As a self-employed freelancer, it can be difficult to find the perfect balance between pricing your services at a fair rate and landing a client without scaring them away. If you’ve put in the work to become a master of your craft, it’s only right that you get paid for what you’re worth.
I remember when I first started freelancing, and I was teetering somewhere between trying to avoid being ripped off and actually finding clients that wanted to exchange cash for services. It was difficult to initially find that balance, but after a few years, in conjunction with some blood, sweat, and tears, here’s what I learned along the way.
Spy on Your Competition
When trying to price your services, it’s important to research what the going rate is from freelancers with similar skill sets and niches to yours. Whether you’re a content writer, videographer, graphic designer, or developer, you’ll want to scope out the competition to see what’s fair game.
It’s important to implement self-awareness when spying on the competition and understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Secondly, you need to be able to distinguish whether the quality of your work is on par with your competition. If it’s better, you can charge higher rates (bear in mind, I’ve never met a copywriter that didn’t think they were better than everyone else) so tread carefully when performing this exercise.
Pricing Services: Time Is Money
You have to consider all of the variables when pricing your services. Prior to jumping the gun and throwing a random figure at your prospective client, establish where you’ll be spending time and factor that into your overall project or hourly rate.
- Extensive research or interviews are needed for the project.
- Meetings, video calls, progress calls, and check-ins.
- Tools, software, and subscriptions that you need to complete the project.
- Purchases such as domain names or stock photos.
Factoring these items into your rate could mitigate the risk of your feeling out of pocket and make a project worth your time.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
The competition is fierce in the freelance world. There’s always going to be someone that can work faster, for cheaper, or, god forbid, even produce better work than you. But don’t let that put you off.
As a freelancer, it’s important to have a bite that’s as big as your bark. You need to have the skills and finesse to back up all of that confidence in your cold emails, sales pitches, and client meetings.
A well-curated portfolio of your finest, most relevant work samples will help you woo a client into choosing you over someone else. Following that, by showcasing your best pieces, name-dropping your biggest clients, and showing adept skills in your area, you’re able to price your services at a competitive rate without selling yourself short.
Even though the world is modernizing, there’s still a little stigma behind freelancing, and the old-school, traditional mentality often thinks it’s subpar in comparison to in-house employment. That’s why it’s important for you to position yourself in the most professional way possible by investing in solid headshots for profile pictures on freelance platforms and LinkedIn. Communicating clearly with clients and not becoming overly aggressive when a client asks for the twelfth revision of their website copy. Building a reputation is how you will solidify your personal brand and be able to charge what you’re worth.
Keep on Learning
If you want to charge top dollar, you’ve got to constantly invest in your own skills. By adding more to your utility belt and staying up to date with the latest trends and tools, and constantly growing your online presence, you’re able to charge more for your services and increase your pay.
As you grow your freelance business, it’s good practice to revisit your pricing structure every 6 months. Compare your rates to industry demand and competitors within your market to establish a baseline for you to work from. When you add more skills, new niches, or become more adept in a particular skill, it’s not unwise for you to increase your rates accordingly to ensure you’re not selling yourself short.
Editors Note: This post was written by nDash community member Anup Sohanta. Anup Sohanta is a full-time freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, financial services, and other topics. To learn more about Anup — or to have him write content for your brand — check out his nDash writer profile.