We are all familiar with the concept of hunting through craigslist postings looking for a deal on a used car or a used xbox or a used lawnmower. We’re also all familiar with the concept of using craigslist to clear that old car, old xbox, and old lawnmower out of our garage and into someone else’s.
A lesser known and explored section for most people is the gigs section. Maybe I’m just bored and sit on the internet too much but this untapped gold mine offers a fun a way to make a little cash and improve your negotiating skills.
Here’s the three top things I’ve learned hunting through craigslist gigs.
Knowing Your Worth
For me this piece of advice goes in the pile of sayings that I’m tired of hearing people say it because I don’t know how to apply it. On craigslist when applying for a gig job you are forced to apply it or you get stuck doing a lame job for not enough money. Applying for gig jobs from strangers gives you a low risk way to try and practice this.
Example - Moving a couch from downstairs to upstairs for an old lady
There is probably an easily calculable market rate for this but I’m not interested in what that is. I’m interested in what is the actual rate that it would take to get you off your couch on a Saturday morning to go help this lady. You need to be able to arrive at a number or range decisively in your head and stick to it. We are on craigslist, the stakes are low. If you don’t move the couch, someone else will. Compare this to the last time you negotiated your salary at work or with a bigger gig and it’s a great opportunity to practice asking the tough questions to yourself on how much your time is worth.
Executing the Final Decline and Walk Away
This one is good because craigslist gigs are a dime a dozen. Fresh ones pop up every day and there are all different genres to fit you from moving furniture to graphic design to commercial acting.
We all know you can’t negotiate effectively if you’re not willing to really walk away and most of us are too afraid to walk away in bigger job negotiations because we need our jobs and are afraid to mess up.
The couch moving example is a perfect time to practice getting the other side to raise the rate for you to leave you house and help and if they don’t raise it you can say sorry I can’t help you.
Feels great to say it and will change the way you look at harder more important conversations later.
Emailing With Purpose
The great thing about craigslist negotiations is that its all done through anonymous emails too until you’re ready to close the deal. This makes it a great time to practice being very direct and non fluffy in your emails. We are talking to get a task done not to play office politics. What is the task and how much is the rate. Get down to brass tacks quick and early.
I’ve booked a lot of gigs off craigslist and these are some of the things I’ve learned and it’s gone on to help me in higher stakes negotiations as well.
Hope this helps you. Try it out and have a little fun negotiating.