For many freelance writers, an hourly rate is something to think about. Many of us charge a flat rate for an article or even charge by the word. Even many freelance editors choose to charge by the page, depending on the type of editing to be done, rather than charging an hourly rate.

While you may not charge an hourly rate, it can still be useful to know what your hourly earnings might be. This can help you as you set rates for the future and can give you a helpful frame of reference.

Why I Don’t Set Hourly Rates

As a freelance writer, having an hourly rate defeats the purpose. One of the reasons that I work for myself is so that I can set my own hours and so that I can work less well making more. An hourly rate wouldn’t allow me to do that. Right now I can make more money by charging a higher article rate, or by increasing my efficiency and getting more done in an hour. I can even do both. Limiting myself to an hourly rate means that I can only make so much money.

Some freelancers find that an hourly rate makes sense for them. I know many graphic designers and software developers that work on an hourly basis. This works for them because one never knows how long a project will take. For the most part, I know how long it will take to write something. As a result, it makes more sense for me to charge per article or per project.

Figuring My Hourly Rate

Just because I don’t charge on an hourly basis it doesn’t mean that I don’t pay attention. It makes sense to figure out your hourly rate as a freelancer. Track the time it takes for you to write your posts so that you can determine how much money you make per hour.

One of the easiest ways to figure out your hourly rate is to average out how long it takes you to complete one post and average out how much you charge per post. If you would normally take one hour to complete a post and you charge $75 for that post, it’s pretty clear that you may $75 per hour. If you can’t complete two posts in an hour, then your rate just jumped to $150 per hour.

I don’t always charge the same amount for each post, however. I charge clients less than others. Additionally, there are some posts that take longer to do. A lot of the time I will simply pay attention to how much time I spent writing each day and add up how much I made. So if I spend four hours writing one day and all of my posts add up to $650, my hourly rate is $162.50.

One of the reasons I like to track my hourly rate is so that I can see how much progress I am making when it comes to income. This also lets me plan out when I might be able to take a break or work on other projects that don’t offer immediate payment. When I know my hourly rate I can get an idea how much work I need to do in one day in order to pay the bills. Once those bills are paid I am free to work on other things that might bring profit down the road.

Don’t let your freelance status stop you from figuring out your hourly rate. Pay attention and find ways to use the information to your advantage.


I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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