Published by Yuwanda Black, Site Editor
Written by Yuwanda Black
As I said in last week’s post, social media account management for clients is some of the easiest money I’ve ever made as a freelance writer.
As you may or may not know, the average hourly rate for social media managers ranges from $28/hour to $59/hour according to Salary.com. But, I’ve read estimates as high as $150 to $300 per hour also. These are most likely for freelancers, because they can charge much more and have many more clients than a person who works as an employee for a company.
No matter how you slice it, there’s good money to be made in social media, which is why I’ve been advising freelance writers (especially SEO writers) to add it to their list of services for years.
With all of that being said, I wanted to follow up on last week’s post, where a freelance writer was struggling with how to put together a social media strategy for a recently acquired client. And oh boy, did she come up with one!
It demonstrates perfectly just how lucrative this area of digital marketing is, and why you may want to consider adding it to your service offerings if you haven’t already done so. Or, if you have, why you might want to turn more of your marketing attention to it.
Without further ado, here’s our very detailed, insightful follow-up exchange.
You asked me to keep you updated on my earlier situation, so here it is (again, certain identifying factors have been changed to protect this freelancer’s privacy):
As previously mentioned, I’d also been asked to compile a media wish list for the same company. Created a nice list of industry journalists and bloggers, which my contact person was quite happy with. So happy that I was asked to tweeting the industry “influencers” from the brand’s main Twitter account.
I initially declined the request for a number of reasons, primarily because I didn’t feel that just jumping in and tweeting these people was going to do them any real good from a professional POV. It was then that I took the opportunity to also explain to her the difference between a social media strategy (as I’d originally submitted) and a social media plan.
Before that (and before talking to you), I’d politely apologized for the strategy not being what she’d expected and had told her I’d do what I could to include some of the things that she’d hoped it would. After talking to you and reading up a bit more, it was clear to me that what I’d originally submitted was a strategy and that what she wanted (but hadn’t requested) was a plan.
With that same email response, I attached the newly modified content strategy, which now included a few sample tweets, some suggested posts for influencers, etc. … it was quite informative and I even used some of the advice you gave me while educating her on the importance of doing social media “right”.
After clarifying this and taking the few extra steps toward meeting their expectations with the modification, she asked if I could come on board and implement the whole shebang, as well as manage their social media on a monthly basis and, if so, for how much.
This is where it gets good, girl!
Now, I’ve been freelance writing for several years. Started at the bottom (my first article paid $8) and have worked my way up to about $50 per 500 words. I also do special projects, but still haven’t moved up to a rate that I feel makes all of this work worthwhile (fast-forwarding through my rant about the daily grind and burnout). Have been researching this whole social media and content strategy world, though, and I’m flabbergasted by what people are charging for stuff I’m more than qualified to do and that I may actually enjoy.
So, when she asked me if I can do it, I called to mind something another freelancer recently shared with me, “If you don’t feel embarrassed when you quote your rate, you’re not charging enough“. This resonated with me because it seems like no matter how many times I raise my rates, I still feel compelled to offer discounts– even though my rates are still pretty low. In talking to people on my LinkedIn groups and studying the habits of successful freelancers across the board, I’m refocusing now on being worth what I say I am.
Back to my exchange with the client, though. When she asked what I’d charge, I swung for the fence, Yuwanda. Told her that I’d need $4,000 to get them up to speed and ready for the 3/10 launch and that I’d require $3,000 per month for ongoing management. I informed that they’d need to make a 3 month commitment and pay for those months in advance, which meant a total of $13k up front.
The social media strategy I created for them highlighted the importance of a separate content strategy, so I reminded her of this and told her that if they had someone managing their content, I’d need to collaborate closely with that person, but, if they didn’t, I’d need $3,000 per month (an additional $9k up front) to manage their content, which would bring the total startup cost to $22,000! Of course, I laid it all out very professionally, detailed what they’d get for that price and made it all look quite attractive if I must say so myself.
