101. You Buy Me Things

So I went to a client today to teach him how to do a webshop in WooCommerce/WordPress, and for a moment I got distracted by the fact that his apartment is so much bigger, nicer and better than ours. Dumb, but true.

It’s there, by the harbor, in one of the new apartment projects that shot up in the City these last decades or so. It’s dirt-expensive. And Big, Nice and Better. Over twice as big as ours, and definitely twice as expensive. And great views.

Anyway, he – my client – T – is currently unemployed. He has an extra insurance, though, that lets him maintain his material possessions, including said apartment, for like 6 months more. And let’s him do nothing else but look for a 37h/week regular job. Those are the rules. Of his insurance company.

The work he does for a small company as a freelancer/independent in order to position himself as such, is therefore strictly Incognito. Although it is quite necessary to improve his skills, his network and so on.

It’s not the worst part. The worst part, I guess, is that when he began talking about how I had to raise my hourly price he was only partly right. My hourly fee is low – probably too low, if we compare to market prices and what is ‘just’. Whatever that is …

Wait – I think I know what ‘just’ is. It is something called entitlement.

It is a feeling that because we live in our rich country and had a long education we are entitled to an 8K dollar salary per month. For starters.

(Unlike the civil engineer from Latvia who has migrated over here and has six newspaper routes each night, so he can send money back to his family, and who can’t get a job in his own country.)

But I digress, because that’s not even the worst part.

The worst part is that this guy – T – my client in this case – he has a lifestyle that he feels is natural and normal and he can’t imagine living without it. So that automatically influences his choice of clients. He wants only people who can pay 5 times as much as my clients. He gets them, but very few. “Not enough” he said.

Not enough for what? For maintaining your current lifestyle? I guess so …

And I think that is the worst – not the rules of his insurance that constrain him. Not his sense of entitlement, which to some degree is healthy. (We should aim higher – always.)

No, those two are not the worst constraints.

The worst is that it’s difficult for him to imagine living with less, just for a while, which would give him more flexibility, just for a while, in terms of working publicy as part of that marketing company.

In terms of being his own. Working on his own.

Having more incentive to work harder to get more clients, because you are free of the insurance system, for better and worse: No rules, but no steady cheque either.

And I know just why this is so bad, and why his apartment doesn’t matter.

It is bad, because until a few months ago I was just like him. Except that my expenses and my apartment were smaller and I was not satisfied with the latter.

I am still not satisfied with the size of our apartment, especially with Jay coming along, but I can appreciate the advantages more now.

I’ll experiment with my prices and some things I won’t do, some things I will. Other things I will regret doing for that price, and still other things I would like to repeat – like my historical talks: 350 bucks for 2 hours of enjoyable work – let me have more of that!

But aside from food and shelter for ourselves and our son, I bloody won’t be constrained by having to chase a certain kind of client with a certain size of wallet, not because I’m more interested in them or a better match with my skills.

But because they are able to pay my rent for an apartment with three extra rooms I don’t use.