#204: What to Do When Prospects Want to Pay You by a Percentage of Their Profits

What do you do with prospects who want to give you work — but don’t want to stick to your compensation terms?

Instead, they want to pay you with an equity stake in their company or a percentage of their profits, along with promises of future work.

I’ve rarely seen this type of arrangement work out for the writer.

So what should you do instead?

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In this kind of situation, you can either walk away.

Or you can offer to work with them on a consulting basis.

And the consulting project would be to develop a content roadmap for them.

After all, most of these businesses are startups. What they need most is not the content itself — but the strategy that should drive it.

You could develop this roadmap at a lower cost than a lengthy and complicated piece of content (such as a white paper) and still make a profit, especially if you productize the process.

However, this approach works best when there’s a decent probability that the roadmapping engagement will lead to future projects where you help them execute on the strategy you developed.

So if you don’t think the roadmapping engagement will lead to something bigger, then you may want to pass.

But if the business is well funded and just being cautious, then roadmapping can be a great way for them to dip their toe in the water.

It also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate what you bring to the table and positions you execute on the roadmap when they’re ready.

Aside from this kind of scenario, agreeing to get paid by an equity stake or percentage of profits is not a good idea.

You’re better off pursuing other prospects that are well funded and willing to pay your fees.


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