anyone for that. This year(2021)...
I have not gone up on my prices in 5 Years. I got hit with several bad clients back to back that hurt my standing with the primary company I get work from to such a degree that I lost my income for six months. Not because of the state of the world but because people are being ugly.
1) didn't want to answer the questions asked from me, the expert. Then blamed me because they didn't get what they wanted. They have been blocked from ever contacting me again.
2) demanded free services that everyone else pays for. No, I don't care that you lost your job. I'm sorry for you and your family but that doesn't constitute me giving my time to you. I don't qualify for unemployment outside of that first six weeks and was very thankful when the government allowed that.
3) if you want to redo your entire document because a third party suggested you change the style to XYZ, you pay for those changes. No, my style isn't unprofessional, you paid for basic formatting, then you changed your mind on what you wanted.
4) I'm sorry you are unhappy with the images you provided for me to do your job. Yes, I'm happy to change them for you as you've requested, YES you will pay me for my time. Yes if you provide unprofessional images, your book will look unprofessional.
5) No I don't care that XYZ designer does this differently, cost less, etc. They don't have 15 years of experience. They decided to do this job because the virus took their job or they've been on lockdown with no other options. They are in a country where the cost of living is $600 to live like a king. I make $2k and I'm near the poverty level. My cost of doing business alone is typically more than $600 a month. Not my cost of living. 6) I just removed the revision option from all of my services on said primary site as people want to fight over what the word means. If none are offered there is no fight. Ask me about what is included in a package if you aren't sure. I think the packages on my site are pretty clear but happy to answer all questions.
Not included in the above: 20% most sites take off the top for filtering jobs to me.
Highest internet package I can have to handle upload and downloads. Utilities.
Doesn't include the $5000 I paid in taxes last year. I added Canva at $120 a year.
The gig economy is: a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. What it really means... I use skills that I have grown over the last xx years (2022 I'm at 15 years) to the advantage of those that can't afford to employ someone like me on a regular basis or can't afford large services. With my primary services being books, I save people hundreds if not thousands of dollars over them purchasing formatting and covers through places such as AuthorHouse (and full vanity publishers in general) and even Amazon before they canceled their Author Services. And, I will fully admit, I normally put more into the job than those services anyway.
Let's face it, if companies employed someone like me regularly I'd make 50k+ a year, have paid vacation time, have insurance, and many more benefits that full-time employment can come with. Been there, done that, and have missing chunks of my kid's life to prove it.
Instead, I take jobs as they come. Instead, I don't have vacation days. Taking time off costs me money. Instead, I'm thankful for the government marketplace, or I wouldn't have insurance and my BP pills are around $500 a month without it.
But I make the rules. I don't work for peanuts. I won't make less than minimum wage, and while no job is too small, I will get paid a minimum fee for that time and EXPERIENCE. If I don't like you, I don't want to work with you. And yes, it's working with you for a final product that you are happy with(and yes sometimes you have to pay extra because where we started is nowhere near where we ended). No, you don't have to listen to my suggestions(unless they are required by a printer) but you will show me the respect that my life's work affords me.
Graphic: One of my favorites that is now saved on my computer because I spent 20 minutes trying to find it because someone said, "It'll take you five minutes, easiest job you'll have today." I turned down the $5 job to correct two images and went back to work on the $200 formatting job.
I stay busy. There are many days that I'm lucky I get a shower. I have to schedule family time.
Trying to make time to do anything outside of my chair and keyboard, even exercise, is sometimes hard. And on those days I'm not busy. I'm climbing the walls waiting for the next job. As I catch up on all the "other" parts of life that get ignored when there is work to do.
So, if you found this article because you used the dreaded, "It'll take you five minutes." or just as bad, "That's too expensive." I'm sorry you feel that way. (truly I am, I'm a work-a-holic). But please find another designer. Might I suggest SE Asia or still-in-school designers.
Below is the cost of living per country across the world. The yellow highlights are my regular competition. If I quoted you $200 they should be able to quote you the dollar amount at the end of their yellow line. Pick the guy in Turkey it should be a $50-$55 service. South Africa $15-$20. Ect... Go get their quote. Then come back and tell me I'm too expensive.