|Sad, but true. Of course, as with most things, we do have control over how we react to those types of issues. Over the past decade or so, instead of going along with companies lowering their fees, I decided to raise mine instead, and have succeeded at doing so. That mostly involved being selective about who I worked for (turning down lots of work) and searching out some new clients. In recent years, it's meant I've worked less, but my profit margin is higher on the work I that I do accept, and I now consider myself somewhat semi-retired, so that works well for me. If I wanted to work more, I'd again put effort into marketing. |
During the slowdown that came after the mortgage meltdown in 2007, I went along to a limited extent with lowering fees. I worked long hours and ran myself ragged. My gross income went up, of course, but when I took a hard look at the numbers, I concluded that my net income didn't grow proportionately and didn't merit the stress and lack of time for anything else. So I went back to my previous fees and have raised them above that level since.
Way back when, I think it was Marian Harmon who did a great post with examples that clearly illustrated the importance of profit margin when setting fees, which I wish I could find. (Maybe I'll recap some of it myself one of these days.) As Steve points out, a great number of people over the years have concluded that it's just not worth it to work for the very low fees that some hiring parties are willing to pay, and they've moved on to other more profitable activities.
Bottom line is that we always have a choice. We don't need to simply accept the insulting fees that some hiring parties offer. If someone needs or wants more income, they can work very hard at marketing their services (which might bring results even in this very difficult market), plus there are still other options out there. If they're interested in doing charity work, I'm sure they can find much more worthwhile recipients.