“I won’t touch projects that have budgets smaller than $30,000. Anything lower is usually low-quality and unprofitable for me.”

That’s a statement I hear every week from freelancers who pay me for freelance leads. I’m not sure why $30,000 is the magical number but apparently it is.

Leads below this magical threshold get rejected by people who are self-labeled as “desperate for work” and sometimes even in a dry spell, but how can a $5,000-$10,000 project really be THAT unprofitable? Especially for just one-person?

Why do most freelancers even prefer big budgets anyway?

I always avoid them. To me, big budgets mean big projects - which are hard to scope out and actually finish. When you finally deliver them, there’s always more revisions. They drag on. They kill profitability (on both sides).

Of course, this can also happen with small projects at a smaller scale… which is the point.

If you’re not able to make a $5,000 project profitable, you’re less likely to make a larger, more complicated project profitable - right?

When I examine my past 5-figure freelance projects, I find most of the budget went to things like: meetings, proposals, presentations, revisions, emailing, and following up on things.

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I cut these things out and replaced them with nothing. Would the client really be worse off?

I don’t think so. I’d be able to focus on things that actually mattered instead of fluff and I’d charge them less, producing an even better ROI for both them and me. Isn’t that a win-win?

What do you think?

  • Have you ever felt like big budget projects might actually be losing you money?

  • What would you do if you had to make a $3k project profitable instead? What would you cut out?

  • Have you ever hired a freelancer like you for $30k+ project to help your own business? Why not? If it’s truly a great investment why isn’t your business paying for it?

(Note: While I do agree that some highly-specialized consultants shouldn’t work for less than $X0,000 — I don’t think that’s the case for 90% of people.)