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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is my Freelance Rate too high? - Know and Set Your Freelance Rates Right

Setting your freelance rates


Somehow I feel that every new freelancer faces the problem of setting their rates right. When I first started out, I had the same issue with setting my freelance writing rate as well. Therefore, I am speaking from experience. I am not saying that I have it figured it out by now. However, I roughly know what to charge for what and for which client now.

To some, it can be an extremely daunting task to figure out what to charge. You may feel that you will get short changed if you charge too low or you may lose assignments or even clients if you charge too high. Well, the chances are there for exploitation as well as loss of assignments and clients.

However, you are as good as your rate and you rate is as good as how you perceive your talent and specialisation to be. You have to make your own gauge and sell your skills accordingly. Here are some ways you can start deciding on what rate could be effective for you.



Start researching

The best way to do it is to ask around. There are various freelance writers’ forums where you can catch freelance writer’s discussing about their rates. When you join in or browse around, you will come across some users who seem to have “made it.” Take a look at their profile or their blogs (surely they will have it in their about me pages or their signatures) and check if they have any rates table.

You can also join freelance portals where many freelancers bid for various posted projects. This is a good way of finding what is the supply and what is the demand. If you are looking to build your portfolio and establish contacts, this is a good place to begin. From here, if you are comfortable, you can start small and then make your progress as your reviews and confidence grows. Freelance.com, GOFreelance, Elance and oDesk are platforms you can create an account at to start.

I started with Freelance.com and have written 300-500 word articles for mere $1. However, as the clients came back to me for more work, I knew that my style of writing and the quality of wok was appreciated. Thereby, I did not have any problem with increasing my rate with serious clients.

Now, how do I identify serious clients? You indicate that your rates are higher and they still stay with you because you provide quality service. Those are the serious clients. Anyone who runs when you say the rate is up is looking for cheap labour.



Understand your own needs

Each freelancer has his own needs, goals and milestones. You have to decide what are yours and work your rates accordingly. I believe you are in freelance business because of the lucrative market available and the possibility of having income in the short and long run. Therefore, you have to decide how much you are comfortable earning every month and set your rates accordingly. In order to do this, you have to decide how much work you are willing to accept with content research, writing, proofreading, editing, re-writing etc all included. With this, you can work backwards and find a comfortable rate.

Suppose you want to earn $1000 per month and you are willing to accept 10 assignments from each of your 5 clients for the current month. That would be 50 assignments for $1000. That would bring you a rate of $20/assignment. This is a rough gauge as you will also have to adjust according to the word count, amount of research, type of writing etc.



Build Relationships

Starting small should only be a priority if you are good at building relationships. Understand the client’s requirements first before embarking on the project. Understand the client’s needs as well as the client. There are various types of clients and you can read all about them here.

Be a Professional

You have to give quality service in terms on-time delivery of the assignments free of grammar, spelling and structure errors. Make your invoice look professional. Have a logo, a disclaimer and terms or service clearly stated. Follow up professionally. Ask questions about the assignments and provide valuable feedback. Behave professionally and your worth will shine through.



Summary

It is a popular notion that once you start small you will remain small. Not really. Why? This is because, you need to set foot in the freelance writer’s industry and if your rates are high even before you prove your worth you will not be given a chance. However, take care that you do not remain small for a long time.

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