Writing professionally is one of the most flexible careers out there. You can work from anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night. In addition, you can make anywhere from $10 to thousands of dollars for your work, depending on your rates.
If you charge at the higher end of the industry rates, you can expect to make a good living and, most likely, you can do work as a writer full time without having to keep a day job. However, pricing is more of an art than a science, which explains why some writers' rates are too low and they're unable to turn their passion into a full-time career.
It takes more than what you "want" to price right. Here are several tips on how to build confidence in pricing, types of freelance writing rates, and how to start charging the rate.
Working on your own takes a lot of courage. As a freelance writer, you're both an expert in the trade and an entrepreneur: the buck starts and stops with yourself.
If you're like most writers who prefer writing instead of marketing, I bet you also do not like pricing your services.
However, embracing your entrepreneurial side is crucial to making a good living from writing. Also, be prepared to negotiate for better rates. For this, start with adopting the so-called "entrepreneurship mindset." What is it?
First, acknowledge that your finances depend on how you market and price your works.
This is the heart of being an entrepreneur. You're on your own, literally. Also, you feel good about it because it shows how confident you are about your skills and ability to make a good living out of writing.
This "feeling good" (a.k.a. self-acceptance) about being an entrepreneur and not a hobbyist serves as the fundamental philosophy of your one-person business. It is the basis of why you're charging a right amount of money for your services. Writing is a hard-earned skill, just like other trade skills.
Second, recognize that your services have financial values.
If you're the "artsy-creative" type, most likely you don't think much about money, until you need it to buy something. Well, change this mindset, if you want to be successful.
Your works (articles, ebooks, reports, etc.) have financial value to your clients. In other words, they asked you to write, with an intention to make more money either directly or indirectly. Thus, it's a natural consequence for them to pay you well. Keep this in mind whenever you send out price quotes and invoices.
Third, with the right pricing strategies, you can earn more with the same amount of workload.
This means you can live and enjoy life better without having to increase work hours. Isn't it awesome? The key is being creative in finding clients.
Charging the right rates or increasing them is like having a salary raise. And you'll be feeling better appreciated by clients.
Types of Freelance Writing Rates
In general, you can charge freelance writing services by project (flat rate), by the hour, by word, by page, and monthly retainer fee. I choose the rate type depending on the type of work that need to be done and the clients.
There are pros and cons of each type:
By the project
If you already have expertise in a specific type of assignment, charging by the project is probably the best. This way, you can finish it up quickly, but still earn handsomely. Charging per hour would place you at a disadvantage as most likely it only requires a couple of hours to complete.
By the hour
This could be your best bet when the project requires many human hours to complete. However, most clients are cautious about paying hourly, so you'd need to show accountability for proving the hours worked. I refrain from accepting hourly-paid projects.
By the word
It's one of the best metrics to charge your writing services. It's fair to both clients and the writer, as you'll only be paid for the words you've typed. However, be cautious about "how the clients count the words." Is it based on the accepted final draft or the revised published version? Whenever possible, ask the client to use "whichever is greater" to be fair to you.
By the page
It must be clear in advance what constitutes a "page." State the page size, font type, font size, character spacing, and line spacing (single, 1.5, or double) before agreeing to write. Once you and the client have agreed, find the approximate word count per page, so you can multiply it with your current price per word and come up with the rate per page.
It's ideal for long-term clients. However, you want to be clear about the monthly workload beforehand. For instance, if you charge $500 per month for four blog posts, be clear about the word count per post. Any excess words or additional works will be charged separately, which must also be stated in advance to avoid misunderstandings and disputes.
Charging the Rate
Each project is unique, which requires special handling. Thus, when charging for each project, you'd need to consider all the factors individually. Of course, if you've done similar projects for the same client, you can use the past price rates or have them adjusted to the new project.
First, monetary value to the client.
Most writers don't consider how much money the project would potentially bring to the client. Well, if you write for businesses, your works are essential to bringing new leads and, eventually, close sales. For instance, if you're asked to write a business white paper, most likely it will be used for lead generation. Thus, it's common to charge $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the research and work hours involved.
Second, the level of research involved.
A client probably "just" needs a blog post, but no two blog posts are identical. Ask the details of the project, such as the topic and the specifics, before starting. Who is the audience? Is it for the public or specific personas? Does it require a technical understanding of specific concepts? How familiar are you with the technical concepts?
How many hours would you need to spend in researching the concepts? What's the word count? In-depth articles sometimes include 3,000+ words, so you want to charge accordingly. A blog post may cost anywhere from $100 to $3,000, so you must perform due diligence before agreeing to accept the assignment.
Third, total hours needed to complete it until publication.
Be honest about the total hours you need to research, write, and revise the article. If the topic is something you're familiar with, you might be able to reduce research time.
However, how about the client? Are they easy or hard to work with? I've encountered a client who changed the article more than five times. Make sure to cover the revision hours so that you don't spend too much time on one project.
Ready to Price
In conclusion, pricing your writing services requires a deep understanding of your research, writing, and typing skills, as well as the topic, its level of depth and the client's work style. You need to be honest about your financial expectations and overall skills, too. Once you've found the "right" rates, you can enjoy the full benefits of being a professional writer.