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September 15, 2010

Can you have it both ways?

Call me a hypocrite.

For years I've been trying to find out how to get merchants to lower their bottom lines. Reasonably, strategically, humanely -- and aggressively.

No, I didn't haggle with the mom-n-pop owners yesterday when I bought a notebook, even if it was overpriced. And I'd never try to underpay someone rendering a service if I felt that person was in a position of less negotiation power and the service was priced fairly.

But in most other situations, I dive in. At an estate sale, I lowered the price of a rug to 50 percent. Whenever I can, wherever I am, I aim for upgrades and discounts. I am a bargain hunting wh*re.

Yet here I am today, selling my services and trying to find out the best ways to maximize my revenues as a freelancer/contract worker.

Which begs the question: Can I have it both ways? The Capitalist in me says "Yes. That's the point! Minimize expenses and maximize earnings!" The considerate and concerned and over-analyzing chick in me says "How could you! Are you a seller or a buyer!? Pick a side and stick with it."

Deep down, I suspect I believe it's ok to haggle when you're buying and extract the highest price when you're selling. It's called being profitable. As long as you play fair in both transactions, you don't need to be consistent.

Why, then, do I hesitate?

Why does The Daily Asker have these doubts?

I guess it goes to show how deeply ingrained certain practices and notions are. It took years for me to become a savvy buyer. And now it will take just as long for me to become a savvy seller. Because as easy as it is to recognize value in an object I'm trying to buy, it's a lot harder to recognize the value in what I'm selling: my time, talent, experience.

Perhaps I need to start a new project: The Daily Seller. Try to sell one object, good, service or piece of information per day, and see where it takes me.

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