This article is written by Quin Hoskins. Having studied law and several science-related subjects at degree level, this has provided him with the perfect foundation to cover an eclectic range of topics in his freelance writing career. From the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs to countless travel sites, he is proud to be associated with companies and organizations that are definitely at the top of their game. The flexibility of his freelance writing business allows him to devote a significant proportion of his time to study and is finishing his last course – out of 6 – towards his LLB (Hons) this year. He is also an avid traveler and has proudly visited 40 other countries to date, with much more planned for the future.
Starting out as a freelancer in any industry will be one of the most intimidating and nerve-racking experiences you will ever endure in your lifetime. The pressure to succeed and ensure you bring in enough money to cover your everyday living expenses will be simply overwhelming, even from the start. What to charge – a dilemma faced by many freelancers. Now, if this article is already resonating closely with you, it is time to take a long, deep breath and to read the rest of the valuable advice that is on offer to you right here.
Slowly, Slowly Catchy Monkey!
One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make when they are just starting off is for them to inflate their own opinion of themselves and presume that they should be charging a premium price for their service from the very beginning. Whilst I am sure you are an exceptionally talented provider, this really is not the right way in which to enter the freelance market.
In the world of freelancing, it is all about building up a reputation for yourself; and of course, valuable experience. This is where the famous saying ‘slowly, slowly catchy monkey’ will really come into play. Be prepared to work at an exceptionally low rate to start: perhaps only charging as little as one-third of the rate you feel your work is worth.
Pull out all the stops and ensure you deliver first class results on every single project you undertake and never be tempted to take on more work than you can realistically handle.
Different Types of Clients in Varying Price Bands
Over the years, I have come to find that clients behave differently depending on the rate in which they are prepared to pay a freelancer. Generally speaking, the clients who will only pay the very lowest rates for work are, by far, the most demanding and I often like to call this group ‘the divas’. They often want something for nothing and are out to exploit people to secure what they need. They will be the first to complain and you may well find that they are complaining spuriously in order to get away with paying you at all. Be exceptionally careful of this group of clients and stay on the ball at all times. Of course, in no way am I tarnishing every single client in this price band with the same brush, but over time, you will come to appreciate just how accurate an assessment this has been.
When you feel you have built up a sound reputation and portfolio of your work, it will be time to progress to the middle band. This may equate to two-thirds of what you feel your final price will be. My experience of this type of client was 99% favorable. This type of client appreciates that they have to pay a little more for decent work, yet they are usually realistic with their expectations and are definitely the least plaintiff of the 3 bands of clients we are discussing here.
Once you have a great reputation behind you and are securing regular, repeat work, it is time to consider raising your rates to the highest band. This will be your premium rate and you must therefore ensure you are providing a premium service and end product at all times. Only around 10% of all clients will be prepared to pay your prices and they are certainly the most discerning people you will come across. They will have absolutely no nonsense from any freelancer they employ to undertake a project and you must be on your ‘A-game’ at all times. Be mindful of a small contingency of clients enticing freelancers with the offer to pay a premium rate, then contriving a problem at the end in order to get away with paying. This doesn’t happen often, but when you have been in freelancing for a long enough period of time, you will come across such unscrupulous individuals.
The Fat Lady Never Sings!
When you start working as a freelancer, you may well envisage a light at the end of the tunnel that you feel will be the ultimate ‘Utopia’ when it comes to this marketplace. Well now, having worked in this industry for so many years now, I can honestly say that such a place does not exist. You will find that once you reach the pricing structure you feel you most deserve, you will never be able to hear that fat lady singing – it is never over! You will have to remain focused at all times as you will have literally thousands of other upstart providers snapping at your heels and ready to banish you from the freelancing industry for good. It will mean nothing to them to see you swept aside and for there to be one less competitor in this fierce marketplace.
At the end of the day, I insist on ending this article in as positive a light as I possibly can. I can just picture your wide-eyed, petrified stare at what you have just read in this blog and we cannot let you go in such a state. In all honesty, I can put my hand on my heart and state that the benefits of being a freelancer will make everything 100% worthwhile if you succeed at it. You will be your own boss and the freedom to make your own decisions really will be worth its weight in gold. Stay focused, my friends, and only raise your prices once you have gained the appropriate level of experience in order to do so.
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