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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Don't Be Afraid to Talk Money, Part 2: Setting Your Freelance Rates

Welcome back to the Blogathon, day 7

Yesterday I posted about the importance of knowing what a market pays before you pursue it. When you write for money, it makes no sense to me to work without knowing what you'll you're going to paid for it.

However, what happens when you're approached by a new client or market that asks what you charge? You don't want to throw out a number, say something like, "I have no clue," or promise to get back to there person. You need to know your hourly rate.

But how do you know what to charge? 

There are several methods to help you determine what to charge: 

  • One method is to figure out what you want to make in a year, and base your hourly rate on that overall figure. This works best for seasoned freelancers. (Laura Laing, in her fascinating book, Math for Writers, devotes a section to helping new freelancers determine their hourly rates. If you're serious about freelancing full-time, it's worth a read.) 
  • A second is to determine what the markets you want to write for usually pay, and base your rate on that. 
  • A third is to determine what other freelancers charge for that kind of work, and base your rate on that. 
  • Another is to consider your level of experience and your value to potential clients, and base your rate on that. As with the first method, this is more useful for experienced freelancers, or those who have a unique, in-demand skill set. 

If you're a new freelancer, or a more experienced one getting started in a new area, I suggest a blend of methods two and three. Do some market research to determine what clients typically pay for the work. Let's say you're a freelancer who wants to branch out into copy editing, and you discover that agencies pay copywriters $15 to $25/hour. 

Then you search the web for other copywriters after checking say, six websites, you find that they charge between $30 and $45/hour, depending not the project. As a new copywriter, your initial hourly rate for clients might be $30/hour, based on your research. As you gain experience, you can always raise your rates. 

Get the idea? Do the research and determine your rate for freelance work before a client asks you about it. You'll look more professional and feel more confident about going after work. 

Today's assignment: Determine your hourly rate for freelance work. 

**Readers, this is the first time I've ever blogged seven days in a row...it's actually the first time I've ever blogged more than three times in a week! What do you think? Are you following the blog? Do I have new readers out there? Are you hoping I'll cover a specific topic? Hello? Anyone? Bueller? Please comment and let me know. 

And finally, for my usual book plug: If you want make more money as a freelancer, I highly recommend my books on freelancing: