Real Simple’s Modern Manners columnist Catherine Newman on how to remind others of your worth.
Q. I am a graphic designer, and I agreed to work on the logo, stationery, and website for a friend’s company at a discount. Now she keeps asking me to update the site without offering to pay for the extra labor. I feel like she doesn’t respect my time. How do I tell her that I need to charge her full price from now on without upsetting her?
A. Good deeds can be rewarding. (Research shows that generosity is a massive happiness-booster.) But, alas, they don’t pay the rent. It’s wonderful that you did something nice for your friend, and it’s also understandable that you can’t keep doing favors for her indefinitely. She may need a reminder that this is how you make a living.
The next time that she asks for help, say, “I was happy to help you get this site up and running, but let’s talk about what you envision for the future. If there’s going to be continual maintenance, then I’ll need to charge you for my time.” If she agrees to your rates, great. If she balks, suggest some other designers she could work with, thereby preserving your valuable time and the friendship.
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Want to Ask Your Own Etiquette Question?
Submit your social conundrums to Catherine at realsimple.com/modernmanners. Selected letters will be featured on the website each month.