How Freelancers Can Command Higher Rates for Their Work
One of the main questions I get asked by freelancers and coaching clients is how they can begin to command higher rates for their work. More specifically, they are tired of seeing rates like $15 for posts that are 2,000 words.
The good news is there are plenty of ways for you to put yourself in a position where you can command higher rates for your work. Some of it may require a little courage and sweat equity on your part, but it is well worth it.
Step 1: Be unapologetic about your rates.
The best way to command higher rates for your work is to be unapologetic about it. Note, this does not mean be a jerk. It simply means to be assertive. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s a problem I see often with freelancers so it bears repeating.
Being assertive does not mean you are putting yourself above other people. Nor, does it mean that you put yourself below other people (this is where people succumb to much lower rates than they are comfortable with out of fear). Being assertive simply means you value yourself as much as you value the other party.
Besides, talking about rates is just business. There’s no need to put emotion into it and if both sides understand this, then no matter which way it goes, you’re both fine.
Step 2: Be willing to walk away.
Being able to command higher rates often times looks like breaking the cycle of accepting lower rates to begin with. Granted, there are instances in which a lower rate is okay, but there must be some huge benefits like having your work featured on a major news outlet or something (which you can then use to command higher rates).
I’m talking specifically talking about rates where you can’t even pay your bills or are working way too hard for too little money. These are the habits that need to be broken, and it’s up to you to walk away from situations like these.
For example, I recently had a prospect who asked me for my current rates. I told them, and they said the most they were willing to pay was for below that. Since there was no other benefit involved and the work required wouldn’t be worth it, I told them “I cannot accept that. Good luck in your endeavors and if you ever change your mind let me know.”
Granted, I’ll probably follow up with them in a couple of months because sometimes they still can’t find a writer and at that point will be willing to pay more. I’ve had this happen more than once.
Final Step: Build your own brand.
I’ve mentioned this before as well, but I still see freelancers dropping the ball here. Or, they are just procrastinating on it.
Either way, if you aren’t working on building your own brand then you’re leaving money on the table. Not only are you forgoing opportunities for sponsorship, affiliate sales, ad revenue, etc., you’re also missing the opportunity to charge your freelance clients more money.
One of the reasons I can command higher rates for my work is because I have a solid brand with a solid social media following. I’ve put in the work to become an expert in my field and it shows. If you want to command higher rates, you need to do the same.