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Freelancer vs vs AirTasker; Undercutting madness good for nobody says Media Man agency, by Greg Tingle

It's been described as a 'Race to the bottom', and rest assured, the Dutch auction that has sometimes become almost the norm in the online bidding for projects is generally not a good thing.

As the director and founder of the Media Man agency, I for one can categorically state that we won't be getting caught up in the bidding for work craziness. Yes, we will continue to bid for work projects, however it certainly won't be on a price only nature. The moment you discount a product or service, you are effectively discounting its worth or merit. In fact, sometimes I've actually told clients that we are charging extra, because we are doing a quality job, and are much better than average.

A well known and highly respected Australian advertising agency recently let a big contract client leave because frankly the client was not worth having anymore. The agency would have lost money to keep the account.

We have all heard the expression 'The customer you don't want'... well, that is as prevalent as ever.

For the record, we love customers and happy clients, however a business to business relationship - agency to client, is about a Win - Win... not a scenario where one wins, and the other does not.

Since we are penning this number of the topic of business, clients, bidding for work and the like, I thought we would take the opportunity to thank a few of our clients from over the years, as they helped us build a sustainable business: Messages On Hold, Digital Entertainment, Virgin Games, Marvel, Crown Resorts, Netflix, WWE, UFC, Max Exposure, Future Trends Group, Human Statue Bodyart, Webjet, Hilton Hotels, MGM Resorts, Australian Stunt Academy, and that's enough on that front for now.

Back on the subject at hand, people and businesses that do a good job deserved to be rewarded well.

I'm writing this here in Sydney, Australia. Now, we know the cost of living in Sydney right? The powers that be say that Sydney is the second most expensive city in the world. Sydney is also one of the most competitive business environments in the world I would say. Sydney has some of the most talented and capable workers and professionals et al. There's an over abundance of media and advertising professionals out there, in part because many of them lost their positions at either News Limited, Fairfax Media and the ABC, and a few more will likely be following suit from the likes of Network Ten. In short, there's an over supply of strong talent.

A perfect storm

The internet - a global medium

Social media - everyone is their own best self promoter and broadcaster. Hello Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Globalization - projects can be quoted on globally. i.e. list it on the internet, and see who will do it for the least cost

Casualisation of the workforce - lack of job stability and more people looking for work

A fair days pay for a fair days work

Depending upon your age, you have heard of that expression. Most people want to be paid for a job well done.

What's the opposite of that? Poor rates of pay.

Question: What do monkey's eat? Answer: Banana's. Anyone fancy some peanuts perhaps?

Over the past few years dozens of people I know have been telling me of their dissatisfaction in the overall decline in working conditions and pay in a number of business sectors. Many of them in media, advertising and entertainment, but also in tech, construction and others. I thought it was timely that I wrote something on the subject to, following suit of mainstream newspapers publications such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian. By the way, if you didn't know it already, basically all of those newspapers have shred stuff also as a cost cutting measure. That was in part due to their declining profit margins, as advertisers have you might say millions of choices as to where to advertise these days, rather than just a few local and state wide newspapers for instance.

What's the solution?

Whether you are an employee or a business owner, you can make a stance by not working for less that you are worth. Set your rate, and stick by it. Or, put forward your rate of pay, and only negotiate with a client if it suits you to. Remember, the buck stops with you. Oh, did I mention that I'm not a big fan of outsourcing, to say the least. Refuse to do business with firms who do not communicate effectily, or in an easy to understand fashion.

Cheap staff can equal cheap performance and poor service

Ever been to a shop where the service is really poor? This may just be because the owner / s pay very poorly, thus they only attract below par staff. Maybe the staff are not paid enough to care. Ok, you want names - I hear you. You must have heard of the 7 - Eleven pay scandal that was massive news in Australia. The staff were being underpaid, and the company exploited them. Was I the only one who ever experienced staff at some of these convenience stores whose English and communication skills were should we just say well below average. Again, poor pay equates to poor service and poor end result, in more cases than not.

Work / Life balance

Regardless of whether you believe you are being paid fairly or not, always remember to stop to smell the roses and take some time out. This also has heath and wellbeing benefits, and will help ensuring that you don't get burnt out. It might be a swim, a surf, a walk, or just catching up with friends and family. Work fatigue is also not good for performance, and can also be dangerous both for yourself and also for your co-workers and associates.


Good deal

Look after your clients, your brands, your employees - if you have any. My experience has proven to myself that there will always be others who appreciate a job well done, and who don't mind paying a fair rate, or even a bit more than usual to get an outstanding job. Cheap and nasty is not the way to go. There's lots of net nasties on the web, and they can also infect your computers. Go for quality over price - unless your budget is Zero - yes, there's people that will also work for nothing in this complex world, so side step that sector. If you want to be a volunteer and work for free, great, and enjoy the work and make a difference, but there can sometimes be a fine line between volunteering and exploitation. Win - Wins are the way to go. A win for your client or firm, and a win for the person who is paying you for a job well done.

And again, thank you to our many satisfied and loyal clients and associates.


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