When I get emails from freelance writers asking my what they should charge for whatever they’re currently talking with a client about I want to tear my hair out. I know I’m not always gracious in my response – maybe that’s okay.
Here are the 6 top reasons I can’t tell you how much to charge for your freelance writing.
- I haven’t talked with the client. Which means I don’t know the real scope of the work. Sure, you can tell me the client wants a 400 word blog post, but that doesn’t let me know things like if research is needed and who will do it. It doesn’t tell me what the approval process is. And I don’t have a sense of what the client wants and chances are you can’t communicate that to me adequately.
- I don’t know the ‘going rate’ for many kinds of writing. Okay, I’ve convinced you I’m an expert on freelance writing. And while I reject the idea that there’s anything like a specific ‘going rate’ it’s also true that in my areas of writing I pretty much know what to charge – which says nothing about what you should charge.
- I don’t know how much you need to earn. Yes, what you need to earn is part of the equation when you’re figuring out what to charge. If you live in New York City or San Francisco you’ve got to earn more than if you live in less expensive areas.
- I don’t know how well you write. Writing talent does vary and it also tends to improve over time. I have no idea what skills you have or what level you’re at.
- I don’t know how fast you write. Some people write faster than others. Part of that may be typing skill, part of that may be practice and part of it may be innate. I don’t know, and I don’t know how long it will take you do do what you’re asking about.
- I don’t know how much you believe your worth. Yes, your view of your skill as a writer and your own self-confidence or worth is critical when it comes to setting prices – probably more critical than any other factor.
Yes, I do remember how difficult it was to price my services. It’s still not always easy. Yes, I still consult with other, but only those who know much more about my writing than I’ll ever know about yours. Being part of a Mastermind Group is a great place to talk about pricing – and you can create such a group. Yes, it can help to read Writer’s Digest – they talk pricing there and are probably as close to a ‘standard’ as we’ve got in the United States. You can google. You can ask in a writing forum.
But ultimately you’ve got to name your own number. As you price your work you’ll get some jobs, lose others, discover you underbid certain projects and gradually move toward more confidence. Working your pricing through is the only way you’ll learn to do it. Go for it.
How do you set your prices?