I’ve recently launched a new core offer within my freelance writing business. Launching a new offer inevitably means I have to set the prices. In the past, I’ve struggled with this because I wasn’t truly confident that people would pay my freelance rates, or in my ability to deliver the results I promised.
Now, though, I am entirely confident in the prices I charge. So much so, I charge 4 figures per month for email marketing and I will not negotiate on these prices because I know I can deliver results. More importantly, I know it’s what I need to create financial freedom.
Here’s my four-step process for setting my freelance rates.
Step 1: Schedule self-care in your calendar first.
In creating a new offering, I made sure not to repeat the mistakes of my previous business. The worst being, I never took time out to look after myself. I didn’t prioritise healthy eating, exercise, rest, relaxation or relationships. As a result, I was always tired, and when you’re tired, everything takes longer to do.
So, every week I block off time in my calendar for training, meal times and at least one whole day off. Now I feel refreshed and energised, and get more work done in less time.
Naturally, this limits my available work time too, so I only have room for a few clients.
Step 2: Promote your business first.
Each week I send 3-4 emails to my list and I post on my blog, Medium and LinkedIn 5-6 times. I have to prepare all of that content, and the time I spend doing so is time I don’t get paid. I currently don’t have my own product offering – aside from freelance services – so I don’t earn any income as a result of my audience-building efforts. But I’m not going to stop building my list because, in the long run, I want to sell my own products. This is a long term strategy that I wouldn’t have time to complete if I hadn’t factored it into my freelance service pricing.
Step 3: Understand how much work required for each client.
Each email marketing client takes about 5-hours of writing and editing work per week.
Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking I have 8 or 10 clients. Nope, my maximum client load is 4.
So you only work 20 hours per week?
Wrong again. As I said above, I complete an hour or two each day to build my own audience. After that, I write and edit. Which is quite important as it’s the core of my offering. But there’s plenty of other client tasks that need to be completed. Like sending the content to them, catch-up/review calls, responding to emails and creating invoices. If I don’t factor those tasks into my pricing, basing my fees only on when I write and edit, I’ll find myself working 70+ hour weeks again, just to make ends meet.
Step 4: Understand the VITAL extras.
As a freelance writer, the most important time you spend each week is not writing or editing.
While I spend about 4-5 hours per week writing and editing for clients, this doesn’t include time for creating the ideas that I write about. So, every afternoon, I trudge upstairs with my leather-bound journal and a fresh cuppa, stand in my ‘thinking spot’ and list every idea that pops into my mind – good or not.
Now it might not look like ‘work’ to an outsider, but without this focused time for idea creation, I’d easily waste an hour or two trying to come up with ideas before starting to write. No doubt, I’d get sidetracked by email and social media, turning the 5 hour day into 8 hours sitting at a desk, being less productive than I should. Then I’d likely find myself skipping exercise or preparing healthy meals because ‘I’m too busy’. I’ve been down that road before, and that’s not a habit I’d like to return to.
The freelance life is supposed to be a life of freedom.
I work to live, not the other way around. I’m not ashamed of my prices, even though they’re high. Because it’s what I need to put a roof over my head, food on the table, take a trip once in a while, and most importantly, create the space I need to create ideas my clients keep coming back for.
Is it time to raise your freelance rates?