I have been working as a contractor for this company. It is a non-profit company. They pay me a monthly salary. I do their graphic and web work. I first started as a one job, create their website project. Then they wanted to keep me as a steady designer. I now do work for them, I make them presentation decks, website updates, maintenance, social post designs, logos, etc. They pay me $3K a month. I started at $2k, and raised me to $3k a month to make them more of a priority. I have done that, I get them things asap, and a lot of last minute things.

I am an off site worker. I work way better at home. I go to their weekly staff meetings, which is every Monday. If I am being honest, I don't need to be at these meetings as they tell me things that they can just email me about or call me.

They have an upcoming event, that is 2 days long. 8am-5pm. They want me there on both days all day. They want me to work with their social media manager, to create social designs on site. 1. I don't want to be there all day for two days. 2. I don't feel like I NEED to be there to do social designs. It is an event that I am not interested in, as I am not political like that.

Well I told them I can't be there as those times will not work for me. But I can be on call as much as possible, and I even said I will come up with templates so we can just plug in images or text quickly when they need.

They responded with:

This is really important. (Social Media Manager) can’t do all of this alone and this is huge for us for both in revenue for the org and importance for our brand. We really need you present. How can we make this happen? (Not at night, but all day on the 23rd and 24th.) We had agreed that our company was your work priority and this is essential for us to do our job. Thanks

Any opinions? Thank you!

  • It sounds like they're willing to compensate you extra ("How can we make this happen?") to be there. It may boil down to what's in your contract and how badly you want to keep their business (after this, they may look elsewhere).
    – Geoff Ball
    Mar 13, 2017 at 3:39
  • 1
    We had agreed that our company was your work priority - have you? If you did and they think this is important for them, you should be there.
    – Luciano
    Mar 13, 2017 at 9:26
  • also, this is not exactly a design question and it would probably be better suited at workplace.stackexchange.com
    – Luciano
    Mar 13, 2017 at 12:03

5 Answers 5


Everyone seems to be "ooo"ing and "ahh"ing over the $3k/mo. Let's look at that logically..... $3k may not be all it appears up to be at a glance.

Yes a steady $3k/mo client is nice... but... let's see..

  • There's an average of 160 work hours in a month (40hrs/week for 4 weeks). $3,000 / 160hrs = $18.75hr. That is essentially a somewhat typical pay rate for an employee that is one or perhaps two steps above "entry level".
  • It's kind of a given that you aren't actually putting in 160hrs a month. However, how many hours a month are you putting in? If you divide $3k by those hours, is it close to your freelancing rate?
  • Is this your only client? Are you under a contract with this client? How much revenue do you generate monthly outside of this client's work? $3k means very little if you generate several thousand dollars a month in addition to that $3k. $3k may mean everything if you have no other income.

These are all very important aspects to figure out before deciding how to handle any client.

For example, if this is your only stream of income, well, you may want to go out of your way to keep this client happy and paying. That means attending this outing they want you to attend (with some additional compensation).

However, if this is just one in a stable of many clients, you can afford to be a bit less amenable to their demands at times. If for no other reason than you have other commitments to uphold. You clearly can't complete that project for client B if client A wants you "on-site" for 2 full days.

An important thing to remind yourself is that you are not an "employee". You are a business owner and decisions you make have to best for your business first, then the client.

I can't suggest what you should do, however I know that when I start to feel obligated to do whatever a client asks of me, I've grown far too dependent upon that client and I know I should diversify my income stream a bit more. Relying too heavily on a single client for income is a recipe for disaster if you are a freelance worker.

In short... if your highly dependent upon this client's revenue stream... do what they ask... and start looking for other clients. If you have other income, you can politely decline their request to be on-site for multiple days in a row since you have a business to run and you are not an employee.


A steady client paying $3k a month is better than chasing smaller/occasional gigs from random clients. If this is your main source of income, find a way to make it work. It is OK to include some freebies now and then for regular clients, but also let them know what "extra" means.

Present them with a "late hours" and/or "weekend" hourly rate, so they know it will cost more to keep you busy outside normal working hours.

However, this kind of thing can potentially turn to a full-time job if you don't control it. A busy client can take the "free" out of "freelancer", which in turn can become a "remote employee". Looking at the question again, I'm not sure how you define this relationship, as i do see you used the word salary.


Unless your current contract suggests you must attend these meetings and events, you should add it to the contract and get a pay rise. Its a lot easier to do things you don't want to when you get paid for it.

However a $3k gig is not something to give up because you're not social or you don't feel you need to be there. (especially in today's economic climate and for the fact they are a non profit) Unless you have something that can replace that $3k, I'd agree terms with them and just get it done.


Mate. I understand your "working in isolation" preference. However I believe it is the first time they ask you such thing. If they are your only client on the table at the moment, then go, first it will show them or reassure them that their investments of 3K à month is really for someone who is willing to travel for them when things can get rough. They will like it believe it or not.

BUT just to be clear. I'm not asking you to get sentimental and make them a favour no. If displacement like aren't anywhere in your contracts and if the place where the event takes place is far from where you live, let them know that they should pay for your travel, as that part of deal is not in the contracts.

And if there will be other events like that where they will need you to attend because of x or y reasons, yall need to write up a new precise and concise contracts that specifies all of that .. including new financial terms.

By the look of the answer they gave you, they ready to spend more bucks on you. But don't jump on that too quick.


The thing that no one else has pointed out here, is that it may not matter to them whether or not you "need" to be there. It could be that their Social Media Manager (SMM) has asked that you are in attendance for the entire event so that you can support him/her. That person may feel like they need you to understand the background for a decision before developing a solution. Or maybe the SSM is frequently asked questions about design items during this type of meeting, and needs to have you available to respond as these questions come up. Doesn't really matter what the reason is--if an employer asks you to do something, and it is not illegal, or specifically excluded from your contract, you should do your best to provide that service.

If you really don't want to be forced into a similar situation in the future, than you need to rework your client contracts so that they specifically state that you will not be able to provide this service. But, assuming this is not specifically spelled out in your current contract with them, then you really do need to what they are asking you to do.

They have asked you to fulfill a particular task (which is to be in attendance at a 2 day event), and you are saying that you won't or can't meet that task. Basically, as others have stated, the decision you are facing is whether or not you want to continue working for that client. You can make that decision based on whatever criteria you choose (% of income that comes from that client, etc.), but if you are not willing to meet this demand, you should assume that your client will immediately begin looking for another consultant who is willing to perform that task, as well as all of the other tasks that you perform for them.

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