For Creative Talents and freelancers, this is the question that keeps popping up: should I lower my rates now? The truth is, like so many things: it’s complicated. But we’re here to give you a little bit of direction on how you can go about it. 

Being flexible is not an indicator of your worth — it’s a sign that you are going along with the market demands, and being flexible is key to this. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Yes, it may not be the rate you were targeting, but you have to make the best decision with what is in front of you now. Take the opportunity. Move forward. You have to be able to pay for your life today in order to be around for tomorrow.

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Being employed during this pandemic is a good story. Your narrative matters. It’s a much more compelling story to say that you were employed during the pandemic. Your narrative matters. If there’s an opportunity that you’re a fit for, despite the compensation being less than you’re usually paid, then you need to definitely move forward.

Sometimes it’s as much about the opportunity as it is about the money. You don’t know what the opportunity might become. If you do a great job once you’re in, you may be able to grow your role and move up internally. It’s smart to start creative buzz for yourself in the marketplace, not on LinkedIn.

If you’re on the wrong side of the benefits game, it can break you. In an unsure market, the best you can do is to have the benefit of corporate benefits on your side. Full-time work is where it’s at if you get the opportunity. In these unstable times, gaining a semblance of stability is king and queen.

Where the work will be is changing. You HAVE to be ready for the next chapter. As you might suspect, the creative work landscape will not look like it did pre-COVID-19. The BIG question: where do we end up when this is all said and done? People are learning how to broadcast and produce work off-site utilizing digital production tools in a way that is cheaper and more efficient. The money will be reallocated in the next normal, and everyone needs to strategically reposition themselves to be as competitive as possible for when the market opens back up. That means upscaling yourself to keep up with the times. 

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Opportunity vs pricing is an oft-discussed topic. Are you willing to pad your resume with a job by a reputable client, but at a lower rate than you’d like? If you want to build up your portfolio, it may be worthwhile to take the role and be flexible with the rate. Building bridges with a company that you’d love to be connected with has value beyond monetary gains. 

Choosing a long term job or a short term job matters. If the job is only three weeks long, the rate matters less. For shorter-term project work, it’s a lot easier to have flexibility, and no one in the future will know that you took a lower rate. For longer-term assignments, however, setting expectations is much more significant. Our advice is to not take a long-term engagement at a lower rate if you can help it, because full-time opportunities are a different story altogether.

Yes, this is going to be a challenging time for freelancers and Creatives, but we truly believe that when we finally come out the other side that we will come out better for it.

If you’re looking out to start on your freelancer journey, why not check out Rtist? We have one of the biggest creative talent communities in Malaysia that matches you with your clients. Check us out now!