How to Increase Freelancer Rates
The Best Freelancers Deliver More Value to Clients
Writers are the face of the internet. Or at least, their writings are. Any article, any piece of news, any advertisement, any blog post, any text in a pop-up is crafted by a writer. The quality of these writings fluctuates across the board. And with the quality, so do the wages. The writer of an in-depth exposé will always be paid more than the writer of an incidental piece of text on a rarely visited website. The reason why is not hard to grasp: the more value you add to whom you’re writing for, the more you can negotiate your earnings. If your text could be written by anyone then no one would feel compelled to keep you around. You need trust and a portfolio to make your case, and being a freelance writer is a great way to build up both.
But freelancing comes with its own struggles. The possible lack of steady work; the lack of social security provided by an employer; the time you spend on finding that next gig. Freelancers, more than anyone, need to know how to negotiate their wages and put a value on their skills.
Below are three must-know ways of delivering more value, increasing your rates and avoiding the life of a pennies-a-word writer.
1. Update Your Online Assets
Your online presence is who you are to potential clients. Their first impression won’t be an interview with you. It will be your LinkedIn CV, your website’s landing page, your Facebook, your Twitter, and whatever comes up on Google when they type your name. You need to be prepared at all times. Your online presence is an ongoing interview. Keep that presence up-to-date. Buff up your social media profiles with all the necessary information. Make each profile link to what you feel is your most comprehensive and effective summary. For most freelancers, this would be their website. If so, your website should have a finely tuned landing page that gives clients all they need to know right up front.
The key is to keep all your information online as recent as possible. The sooner they feel safe and confident reaching out to you, the sooner their interest will convert into an actual interview. Clients cannot be expected to read all your past articles to get a feel for your writing. The best way to get them at ease is to show off any and all recommendations from past clients, colleagues, and friends on your LinkedIn page. Positive recommendations can convince clients to reach out to you regardless of your past writing subjects. You merely need to show them you’re a hardworking and flexible writer.
Which brings us to the most desired trait in a freelance writer:
2. Be Flexible
Be more than a delivery method. To many clients, contracting freelance writers is a mechanical thing: input needs > receive text. If you want to rise above the middle-of-the-road, you need to go the extra mile for your clients. Stand out by providing them updates by email or their desired form of communication. Make sure you format the text the way they need it. Over-deliver by finishing the project early or by doing additional research to fine-tune the work.
The writing you create is a product, but the overall transaction is your service. Providing a great service adds value to you as a writer and opens the door to increased rates later on. Clients will pay more to freelancers they can rely on to do better than ‘a good job’. Be their ‘great job’.
3. Optimize Your Post-Sale Follow Up
The job is done, but your work isn’t. The key to fostering a long-lasting relationship, and the possibility of raising your rates, is to make sure your client is satisfied with your work and hungry for more. After submitting your final writing, don’t be afraid to reach out for feedback. Identifying what went wrong and what went right is key to self-improvement, and clients often appreciate their voice being heard. It shows you care about improving yourself and improving your relationship with the client. Make sure to offer satisfied clients complementary services and contract extension pricing to let them know you’re keen to collaborate further. You should ask for testimonials (usually on LinkedIn) and referrals for future work.
Don’t be too brash but, if your work was appreciated, don’t hesitate to capitalize on the good will either.
The Takeaway: The key to increasing your rates is to show off your value. The least a writer can do is be punctual with deadlines and error-free in execution. Don’t settle for a low-bar. Make sure your online presence is up-to-date and inviting. Your methods should be client-focused and flexible, and your follow-up procedure effective. Congratulations, you’re now already head and shoulders above the sea of middling copywriters!