Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Your Business, Your Rates

There is always discussion among freelance writers about how some people prefer to charge low rates for their work and this brings others down. I have read about it so much that when I find something else about it, my mind usually goes blank and all I read is BLAH BLAH BLAH. It's one of those things, if you've heard it once, you've heard it before.

However, I feel the need to state my opinion here on my blog. I think everyone has to start somewhere to gain experience, confidence, and knowledge about the industry. If this means charging clients .01/word, so be it. The key is how long someone stays at that rate. It does not take long to understand what the market is looking for and what you need to do to market your writing. That is, if you don't completely fill your plate with these .01/word projects.

Once you work up the confidence, just throw caution to the wind. Don't think about the possibility of not getting an assignment or project because your rates are too high (because they won't be). If the client chooses you than great, if not, keep going. Weed through the clients because there are fields of them available to you. If you need to lower your rates so you can get some experience in a specific niche, go right ahead, but then use that to get higher work. Don't get stuck.

My next tip is just to APPLY APPLY APPLY. You never will know if someone didn't choose you because of your rates or your experience. However, the more you apply the more experience you will receive in writing cover letters and selling yourself.
Finally, this is your business so you can charge the rates you feel are fair to your clients as well as to you. Do not short change yourself. You work too hard and need compensation for it.

One more thing, I visit Writing World and there's a great post about this same subject. There is a survey that was taken on how much people charge for a 500 word article. The results may surprise you and show you that you don't have to charge clients such low rates because many others are working less and getting paid more.


Forever Amber said...

I think the "knowing when to raise the rates" is definitely the key. I still have moments when I find myself thinking, "Maybe I should make this quote lower, or they'll never go for it", but the truth is that if a client thinks the rate is too high, they probably weren't the right client for me, anyway.

I do agree that everyone has to start somewhere though: it's virtually impossible to go from no clips and no experience to earning a good wage from freelancing in one move, so edging it up gradually is a good way to go, I think!

Kathryn said...

Well said. I think that most of us started out with no-paying or low-paying jobs but people who are successful at freelance writing are people who steadily increase their freelance rates. I use a job ranking system myself (http://kathrynvercillo.com/blog/2008/02/29/how-to-steadily-increase-your-freelance-income/) which helps me regularly upgrade my steady jobs as time goes on. It's a field where you really can set your own rates to some degree as long as you're willing to provide the content quality that goes along with the rate that you want.

PS - Thanks for dropping by my blog; I wasn't familiar with your work until you did but I'll definitely be coming back. It's great ween writers connect with each other online that way!

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