….or rather, the lack of it. Had one enquiry about web design this last week, on Monday, wanting to know my prices. So I told her and haven’t heard anything since. She’s undoubtedly gone off to find somebody cheaper.
It’s difficult knowing what prices to charge. An elderly astrologer whose judgement I respect once told me off for not pricing my astrology services professionally and drummed it into me that that I should never undervalue my skills. Web design or astrology, it makes no difference – I’ve spent years learning my crafts, so I should ask a proper price for them. However, there are always people out there undercutting you. A lot of them are rank amateurs who will deliver to the low standard that they’re paid for, but how is the enquiring customer supposed to know that? All she sees is the price being asked.

I’ve been actively looking for work. I’ve signed up to a couple of online freelancing agencies for web design, writing, design and proofreading work. But looking through the listings is a depressing experience. The jobs being offered are either morally repugnant – spamming blogs and forums with ads, writing fake dating ads – or woefully underpaid – €100 or less is being offered for producing complete websites. As for writing, $1/€1 per 500 words seem to be the norm for writing projects; one outrageous (to me) listing is asking for a ghostwriter to produce a series of 24,000-word childrens’ stories for just $150 each, with no credit or copyright. Would you be terribly surprised to learn that at least six people are currently bidding for this job, some for less than the asking price? That’s capitalism at work – whatever lousy wages you’re offering, you’re going to find somebody desperate enough to take the job. Especially these days.

Me – I’m trying to hold the line and do my bit to keep up pay standards. But it’s not that easy.