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Regarding Recent Inquiries About Freelancer Pay

Monday August 19, 2019

Some INTJ readers have written me to express a concern that they receive ridiculously low pay for work performed, working as new freelancers or new business owners. They feel desperate to find a way to get better pay.

First: Please stay with this issue. Don’t avoid it. Talk about it with friends, advisors, whoever. Don’t let it just sit there and make you feel frustrated inside. Get the words out, get the feelings out, and eventually you can start a simple list of ideas for moving forward. But whatever you do, don’t bottle it up inside—get help.

Improvement in this area usually involves:

  • Setting professional boundaries with clients
  • Avoiding the inner-emotional buildup to an over-emotional response
  • Understanding that you are the one who gets to decide who and what you work for
  • Finding ways to be patient while you learn the skills needed to increase your pay (often these are soft skills, not e.g. how to write code faster)
  • Taking care of your health while navigating a stressful situation
  • Learning what you really need out of life, vs. what your various inner voices tell you that you need
  • Adaptive strategies, for example learning how to handle large payments that come in all at once

I have coached a number of business owners through this process, and one potentially-encouraging piece of advice is that there are a million ways to survive even the lowest pay, so hang in there. You have to trust & remember that with your systems-improvement view, you will eventually be able to overcome this issue. But first, you’ve got to stay with it, track it, and wrestle with it directly as needed.

(By the way, some people have the opposite problem: Imagine you are a wealthy, healthy, 50-year-old INTJ. You feel you are on top of everything in your life, but still somehow you struggle to sleep, feel frustrated with life, never seem to get what you want out of relationships and wonder why the problems you face are so elusive. You have everything—shouldn’t life be great? The people around you never seem to care that you have so much money, or that you did such an amazing job with your career. Instead, everything feels somehow sad. Still, you are proud to tell people you have no regrets…or do you?)

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