There are far too many writers being paid way less than they deserve. What’s even sadder about that stat is that most of them don’t necessarily have to settle for such low rates.
A common mentality that a lot of writers have when they’re first starting out is this idea that starting out equals working for cheap. This mentality is extremely dangerous because it’s far too easy to get stuck in that mentality permanently.
Although we live in a world where sometimes people get stuck in dead end jobs that pay them poorly, freelancing is one of the few opportunities where you’re in the driver’s seat of how much or how little you’re paid. That’s exactly why setting your rates with confidence is so important.
When I first started freelancing I had no idea how to set my rates with confidence. All I really knew back then is that I was eager to work and I was eager to write, and I’d do anything to do both simultaneously.
You deserve better than content mills and sites like Upwork . Why? Because let’s face it, people’s perceptions of freelancing as “not a real job” come from the dangerous mentality that rates aren’t open to negotiation.
Here are a few ways you can set your rates with confidence:
1) Do your research
Do you know what other freelancers are charging for similar services? Do you know what’s a typical rate for your country, city, town, etc? No idea? well…that’s alright!
Before I posted my starting rates chart on my website I did a ton of research. I used the PWAC what to pay a writer tab as a reference and investigated what the writers that I respect are charging for their services. If you’re not sure what rates are appropriate you should do similar research, in order to get to know what’s typical.
2) Test drive a task to get to know how long it takes you
When I first started blogging on a freelance basis I was lucky because I’d already been blogging both via the jobs that I had in the past and in my spare time. Not only did this help get me work, but it also made me 100% aware of how long it took me to get from draft one to the final draft.
If you’re not sure how long a specific task takes you do a practice round, so that you know how much you need to charge to pay your bills. Don’t forget to add in crucial details like estimated word count, research, etc.
3) Factor in cost of living
The locations of the average freelancer vary so there’s actually no such thing as a universal, “fair” rate. For instance, big cities require higher rates to get by than small towns and rural environments.
Although comparing and contrasting is a good way to determine your rate, you might not want to charge the same rate as someone who lives somewhere where the cost of living is a lot lower.
4) Don’t settle for less
No matter what people say, you don’t need to discount your typical rates to get the attention of your clients. Never settle for less than what you deserve. If someone tries to negotiate a discounted rate, they’re probably not worth your time.
The one and only exceptions are charities and not-for-profits where you’re offering your services for a good cause. They may not be able to afford to pay you the full price but at least you’re getting something out of it.
If you make a well-informed choice, while choosing your rates, you’ll get the price that you deserve. Still confused about what rate works for you? Here are a few sources you might want to check out for more info:
PWAC- What to Pay a Writer : a useful rates database for Canadian writers of all specialties and prospective clients of Canadian writers
Freelance Writing Jobs for Newbies- Determining your Rates : a blog post by Elna Cain on things you need to keep in mind when determining your rates
How do I Set my Freelance Writing Rates? : a helpful step-by-step guide, on how to set your freelance writing rates. It was originally published on Freelancer FAQs, a resource for freelance writers of all levels of experience.
Freelance Writing Rates: 5 Resources for Figuring Out how Much to Charge: The Write Life is always a helpful resource when you have any questions whatsoever about professional writing. If you’re unsure about what to charge this post will help you find useful resources on who is charging what rate, and who typically pays their writers.
On a related note…
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