Work with a recent client has highlighted once again the importance of knowing how to negotiate a contract that offers a win-win situation for both of you. There are three things you always want to remember.
Ghost Writing Contract Negotiating Secret #1 – “Recognize that negotiating is an opportunity for two parties to get what they want.” Anonymous.
Ghost Writing Contract Negotiating Secret #2 – “The one thing that really strengthens your position is the ability to walk away from the deal.” Anonymous.
Ghost Writing Contract Negotiating Secret #3 – “Do not get emotionally attached to the prospect… Understand and use ‘walk away’ power.” Dave Ramsey.
As with all things, there are risks involved with applying these three secrets. There is the risk that a contract you really want will fall through. To reduce the chances of this happening, you need to know exactly where your break-even point is. Only you can decide where that is.
Establishing your personal ghost writing break-even point.
The first step to having the ability to walk away from a deal is knowing how to establish your boundaries. At what point does it cease to make sense to take on a job? You experience level will play a role in deciding this.
When you are first starting out, taking on a job or two that will only earn minimum wage when you are through is one of the smartest investments you can make. As long as you do a fantastic job, you start building a portfolio that makes you worth something. For a new ghostwriter, examples of your work are everything.
As you begin establishing your credibility, you can start asking for more for your services. You should begin to see demand for your work increasing. If this isn’t happening, your break-even point–the least you are willing to earn per hour–may have to stay lower than you would like it to be. In this field, it is better to be busy than to wait for the “big job” that will pay all the bills. Never forget that every project you work on, adds to your credibility as master of your craft.
Working out flexible options.
You may prefer to have a ghost writing contract that stipulates that you will do the job for a set amount, say $2,000. Your client feels this is too much. One way to appear more flexible is to agree to do the job “on the clock” for an hourly rate. You agree that $2,000 is your ceiling whether you spend more hours or not. If you spend less time than you expected, then you charge less than $2,000.
When you do go over the allotted hours, which you probably will, you bill for the actual hours. Then you issue a credit for the extra hours on your final billing, so your client realizes that your original contract agreement was fair. If you do any follow-up work with the same client, you may find negotiations much easier the next time.