When you’re independent, sooner or later, somebody’s gonna want you to work on the weekend or on a holiday.
Or, they may say something like, “Is there any way we could get into your calendar earlier, or get this done faster?”
Here’s how I handle that: any money I make on weekends or holidays goes directly to my wife as purely discretionary income.
This has an interesting effect on negotiations: it takes away all of my emotions from the negotiations process. Normally, when there’s money at stake, I’m interested in getting the deal signed, but since none of the money’s going into my pocket, I am totally chill about this whole thing. I can even be honest with my clients and say, “My wife and I have this agreement that she gets to keep the money I make on the weekends, so here’s the price that it takes to buy me out of family happenings.”
When I decided that, I went to my wife and said, “What’s a price number where you would be happy having me working on a weekend day? What’s the number of dollars that you’d want to have in your pocket where you’d be totally happy that I was working instead of hanging out with you?” She set a number, and now I’m able to just quote that anytime someone asks. I don’t have to ask her what we’re planning – at that price, she’s completely happy canceling anything we’ve got going on.
When deals are signed, everybody’s happy:
- The client gets me faster (although at a significant cost)
- Erika gets fun money to spend on stuff she’d never consider buying otherwise
- I get the warm, fuzzy feeling of making everybody happy while doing what I love
To make it work and keep a good work-life balance, the price has to be high enough that Erika’s truly excited, and high enough that clients aren’t willing to fork it out every single weekend and holiday.
When I first got started, I thought I’d have to say yes to every client demand. “Work with us over the weekend and you’ll earn our business over time.” I learned that the kinds of clients who want me to work every weekend and holiday aren’t really the kinds of clients I want to work with long term.