Well, here’s some good news…
As your gig pricing increases, the majority of these buyers will be eliminated. Starting out I ran into the same types of messages, so I totally understand your situation. You might feel caught between a rock and a hard place.
Initially, you’re trying to create that ‘social proof’, i.e ratings, which not only increases your level but could potentially lead to more buyers, showing that you’ve earned the trust, $$ and relationships of many.
After personally running into this… I came up with a cut and paste response:
I appreciate you reaching out to me regarding your project. However, my rates are as shown. I do value my clients and the relationships I’ve built. Those relationships have been built through my responsiveness, quality of work, attention to detail and my customer service. However, I’m not in a position to enter relationships based on discounts. The good news is that this platform has tons of talent and you might be able to find someone willing to work with you on budget. Have a great day and I wish you well.”
Keep your head up… Everything rises with the tide.