One of the hardest parts of freelancing is choosing the services you’ll provide and pricing. You’ve got to build an entire product line of “things you do well” and find the right customers for these things.
When it comes to pricing, two important questions have helped guide me, like a North Star of business. In this example, we’ll take a project with a $500 charge.
If you’re used to working for $15 or $20 an hour in a full-time job, you may find it difficult to ask for $50 an hour or more. However, for most freelance writing, that should be your minimum. Charge less, and you’ll have a hard time making a living.
How to Set Copywriting Fees, Men With Pens
There are many ways to break it out: by time, which is the death of your small business. Or by value, which is the life of your small business, but a very hazy area of ROI and negotiations.
So, here are the questions. When you make this $500 charge for a project, as yourself:
Did you provide $500 worth of work?
Did you provide $500 worth of value?
It’s crazy, but I’ve found that you can provide $500 worth of work with a value of zero dollars to your client. That’s an income stream that is on its way to dying, despite the work you’ve put into it (AKA “Frustrating”).
You can also provide about $50 “worth of work” (when it comes to time or attention, say) for a $500 of value (or in some cases, more!). Those are the bets you want to be making, and yet those can also be difficult to negotiate.
Don’t sell yourself short. It’s tempting to charge a rock-bottom rate just to get business in the door – or be too afraid to raise your rates. As my father used to tell me, “If nobody is complaining that your prices are too high, you’re not charging enough.”
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Because how frustrating is that? I want to work hard and make a lot of money. And yet there are ways to work not-so-hard and make money (which feels lifeless) and ways to work your butt off and make nothing (which isn’t sustainable). Fortunately, I have found a very comfortable middle ground in providing highly-researched blog content and website copywriting, two areas I specialize in. But what about all those other things I love to do that don’t provide value to clients?
Freelancer feedback? How did you hop these hurdles, early on?