2021 is finally upon us! 2020 was quite an….”interesting” year, to put it lightly, and I’m already feeling like a new man. I wanted to write a mini-pep talk for my writing friends who want to make the best out of this year. As Coronavirus (hopefully) starts to wind down, I think massive opportunities are growing in our industry that should be seized.
You see, I had an epiphany when I woke up this morning that I wish to share with you:
It’s time to raise our prices.
The first thing I did this morning when I started working was to immediately increase my current rate from 10 cents a word to 15 cents a word. Why do I feel deserving of a self-imposed raise?
Because I’m worth it. End of story.
I’m actually worth much more than that, but I’m fine with working for $0.15 per word.
Over the last year, my writing skills have improved. My vocabulary increased. I read a lot more; not just about my niche, but a whole collection of books which broadened my perspective. I got feedback on my work that helped me to increase my skill in my craft. I work more but simultaneously feel happier. I am better today than I was yesterday, and I think that my fees reflect my personal growth over the course of a year.
Scared To Raise Your Freelancing Prices? Now’s The Time To Do It
As I was writing the above paragraphs, I could imagine some of my freelancing buddies quaking in their boots.
Raise prices….in this economy?!
First of all, the New Year is the perfect time to announce to clients that your rates will increase henceforth. It’s a new day, worldwide economies seem to be on the rise, stimulus payments just went out, and consumers are generally spending more. Secondly, as some of you may have noticed, there’s a shift occurring in the traditional corporate office structure. Ever since the lockdown, many businesses have noticed that they can be as productive as they were before the pandemic (or possibly even more) and people don’t generally have to always come to the office to work.
Outsourcing is on the rise. Businesses are increasing their dependence on temporary remote workers. Our generation, millennials, may see a day when automation and internet connections wipe out the era of a typical office worker commuting to work every day.
What does this mean for freelance writers?
It means that you can expect our work to increase. We only have a certain number of hours in a day, and I only want to spend my time on clients that pay me well for my time.
Weed Out Time-Burning, Soul-Sucking Clients
An old business adage states that 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your business. There’s a less repeated corollary to that: 20% of your clients will give you 80% (or more) of your headaches.
Go through your client list and in detail, figure out who is paying you the most per hour. Don’t fool yourself: some jobs take much longer than others. It’s much more difficult to write a company analysis report than it is to talk about simple investment advice even though they would pay the exact same amount for the same number of words.
Are some jobs causing you to spend too much time away from your family? Is your hourly rate dropping to unacceptable levels?
Cut out the bottom 20% – unless they are friendly and willing to negotiate for higher wages.
I had a client whose site I loved to write for. I genuinely believed in her mission and wanted to help. The problem was that I honestly started getting burned out when I noticed my hourly rate was typically half what I normally charge. Fortunately, she was willing to listen to the fact that her articles took a significant amount of time to research and produce and was able to negotiate a 30% pay increase (begrudgingly).
If people just want to continue using up your time without paying you accordingly, it’s time to amicably end your relationship with them. Period.
Tell your current customers that your business is booming. Explain that to maintain the same kind of relationship as before, since you’ve been doing a good job, it’s time for a rate increase. Make sure they are aware of how much is already on your plate and that if their work is to remain a priority, they have to start paying you more. Don’t be afraid of rejection, that’s simply the way things go.
Attract Better Clients
If you don’t believe you can convince any of your current clients to start paying more, it’s time to find new ones. If you’re currently trolling the job boards or sending copy to hard-line, flat rate content sites, you’re not going to be able to raise your prices, unfortunately. However, if you followed my free guide and have a steady stream of referrals knocking at your door, why not try your luck?
The whole point of being a freelance writer is to make a comfortable, honest living. As inflation constantly eats into the real buying power of the average worker, the only way to ensure your financial security is to adjust your prices accordingly. Never feel guilty about asking for a fair wage – you’ve earned it and you deserve it.
So, the prices are going up.