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3 Tactics To Be A Strong Negotiator In Freelance And Creative Work

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Which would you rather: Have a client you love but who doesn’t pay you enough, or work with clients who aren’t ideal but who regularly pay you on time?


It’s a trick question. You can have both.


Want to know how to do that? You engage in a strong conversation with your client.


So many of us are afraid to talk about money with clients.


We're afraid that this is our one, sole opportunity to find income, and we don't necessarily show up with our sense of value and what we're contributing to the client partnership.


Use these three tips to start honing your money talks.


  1. Look at negotiation as an ongoing conversation. Your first money talk with a client or lead is never do-or-die, yes-or-no. The first time you talk with a client about pay, make it a live, verbal conversation– not a text or email. On the phone or video call, be verbally active in the conversation. Selling is about understanding. This conversation can help you understand the potential clients’ goals and challenges, and whether you can be a solution.

  2. Ask questions. Negotiation isn’t about touting your expertise right away. It’s actually an occasion where you probe for deep, thoughtful questions that both emphasize your understanding of a topic and also get to the root of the client’s desires. Aim to ask more questions than they do. Hold silence instead of filling it.

  3. Be an active listener. The goal in any client relationship is to have a crystal-clear understanding of what a client is actually aiming for. Sometimes, it means not taking what they say at face value. Instead, dig deeper into what it is they truly want, even if they’re not flat-out saying it. The goal is to listen for both what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.


Remember: Through it all, you’re working together– not against each other!


Come from a place of empathy and curiosity; you can sit through the discomfort. And if you need practice or more confidence…


Ready to level-up your negotiation skills? Join us on Sept. 14, 2023 for the Negotiation Tactics Intensive!


In this 2-hour small group session, we'll learn about best practices for negotiation, practice regulating your emotions and body while having potentially difficult conversations with your clients, and do role playing exercises to help practice the discovery call process that all of us do with potential clients to decide whether or not you’ll work together.


You'll get the knowledge, empowerment, practice and tools for implementing negotiation tactics that feel good to your body and your business.


Intensives are for current business owners looking to take their business to the next level by increasing their understanding of business concepts and implementing changes right away. These are a deeper dive than Workshops and allow more time for strategy and implementation.



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