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About Mates’ Rates, Freelancing, and Appreciation

Mates’ Rates and appreciation — the fine line in between

Recently, I have been dealing more and more with the topic of “Mates’ Rates and Appreciation”. I work as a model, photographer, blogger, nutritionist, and sustainability manager, have a Master of Science degree in Business Administration focused on marketing and personnel management, and have my own start-up called “Dein Kakao”. All areas in which I primarily make money with myself and my knowledge. I have no horrendous fixed costs and I work independently as a freelancer. And, again and again, I somehow get into trouble with the value of my work dealing with friends and especially acquaintances.

A couple of days ago, this feeling got triggered by me talking to a friend about the small, sustainable music festival I organize with friends. He asked me why he never got a free ticket to get there. And it spluttered out of me that true friends who want to countenance you would never ask for a free ticket but would rather pay more to really support you. For sure, both of us were surprised by my answer. Let us think about this.

Freelancing — between freedom and self-employment

I love my different jobs. In fact, I have to admit that I’ve made my passions and vocations my jobs. All jobs deal with topics of holistic health, nutrition, and sustainability and are somehow creative.
Everyone who is self-employed knows that you can only earn money when you “work”. No work, no money. You don’t get paid for going on vacation. Being on vacation means “earning zero money”. Plus, you can’t really plan your next month because so many spontaneous bookings can occur. But that’s freelancing and means a lot of freedom in being able to choose where, how much and with whom you want to work. This can be both a blessing and a curse.

The problem, however, is that I often have the feeling and also get the impression that the appreciation for my freelance work is lacking, especially with people who I know. And that’s a very interesting observation.

Working as a freelancer can be both a boon and bane - especially when dealing with mates' rates.

Acquaintances vs. Friends

I noticed that friends, in particular, are not demanding any friend discount. Friends tend to forego Mates’ rates because they want to appreciate you and your work. They want to support you in what you do. Because they engage you, not because you would make it cheaper for them, but because you do your work well. And, this is exactly the difference for me from acquaintances or maybe also egoistic friends: They demand Mates’ rates and subliminally “insist” on receiving them. As strange as it sounds.

To me, it is always amusing when I receive a request from an acquaintance who asks for a “friend discount”. The most interesting thing is that they are usually not a friend or mate at all. By definition, one should have to be a friend for getting “friend discounts”.

In fact, I’ve noticed many times that I have a different definition of “friendship” than many other people have. My friends are like siblings to me. I would get in the car for them in the middle of the night and drive to the other end of the world. True friends make your life better. Acquaintances usually tend to only contact you, if they need something from you — see my example of wanting a free festival ticket. They wouldn’t even come up with the idea, conversely, of providing Mates’ rates to me.

It’s all about appreciation. Of yourself, of your time and work

For example, I took photos of “friends” and their work to support their startup. Because I wanted to support them and their idea. I didn’t ask for anything as reward. Converted, I could have billed this job with about €600. I didn’t do it because they are my friends and I wanted to support them. At the next meeting with them, however, I had to pay my oat-milk cappuccino for €5. I was not even invited for a drink. This shocked me quite a lot but helped me to see that this “friendship” had lacked balance for a long time.

Something like this happens again and again — be it in “Can you please share this in your Instagram story?” or “Can you take a picture of it quickly?” or “Could you model for us for free?” Sure, I could, but do I really *want* that, too? Especially when there is no appreciation for it at all? Not even a sincere “thank you” — which sometimes is everything I would like to receive for my work?

Let’s just start with the exemplary sum of €600 or a day of vacation. Who would voluntarily give €600 or a day of vacation to a friend who can’t even invite you for coffee? But that is exactly what self-employed are constantly claimed to do. People tend to think, you are self-employed to have time to spend it on friends. Yes, that may be, but I’m also a big fan of organizing my time and deciding for myself what I use it for. Very few would think of asking an employee for a day off, a full day of unpaid work, to do the same.

What is the value of my work?

That’s exactly what every freelancer should ask him-/ or herself. Then, you can ask yourself, if you want to give a discount. Not because you are asked for it, but because you want to give a discount. And that’s not “unfriendly” at all, it’s quite the contrary.

It’s a kind of appreciation of your work, your time, your skills, and your effort. This appreciation can be a heartfelt and honest “thank you”, too. It does not have to mean an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Real friends want to grow together and support each other, and if this is not mutual, maybe it’s not a real friendship or you have a different perception of what it means to help each other. Mates’ rates should be set by the giver, not by the receiver. What do you think?

More topics dealing with holistic health in terms of “mindset” can be found in its category.
xxx Rosa

Some thoughts on mates' rates, working as a creative freelancer, and appreciation - drawing the line can help you deal with these topics a lot. #mindset #matesrates #freelancing #freelancer #appreciation #discount

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