The X-Deal

Scenario:  Your client's budget is low.  Like 'wading in weak flood water' low.
But the product he's selling is great!  Like 'marinating in sweet, bubbling jacuzzi' great!  You'd love to work on this project!  In fact, you did the math in your financially-focused head, and the kind of awesome output you can do for this should amount to a gazillion monetary bonds.

But, alas, that is not the case.

Do you walk away?

Au contraire, you Raketista you.  You don't walk away from a creative mine field.  You grab that mother by the balls (or... father... by the balls... eh?), work your creative magic, and take that product to the jacuzzi-stardom status it so deserves!  It's a mission!

Now before you say "Mission shmission!  Freelancing is a business!", blink your eyes a couple of times, and realize that there is such a thing as *fanfare* an X-Deal.  Now you're giving me that look that says, "Cheapskate!".  Cheapskate Shmeapskate right back at you.  You're only cheap when you don't know how to nego for a fine X-Deal.  You don't just sit there and demand, "Ok, I'll take your flood water money, but I want... that desk calendar, too!".  Duh.  You do research.  You find out what good your client's product can do for you personally.  You peek into what other products your client has.  You check out his partners.  Dig into what other assets he has lying around that may or may not have anything to do with his brand but may have a lot to do with you.

For example, I have cleverly nego'd for the following:
  • A swanky members-only resort club swimming spree during a summer break when vacation money was low
  • Boxes of cookies, snacks, and portable lunches at the start of the school year
  • Crates of cooking oil when Kalakal Kid (my art director hubby) started dabbling in culinary arts
  • Free movie tickets and event passes for the entire family at a time when I couldn't even afford a pair of 3D glasses
  • And more!
When freelancing, it's not just about the money.  It's about being practical and getting to what makes you happy, faster, easier.  Your services being paid in kind isn't a bad thing specially when the timing is right.  A barter trade --as long as you stay shrewd and fair-- can be the most awesome deal you've ever cut.
And, if your client has a great product, he'll be more than glad to give you first dibs.

So don't be ashamed to ask for an X-deal.  Don't be afraid to name what you want.  And be open to a happy compromise.  Hey, it's Raketsville!  Anything's possible.


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