Although being comfortable talking about money is actually a normal adult behavior, lots of people don’t actually feel that way.
Writer’s want to get paid for their work and that means talking with clients about money.
If you’re not comfortable talking with your clients you may find these tips helpful:
Get out of vagueness about your money
When you know how much money is flowing in and out of your accounts, you will feel much more confident when talking with anyone about money. Start by tracking all your income and expenses.
Somehow, when you really know how much money you have, or even don’t, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you need to do. For example, if you’re almost out of money you may have to consider a temporary job or doing something to fill the coffers. If you’ve got a decent amount you know you can continue hold out for the better paying projects.
Either position is much stronger than not knowing. That strength will translate to some real self-confidence when you need to talk with clients about money.
Know what you charge
I’m always surprised to find many freelance writers are also vague about how much they charge for the work they want to do. I start with an hourly rate. Then I estimate how long I think a particular project will take. I add 15-20% as a contingency and that’s my fee. You might find the post, 10 Steps To Setting Your Fees helpful.
However you do it, you’ve simply got to know how to set your fees and how much you charge if a conversation about money with clients is to make any sense at all.
Know you’re worth it
Coupled with knowing what you charge is that illusive thing that might be called self-worth. Although some would argue money and self-worth shouldn’t have anything to do with each other, the truth is they usually do. You can go along way toward feeling better about yourself by eliminating negative self-talk and turn that internal nay-saying editor into a friend.
When you’re comfortable with yourself, your talents, and how much you charge, you’ll find it much easier to talk with clients about the money you want them to pay you. That confidence often means they will be willing to accept your offer.
Help your client be comfortable talking with you about money
Writers aren’t the only ones who feel uncomfortable talking about money. You’ll find clients may feel the same way. If you’re confident and self-assured some of that attitude will rub off on the client. At least they will know that you’re not threatened and they don’t have to work to protect your feelings.
You can also make it easier if you bring up money first. Or at least be willing to. If you’re listening carefully you’ll find that eiother the client will ask how much you charge or it’s time for you to bring it up. There’s no point in trying to dodge the issue.
Often you’ll be able to simply state your price. Then you simply stay quiet until the potential client responds. Not to the point of rudeness of course, but your fee is your fee and you don’t need to try and explain it or apologize for it.
Sometimes you wont be able to quote a price because you’ll need additional information to truly understand what’s involved and how much time it will actually take you to complete it well. Don’t hesitate to explain briefly what you’ll need and promise to give them a price when you have that.
When you need to raise the rate
Eventually you’ll run into a project that requires much more time than you originally agreed to spend. Some call this ‘project creep’ because it tends to sneak up on you.
Your first defense is to build in that contingency fee. If the extra time is less than say five percent you can probably live with it and add even more the next time you work for the client. Much beyond that and you’re going to have to talk to the client about more money or less work. Sometimes the client will truly not realize what they’ve done; on the other hand they may be trying to squeeze as much out of you as they can get away with. It’s up to you to draw the line.
And yes, you’ll also run into clients who don’t pay on time, and even some who try not to pay at all. I’ve got a writing friend who is having trouble collecting a large ghostwriting fee from a well-known client! It happens.
When you’re comfortable talking about money it won’t be difficult to pick up the phone and ask when to expect payment. And if you need to, you’ll also feel okay about sending the bill to collection or taking the client to small claims court.
You’re entitled to be paid; you’re entitled to make a profit – both of which means you will be talking with clients about money.
How do you feel talking with clients about money?
Write well and often,