Freelancers are the sort of people who can easily get taken advantage of. Its the nature of being self-employed. You work with an agency and they dont tell you that your project also involves sourcing images or extra formatting. Many freelancers just grin and bear it. After all, they dont want to get fired.
But is there a right way of dealing with a client who piles on extra work?
What about my Contract?
For a start, you need to review your contract. Most freelancers have a nasty habit of only skimming through a contract when they sign it. Is there anything that could potentially put you in a position where you have to do this extra work?
It wont necessarily say you have a duty to source images, but terms like additional services can be interpreted as applying to tasks like this.
I Must Do This
Lets say theres something in your contract that basically says youre responsible for more than the writing. Compare the work with the amount of compensation youre getting and think about whether its fair.
It should be fair. If youre getting a fair deal, the chances are youve wrongly assumed youre doing the writing and nothing more. You havent taken into account the fact you do have other duties.
In the event you dont feel youre getting compensated fairly, ask for further compensation. They may relent or they may not. In the event you find yourself in a situation where you arent getting a fair wage for a fair days work, you should consider looking elsewhere for work. Remember, you can leave the arrangement whenever you like.
Its an Added Extra
Okay, youve looked at your contract and discovered theres nothing that says youre responsible for anything more than the writing. Anything else you do is going the extra mile. For novice freelancers, this is where things get tricky.
Newer freelancers dont have a lot of connections. They dont want to inadvertently lose their jobs because they may not have anywhere else to turn. This isnt as much of a problem for veteran freelancers. They have places to go should they lose a gig. You have to decide what sort of freelancer you want to be known as.
The Reputation of the Freelancer
By doing the added extras for no compensation, you will be known as the freelancer who goes the extra mile for their clients. It sounds good on the face of it, but it effectively translates to freelancer with no backbone who everyone takes advantage of.
Make your contract mean something by sticking to it. This doesnt mean you have to stick to it rigidly, steadfastly refusing to do a favour for anyone. Favours for your clients can get you in their good books, but dont make a habit of it or theyll come to expect it.
You want to be the freelancer thats kind yet refuses to be taken advantage of.
If youre noticing your client is piling work on you and refuses to talk about compensation, youre in a dangerous situation. You either have to accept it and continue to do the extra work unpaid or walk away.
Make the decision to walk away only after every other avenue has been exhausted. Get another gig set up before you go and leave in a professional manner. Its easy to strike at these clients with a foul-mouthed rant, but dont.
Send them a resignation email outlining your reasons as to why you feel you cant work with them any longer. Tell them you appreciate the time spent working with them but its time to move on.
By speaking to them in this way, you preserve your reputation as a business professional. There are thousands of freelancers who have given their old clients the one-fingered salute only to have their reputations sullied through various Internet forums later on.