I've had a few tough decisions to make in my freelance writing career lately. One of them was to threaten a client who hadn't paid a pile of invoices (some were from March). That was rough. I have an almost two year relationship with them but enough was enough. I had to make the move to protect myself and my team. It's still being resolved but my actions probably worked and I'm looking forward to closing this stressful chapter in my life and writing career.
Today I had to make another tough decision that some might have made differently but I'm feeling like I made the right choice and demonstrated a high level of integrity. It's nice that I have clients that place their trust in me. I have many clients who have given me as much inside knowledge as they'd give their own staff. Many consider me a virtual employee despite my freelance status. I take that trust very seriously.
One SEO company that I work for who is my third largest client provides services to many clients and uses me for all the article writing. This isn't my best paying client. Actually the rate I'm making now on new business is about double but this client has volume, they have a solid reputation with paying me on time and make a great fit for me. Last week one of their clients contacted me directly.
Their client found out I was their writer and liked my work so thought to call me direct in order to buy more content. I don't have a non-compete contract with my client but I do have respect for my relationship with my client. I told the end user that I needed permission from my client to do business direct.
The end user said they appreciated my integrity and would wait. It took my client almost a week to give me a call so we could talk about it. They gave me the direction that could make my own decisions about it but explained that this continues to be an existing client of theirs. My immediate reaction without hesitation was to e-mail the inquiring end user and direct them to their rep at the company to order more services and to tell him that I would only perform services for them that they couldn't receive through my client, the SEO company. I did this despite the fact that my going rate is twice the rate I'm paid for the SEO company and the end user already agreed to those prices.
The end user isn't happy because he knows he'll pay a big markup by dealing with them and will get the same services through me for less. So, he'd pay less, I'd earn more but if I did go through with it, it could've seriously impacted my reputation and status as a valued team member. He'll probably find himself another freelance writer to deal with instead of contacting my client for more work as pricing seems to be an issue.
I have no remorse about my decision and despite the lean times at the moment don't regret that I won't make that extra money because long term this will probably pay me back multi-fold. Do you think I did the right thing?