Setting prices is not easy. Unlike in the retail world, there are no MSRPs when it comes to blog posts or news articles. It’s up to you as a freelance writer to choose your rates, whether it’s per post, per word or per hour, and stick to them.
It’s a task easier said than done, and I’m willing to bet you’ll also run into another common freelance struggle: potential clients who think your rates are too high.
It’s an issue that causes a lot of strife in my day-to-day, to be honest. On one hand, I get it. You’re a business and you want to make the most of your budget. However, I’m a business, too, and there’s no way I could make a living off the prices most brands want to pay. I turn down a lot of cool gigs—jobs that would be a great fit and beneficial for both parties—because I have to stick to my “high” rates.
If you’re struggling to set prices or negotiate fair pay with a client, here’s some food for thought that’s helped me stick to my guns and ask for the “high” rates I deserve.
Turning Rates into Rent
One of the easiest ways to justify “high” prices is to put them in context. For example, think in terms of your rent.
Let’s say your rent is $1,000 a month, and a brand wants to pay you $20 for each 500-word article (which, frankly, is a low rate, but by no means the worst I’ve seen). To make rent, you’re going to have to write 50 of those articles a month—more than two every business day.
That’s just to pay your rent. Another 50 articles might cover your other bills and expenses, but now you’re up to five articles—2,500 words—per day. That’s a lot of writing, and there’s no way you’re going to be turning out quality content at that speed… which brings me to my second point.
You Get What You Pay For
When I was growing up, my aunt dabbled in hairdressing. She used to cut my cousins’ hair, as well as my grandfather’s and other relatives’, and if anyone ever complained after she was done, she would simply say, “You get what you pay for.” When you’re getting your hair cut for free, you shouldn’t expect the same results as you’d get at a high-end salon. The same goes for your content.
If you’re only willing to pay $20 for content, you can’t expect quality results.
If you’re only willing to dish out $20 for a blog post, you really can’t expect quality results. Your writer won’t have time to research the topic, plan out the article, interview experts or go over it with a fine-tooth comb. At best, you’re going to get an OK article that will drive some traffic but provide little to no value to your readers.
If that’s all you’re looking for, cool. However, I strive to make my brand synonymous with quality and value. I want to write articles that will not only drive lots of traffic to your site, but will help convert new clients and build positive brand awareness. I simply can’t do that if I have to write five or more articles a day.
A Work in Progress
I’d love to say I’m steadfast in my self-worth and never accept rates lower than what I deserve, but I can’t. I’m still relatively green as freelancers go, and I do occasionally take on jobs at less-than-ideal rates.
Why? Usually because I think the project will provide additional value in the long run. If certain clips will open doors for me down the road, I’ll take the hit and accept a lower pay rate. Other times, it’s just because I’m having a tough month and need to make money wherever I can. I’m a work in progress, but even so, I know my worth, and you should too!