Do you find yourself asking:
What should I charge?
Most freelancers do.
There are a lot of so-called experts who give you advice on what to charge. I’m going to be blunt. They don’t know shit. (Like how to write proposals that get you booked–> Here)
Okay I’ll be polite. They got it wrong. I’ve read a lot of bloggers and can tell you that very few people have good insight into pricing.
They have no experience with ongoing client work. They don’t have a clue what to charge or how…Because they never have! Instead they spout maxims like,
‘Be a consultant’
‘Be a blogger’
‘Be a social media maven’
If your blogger of choice has posts filled with cheering you on with inspirational messages and cult of personality promises quit reading them.
Shit like that will leave you feeling just as confused as when you started.
I’m going to fix that by giving you three solutions to pricing yourself for maximum profit without losing work.
First I’m going to share a counter-intuitive solution so simple you’ll slap yourself in the head for not doing it. You are going to love this. It also has the added benefit of not having to waste time justifying your price to clients.
The second part will explain how to deal with this problem if you use job boards (IE-Upwork, Fiverr, etc). It covers what you can change to start seeing better results instantly.
Finally, I’ll cover the 3-principles I use to help my students answer the question ‘what should I charge’?
A New Approach To Pricing
Do you want to know the answer to ‘how much should I charge’? Here’s what I think. My opinion is based on my experience replacing a full-time income by working online.
The thing to pricing yourself fairly is not to focus on how much you charge per hour.
‘What?! How much should I charge to bill a client if I don’t have an hourly rate?’
Billing per hour is losing you money. Why? Because you aren’t a commodity. You are a providing a service that delivers a result. It’s hard to understand this if you aren’t in a results-based service (copywriting for example).
A client wants a long-form blog post. They want it to:
*Be 2,000 words long
*The article to be SEO optimized
*And they want you to put it into WP for them.
It’s an easy gig. You can deliver what the client wants quickly. That’s not the issue. The issue is that you can bring even more value to the project.
You not only get them a finished project you also create content that delivers results they hadn’t considered.
You price the project at $650. The client responds back,
‘Your site says you charge $65 an hour. Are you telling me it will take you ten hours to write a blog post?’
What do you do?
If you are me you tell them,
‘The per hour price is placeholder. I charge on the value and results I create. If the price is outside your budget maybe we can pursue a different project.’
If you aren’t used to dealing with clients you freak out.
You pile on a ton of extra work to ‘justify’ your price. By the time you are done, you are doing $1200 worth of work for $650.
That’s why you want to remove the public ‘per-hour’ rate.
This also has a bonus result. Not having a per hour rate also makes it easier for clients to start conversations with you. This digs into the issue a LOT of beginners and semi-experienced people miss.
Clients generally don’t know how to do what they are asking. Or worse, they claim they know how to do it and have experience doing it but don’t have the time (run by these people. run far away)
When you don’t put a per hour price out there you do two things:
1:You keep the client from figuring what the price should be by guessing at how long they think it will take and then pricing the project based on their projection.
Hmmm a blog post. That should take like three hours. At their rate that’s $195.
2:You keep a client from thinking they CAN’T afford you. Clients are just as likely to overestimate how long a project will take and avoid hiring you based on what they imagine a price will be.
A big post. That’ll probably take like twenty hours. Do I really want to pay $1300 for a post?
-Also The Client
Now that we covered that what do you do in places like Upwork where you have to post an hourly rate?
The Upwork Hourly Rate Solution
If you worry this solution won’t apply to Upwork (or any job board) don’t. The same mindset I mentioned above applies to job boards. To make it work you need to make one easy change.
The Easy Job Board Change
You need to curate better clients to send proposals to. This is a big issue for beginners and part-timers. You’ve been there. Hell, we all have. You get caught up in sending proposals and doing interviews and something slips by.
The next thing you know you are in an interview with someone you don’t like but find yourself agreeing to the project. A week later you are near tears begging for help in FB groups on how to leave the contract.
That’s why in my second tutorial teardown Tuesday I discussed signs to look for in a job post before sending a proposal.
Next article I am going to cover why books are the biggest untapped resource you have access to that will help you:
1:Book more gigs
2:And find better quality clients who pay higher rates
With job boards, you should worry less about ‘What should I charge’ and more about who you want to work with. This is something the so-called experts miss. They want you to get work. That’s fine.
The problem with seeing work as just a commodity is you lose sight of the issues bad clients have. When you take these ‘experts’ advice you end up working for clients who waste your time and suck your energy. Knowing who you want to work with will save you a lot of frustration. It guides your growth, keeps you from bad clients, and keeps you focused on your goals.
That means you need to avoid clients looking for, or promising:
*A quick turnaround
*More work if this turns out
Simply put, if a client is promising you things in the job post chances are they aren’t the type of person you want to work with. Why? Because they have experience with freelancer’s fears and are using them against you!
So What Should I Charge
I know we’ve talked a lot so far but haven’t hit on why you are here. But it’s important!
Knowing all the small things above makes everything that comes after so much easier to do!
Okay we covered why you shouldn’t charge by the hour and how to get around the issue of having your per hour pricing up if you work on a job board.
So what should you charge?
It depends on three things:
1:Are you doing ongoing work with the client
If you are signing on for projects where you have ongoing work your client acquisition cost will be higher (IE-the time and energy it takes to find a client will be greater than working with a ‘one-off client).
That means you will get fewer clients so you need to price yourself at the value you want to make a month based off working with fewer clients.
This isn’t brazen permission to overcharge. This is here for you to take a bigger view at what you want to accomplish and what it will take to accomplish them. Getting four clients for $200 gigs sounds amazing! You have a lot of clients, you feel busy, you are answer questions and emails. It feels good.
However, you’d be better off getting one $800 client or two $600 clients. It isn’t as exciting but the pay is better. Remember that the time you spend getting clients you aren’t getting paid for. That’s why you want to make the most of the time you have and focus on pitching to clients that fit into your guidelines like I mentioned earlier!
2:What type of result does your service bring
I’m a conversion copywriter and marketing strategist. I get my clients more leads, sales, and authority in the market.
That is valuable because it not only guides the business it also saves them money knowing what NOT to pursue. I can charge more because the value I bring to clients is returned multiple times.
Think about how your service delivers results. What would the client lose in opportunity costs, revenue, or leads if they got something that didn’t work? What would a bad logo, a terrible sales page, a poorly designed marketing plan cost them?
Knowing what you bring to the table makes it easier to provide a larger price than your competition. It also makes it easier to remain firm when clients ask for discounts. We’ll cover this more in a bit.
You should charge in relation to your experience. If you are a first-year freelancer your rates aren’t set at $45/hr.
However, it could be your first year freelancing but your service is something you have ten years experience in. Remember charge the value of your experience not how long you’ve been freelancing.
I did direct mail copywriting for my entertainment business. I started Upwork with copywriting experience but no experience in online sales. I charged $65/hr because I knew the strategies and implementation but not well enough to guarantee results.
As my experience grew my price went up. I jumped to $95/hr, then $125/hr. Now I don’t take projects smaller than $1500/day.
So what’s the answer to ‘what should I charge’?
Charge in relation to your experience and the value you bring. Authority is worth more than labor.
How One Free Resource 10X’S Your Authority
Do you want to increase your authority without spending thousands of dollars on training and coaches?
Next blog post will cover the one thing I do EVERY MONTH to build authority that costs less than the price of one lunch!