Any full-time freelancer will tell you that one of the most challenging parts of the biz is learning how to correctly price your services.
It’s difficult because going too high will eliminate a large portion of the market, and going too low will result in working way more than you should, just so you can pay your bills.
Landing my first freelance gig
When I first started freelance writing, I was thrilled to get my very first job at $10.00 a post. I remember signing that contract and telling my husband that I could finally call myself a writer since someone was now paying me for it!
It was very exciting at the time, and as I added to my skills and experience, I kept raising my rates.
Now, I’m all sparkly and pumped because I’m at the point where becoming a full time blogger is a possibility, because of the amount of clients, combined with the income from my blog.
Hitting a pricing wall
Despite the excitement of branching out on my own in the near future, lately I have been hitting a wall in terms of establishing a price point.
Many, many successful writers have urged me to raise my rates even higher than they are currently. Yet, every time I do, I am rarely successful.
For example, just last week I quoted a large website $75.00/post. They immediately said my price was too high, and when I told them I was happy to negotiate, they wrote back saying they went with someone else.
Now, maybe the other writer had better experience, a writing style they liked more — or as I suspect — a lower price. I don’t blame businesses for watching their bottom line, but I missed out on that job, most likely because I quoted too high.
I know there are more clients around the corner and that my experience and skills should merit a high pay.
However, in that instance, I lost a job. As the current breadwinner in my family, and someone who is taking a huge risk by trying to run my own small business, that really bothers me.
Many experienced bloggers and writers would say, “Good Riddance!” citing the fact that a company who wont pay your quoted rates aren’t worth it.
However, to me, every time I don’t get a job for whatever reason, it’s a step back from achieving my goal of becoming a full-time writer. At the same time, I know I can’t accept less than a certain price point, or I’ll be working way too many hours, suddenly waking up with my laptop physically attached to my fingers.
I know there’s a sweet spot, a point in the middle that will make sense some day. For now, my main focus is trying to find as many steady clients as possible so I can gauge what my monthly income will be. That knowledge, in turn, will allow me to do this full time starting in January.
How to understand the market
One way I have combated the issue of price point, is to better understand the market. For example, a very large insurance company or credit card company might be able to pay $200.00 per post.
However, a small blog that’s looking for their first staff writer might only be able to pay $40.00 a post. What we need to decide as freelancers, is the type of client we want.
It seems like a no brainer — from a business perspective, it might make sense to only take on high-paying clients, but I personally love writing for smaller blogs, in the personal finance niche, and helping them create valuable content for their audience.
They might not be able to pay $200.00 a post, but in my experience, they also give a ton more freedom and are very fair in their prices.
When I decided to become a full-time blogger, I was looking for just that — freedom. I was looking to do what I loved. I wanted to write about what I wanted to write about. I wanted to be in charge of my day.
So, now I only take on projects I like, and I’d rather write a post of my choosing about the ridiculous time I paid three rents at once, instead of spending three hours researching and comparing credit cards for a post on a huge website.
That’s my choice. Yours might be different. That’s what makes the blogging world go round.
Finding the right price point
One tip that might be helpful to you as a writer/blogger who’s trying to raise your prices, is to create a tiered rate sheet of services — like the one provided below.
This type of layered rate sheet allows you to put the lowest price you’re willing to accept, all the way up to the highest price you really want.
Make the highest price full of awesomesauce, with tons of options and support. Perhaps a client will only be able to pay you the lowest level at first, but after a few months, you can remind them of your extras, and they might be able to afford now.
I would also urge you to be flexible. For example, I just started offering discounts for bloggers who can pay for 10 posts at once. This makes my price per post lower for them, and I get the security of knowing I’ll be working with them for almost 3 months.
Also, remember that sometimes payment comes in many different forms. The name recognition, links back to your blog, social media love from the people you work with, and recommendations to others are all extremely valuable perks to working in one niche.
Moving forward as a freelancer
I’d love to hear opinions from fellow freelancers or bloggers about how you deal with this type of pricing challenge. My income is the one thing standing in the way of becoming a full-time blogger.
I feel like I am so close, like it’s just within reach — if only I could figure out this one conundrum of price point!
How do you price your services? Share your method or best tip for setting prices as a freelancer.