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Freelance Writers: How I Finally Got the Guts to Confidently Raise My Freelance Writing Rates

The following is a guest post by Bill Acholla.

Have you ever wondered how others get so much and you settle for so little? What am I talking about? I’m referring to freelancers like me who struggle to increase our freelance writing rates to what we consider a fair, livable wage, while others seem to command — and get — seemingly obnoxiously high rates without even blinking an eye. How do they do it?

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The Beginning: A $15 Writing Gig

I started my freelance writing career at the bottom of the totem pole; accepting some of the lowest rates offered. Wanna take a gander at how much that was (or wasn’t, as the case may be)? $15. Yep, just $15 lousy bucks … and it was for a 1000-word article that I spent 6 hours completing. That works out to just $2.50 an hour, mind you. And where did I find this low-paying writing gig (that I still can’t believe I took on)? Fiverr.

I always feel like a freelancer from another planet when I remember those early days and how little I charged. I find it funny, yet pitiful, at the same time. It’s downright shocking when you compare it to what I charge today. It was a lesson; one I learned from.

Raising My Freelance Writing Rates: The 5 Steps I Took

So, let’s talk about how I manged to increase my freelance writing rates, earning more than most freelancers ever dream is possible or fear to ask for. Following are five things I did that got me to the point where I charge what I know I’m worth. I hope you find them useful in raising your freelance writing rates.

1. Got Confident in My Writing Skill

It may sound so cliché, but having confidence as a writer is the beginning of everything. Yes, it pays a lot to be confident in writing, and I mean literally. And that’s a lesson I had to digest, believe in, and hold on to.

Some of the great writers out there do not even know they have what it takes to be great writer. That’s because of lack of confidence in their skills.

If a writer has confidence in their skill set, everything else will follow. By that, I mean great clients, more writing opportunities, higher pay rates, bigger projects, and so on.

So if you’re a writer who’s not so confident in your abilities, examine this. Ask yourself why. Is it based on something real and tangible, or just a deep-seated fear of a lack of confidence you have in yourself as a human being?

Once you settle on an answer, take the necessary steps to build your confidence – therapy, feedback from others on your writing, taking a class – whatever.

But if freelance writing is your chosen profession, do what you need to do to gain confidence in your abilities, so you can confidently ask for the rates you deserve.

2. Became Resourceful and Always Thought Positively

When I say resourceful, I mean I got out there and beat the bushes for jobs.

This means different things for different freelancers: having a dedicated system in place that works, eg, sending out a certain number of queries per day; putting together a targeted list of clients you’d like to work for and reaching out to them; setting up a profile on LinkedIn and being active in writing groups there to get noticed; etc.

All being resourceful means is taking action on the opportunities that are in front of you – fully. So get busy applying. That’s what I did. The work will eventually flow in – if you reach out consistently.

Thinking positive, on the other hand, is more about attitude and outlook. If you get turned down by some prospects, let it go. Don’t dwell on it or let it wreak havoc with your confidence. You weren’t the right writer for that job. Fine. Next!

There are also plenty of other publications that actually pay freelance writers that you can reach out to. So get busy reaching out to them, not biting your fingernails about not landing that last gig you applied for. The best way I learned to not let negativity and doubt settle in is to get busy applying for the next gig, and the next one, and the one after that.

3. Offered Work that Got Results

Clients don’t pay you to write for them. What they’re really paying you for are results. If you can write copy that gets results, you’ll stand head and shoulders above the competition – and be able to command rates your client would balk at paying another freelance writer.

To do this, study what makes great copy, eg, a great “must click” headline, a strong call to action, the ability to tell a story to make readers connect, etc. When you know what makes great copy, and practice writing it and reading about it regularly so you can produce it when it counts, your skill will stand out. This makes it so much easier to land high-paying freelance writing jobs, and long-term clients.

Now, let’s turn out attention to an actual scenario where you’re asking for a higher rate; something many freelance writers are afraid to do.

Quote 1

For the project you described, my fee is $500. That is still negotiable if needed. Would you like me to get started?

OR …

My rate is $100 per hour. I estimate that the project as outlined would take about five hours to complete, bringing the total to $500. I can get started right away and have it back to you day after tomorrow if no further changes are added. Shall I get started?”

Your prospects might go, “Okay, I’ll review your offer and I’ll get back to you soon.” Or, Thanks, but I think we’re gonna go with someone else we’ve been in contact with; their rate was half what you charge.”

Quote 2

For the project you described, my fee is $500. For that rate, I will:

  • Do the interviews needed. I do this regularly on my projects, so I know exactly how to devise a questionnaire to cover the points you want made.
  • Conduct the appropriate research to substantiate claims and underscore points made.
  • Write the article in an SEO-friendly manner so you can track the traffic it brings in.
  • Revise and edit until the points you want to make are all included.

I checked my schedule and I can get started day after tomorrow.”

Your prospects will go: “Wow! Other writers charge half what you do, but you seem to have a much better grasp of what we need. Yes, please, get started. The day after tomorrow is fine.

The reason the second quote is so much better is that you laid out to them exactly what you would be doing; likely throwing in points that they hadn’t even considered – because they’re not writers. But you are, and you illustrated that you understand that writing is about so much more than words on a page. Value; you provided value – value they didn’t even know they needed, but will gladly pay for.

Landing the Gig Tip: Notice how I threw in, “I checked my schedule.” This lets clients know that your services are in demand. Even if you have nothing on tap, don’t appear overly eager. Build in enough time that you can do the professional job you know is needed.

4. Am Generous and Show That I Care about Their Business

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

We live in a 24/7/365 transaction-based world. It’s all about the Benjamins (money). But when you make clients feel like you really want to know their business, have read their mission, and are striving to understand what makes their client base tick, that’s something you can’t put a price on.

And it just so happens that you will produce better copy – because you’re writing to make a connection. That connection starts long before you put finger to keyboard.

In short, be sensitive to the needs of your clients and show genuine interest in their business and the message they want to convey. It’ll yield dividends – in higher pay, more loyal clients and referrals, which means even more jobs, earning even more money, etc.

5. Am Always on the Hunt: Exploring, Exploring, Exploring

Don’t hesitate to look for other sites and platforms that offer freelance writing jobs.

Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs

There are A LOT of them out there: Upwork, JournalismJobs, Problogger Job Board, Freelance Writing Gigs, Craigslist (seach the writing category of each city), Constant-Content, LinkedIn, etc. Use the Internet and every resource you can get your hands on. Stay hungry. Stay motivated. Keep applying. I did (and do), and it worked.

Start Right Now!

Raising your freelance writing rates can be a scary thing. But it needn’t be if you implement the advice dispensed here. Yeah, it takes moving out of your comfort zone. But if you know you have the skill, the only thing holding you back is you.

There are freelance writers who are quite happy to earn $15 for a 1,000 word article. And good for them! There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re not one of them, the only person who’s going have the guts to bump your pay rate much higher than the average freelancer is you.

About the Author: Bill Acholla is a freelance writer helping entrepreneurs create the right content for their business. If you resonated with this article, please subscribe to his business blog for more advanced marketing tips that will change your life.

P.S.: Make Money Writing in 3 Different Ways: Get full details.

P.P.S.: A Practically Fail-Proof Way to Start a High-Paying Online Writing Biz

There are many, many online writing opportunities, and with the right knowledge, it’s great work-from-home career to start – PT or FT. Get trained to get started!

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