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Tips to Help Freelance Writers Overcome Pricing Jitters

pricing jittersDo all freelance writers get pricing jitters? I think so. At least I know I do even after years of successful freelance writing.

Oh, it has gotten way easier. I was reminded of this the other day when I had to quote a book ghostwriting price to a new client.

For some reason I remembered the first time I raised my rates – another pro told me to double them, and I couldn’t do that much. But I did find away to increase them by 30-40 percent as I recall. Those pricing jitters were much worse then the proposal I presented last week. Pricing jitters I had, however.

Here are seven things to think about when you’re thinking about pricing for your freelance writing.

Willing buyer / willing seller

There really is only one good definition of a fair or good price – a willing buyer and a willing seller. Of course, if you let pricing jitters eat at you too much you may find yourself leaving money on the table – setting a price that’s too low.

Your price is your price

There really is no such thing as a ‘standard price’ for any writing. There are trends, maybe. Know what you charge and how you got to that number even if you pulled it out of thin air.

Never justify your price to a client

Once in a while a potential client will want to know how I reached my price. I say something like this: “I worked it out based on my hourly rate.” If they want to know my hourly rate I tell them, and then I just shut up. If they want to know more, and I can’t remember anyone who did, I’d probably say “that’s what my clients pay.” I never apologize for a price either. I wouldn’t mean it even if I said it.

If you think you’re under pricing, you probably are

That sneaking suspicion that you should get paid more for your writing almost always means you should. Figure out what you should be earning. Jenn Mattern has an hourly calculator for freelance writers that’s a good place to start. Start charging that amount to at least your new clients.

More work than you can handle with reasonable ease? It’s time to raise your prices 

If you’ve got so much work you’re considering hiring a writing intern or two, you need to raise your rates. At this point give some consideration to how many hours you want to work and figure that into your pricing.

Be willing to negotiate, sometimes

When you’re setting your rates it’s probably best to set them high enough that you’re willing to come down a bit. One truth is some clients will feel so much better if they bring down the price even a tiny bit. On the other hand, if you’re doing a lot of, for example, 500 word blog posts, you may want to set a price that you aren’t willing to negotiate.

Discounts for continuing work rarely make sense

If someone suggests they should get a bargain because you’re going to be doing a lot of writing for them, be extra careful. Get it in writing, and only consider a discount if you’re pretty sure the 10th whatever will take you measurably less time than the first one. Usually this isn’t true, and it will take you about the same amount of time.

It’s okay to have pricing jitters

In fact, they may be a good thing. I actually was quoting a bit higher; the number I named was a bit of a stretch for me, and it looks like the client is going to accept. Even if he doesn’t, I have more confidence for having named a higher price.

What’s your experience with pricing jitters?

Write, and price, well,


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