I knew it was a longshot to ask for so much. But this whole experience has caused me to delve deeply into the industry, so I also know that my rate was pretty average (and even cheap) in comparison to the market.
This has been an exercise in learning to ask more for a valuable service that I can definitely provide. In addition to expanding my services, I’m expanding my consciousness about my business, in general, and this was an important step in that process. Plus, I’d already mentally refused to take anymore peanuts … The strategy, alone, took me around 18 hours to complete and I had already agreed to only charge a few hundred dollars for the whole project.
At the end of my lengthy email, I offered a few alternatives, such as Skype consulting for $250/hr (2 hr minimum/advance pay) or social media training for their team at $3,000 which includes 4 hours of consulting.
She wrote back that they couldn’t afford the $22k, nor could they afford $3k per month, but asked if there is any way that I might help prepare them to do a lot of it on their own. I repeated my aforementioned consulting and/or training services and am waiting for her reply. The point is…I’m asking! And I’m not going to stop asking.
In the coming days/weeks/months, I plan to package my services and go for the gusto. I’m seeing the very real possibilities here and am taking everything I’ve learned with this experience (and another recent one) and putting it all toward positioning myself for my new goals of providing blog, content and social media management. As you know, these services are worth their weight in gold to serious business clients! Knowing that I’ll need help, I’m also casting my net far and wide in order to form a virtual team so that I’m prepared when I do get a yes.
You will be among the first to know when I land the first major client, too. Like I said before, you were one of the first people I began following online after choosing my freelancing path, so I’m happy to share my progress with you. If I’m not mistaken, yours was one of the first books I bought on freelancing, period. You are a gem, lady, a real gem!
Sorry for the lengthy reply, but you know how expressive us writers can be when we get a little inspiration.
Take care, Yuwanda!
Awesomeness, awesomeness and more awesomeness.
You know, it’s when you really don’t “care” if you get a job that you seem to have a better chance of landing them. And good for you for asking for what you feel your time is truly worth. 18 hours on a proposal — hell yeah, you deserve every possible penny!
What I think a lot of us freelancers forget (I know I do from time to time) is not what we do, but how much BENEFIT we provide to clients. They may pay you $50 for a post, but may earn $5K or $10K off of it over time b/c of the info you provide in it. Whether you land this gig or not, good for you. I’m so glad to hear of your success, your confidence and your evident joy in your business (that’s like the best part for me — when you enjoy what you do).
One more observation … even when I “lose an assignment,” if I don’t get a sinking feeling in my gut, then I know that I did the right thing by myself, and I never regret those “lost” gigs. I have a feeling though that this company is going to figure out a way to work with you on some level, but even if they don’t, you’ve obviously learned a ton and are on your way to monetizing that knowledge already. So again, congrats to you. I feel like a proud mama bear.
Like I said, social media can be very lucrative – and a lot of prospects simply don’t have the time or know how to do it themselves. So if you haven’t considered it, you may want to take the bull by the horns like this freelancer did and delve into it. The need is only intensifying.
FYI, two I’d start with are Facebook and Twitter.
One final thing – I share these types of stories to keep freelancers inspired. I hope this one has made you think, “Hmm, what can I do to increase my income?” It could be adding social media, or bundling existing services, or tapping a new niche, etc. The ways to earn (more) money as a freelance writer are endless, so put on that thinking cap and get busy!
Coming on Wednesday on SeoWritingJobs.com: Another success story – a freelance SEO writer shares how she landed 8 jobs in one month with 3 more in the works.
If you want to start a career as a freelance social media consultant / SEO writer and start landing jobs almost immediately, this ebook package gives you everything you need.
Self-publishing has given me so much more freedom as a freelance writer — because it’s given me another income stream that doesn’t depend on client projects. I’ve been asked many times over the last few years to put together a seminar. I finally did! Get the details, and hope to see you there.
Posted on March 2, 2015
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