Dealing with Clients: Rumpelstiltskin Returns

Before I go into tales of clients and unreasonable expectations I wanted to throw out some much needed truth about this age-old cautionary tale about “never trust a dwarf that can spin straw into gold.”

I know that in the story, it is Rumpelstiltskin who gets the bad press, but I always thought the father, the king, and sort of the maiden were the jerks.  Rumpelstiltskin has a unique talent for spinning gold that the maiden did not have and gave her the hook up 2 nights for free before he finally tells her he wants her firstborn.  He didn’t have to help her at all.  He could have stayed home and never spun a single piece of gold for her and she would have been dead the first night, amirite?  It’s the father that lied about his daughter that got her into that mess, and the king who tells her if she can’t do it he’ll chop off her head, but poor Rumple takes the fall for wanting something for his efforts.

Look at me spinning all your straw into gold!

Anyway, back to the gist of my post, I’ve mentioned before how in the story the king, instead of rewarding her for the miraculous production of gold out of straw, just locks her in a room with a bigger pile of straw each day.  I related this to the fact that when you are a professional and lend your services to something like Fiverr you absolutely must minimize what you do and limit your client’s expectations on the product because if you go beyond, you’re not going to be rewarded.  I think I’ve probably pointed this out to my housemate a million times by now.

So as I’m writing my $25 fitness article for an established client today, my housemate comes into my office to relate yet another Fiverr cautionary tale to me which I am beginning to lack all sympathy for.  To make my point, you can review her reviews for press releases HERE.  She is a great writer and has a real knack for writing press releases.  She has a Master’s degree, wrote for the same company as I did and is a real kind and gentle spirit.  She should never write a press release for $5.  I’ve told her it is a genuine waste of her talents.

She wrote a $10 press release for a company that sells items with a starting price of $12,500.  I won’t relate the name because we don’t do that in this business, but imagine how cheap you have to be to sell an item with a multiple thousand percent markup and then pay someone $10 to brand your company.  However, that’s not what I’m discussing now.

Today someone went to her who purchased a $5 overnight press release–she’s nuts.  Overnight?  $5?  Nuts, I tell you.  Anyway, the person now wants her to “add just a few words” two weeks later so that they can send it out with more information.  She wrote them a kinder response than I would, gently reminding them that she works for money and stressing how little she made from the earlier release and asked them if they meant for her to do it for free or if they were asking if she had time on her schedule so they could buy a gig.  What do you think this shameless person responded with?

That’s right, they had no problem asking her to write more FOR FREE.

This is exactly what you get when you write for Fiverr or Freelancer.  People who have zero concept of value.  I wrote something similar on my formal blog about people who buy logos for $5, but this applies here too:  A Fiverr customer is someone who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

When someone can pay only $5 for something and think they’re not taking advantage of the talents of another person, they will eventually believe they are doing that person a favor and keep whittling away at your ego and value until you believe you are only worth that $3.80 you get.

I would have told her flat out-NO.  I would have refused working with her in the future.

She’ll probably write it because she’s the type to stay with a guy who threatens to behead her if she can’t spin straw into gold before they even get married.  C’est la Vie.


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