There are plenty of benefits to pursuing a career as a freelance writer. Huge perks like location independence, being your own boss, and the potential to increase your earnings exponentially year after year.
My recent article A Freelance Writing Action Plan for Quitting Your Day Job challenged you to find your own unique motivations for success and put together a plan to reach your goals. Check it out if you missed it!
Today’s post will explore a very important aspect of your success plan – setting your professional freelance writing rates.
Let’s face it, if you want to experience the benefits that come with this career choice you’ll need to charge professional rates as quickly and confidently as possible.
You CAN Charge Professional Rates for Your Writing
First of all, it’s important to realise you CAN charge professional rates. Believing you’re doomed to scrape around for low paying writing jobs is a limiting belief that needs to be quashed.
With the rise of content mills and the countless offers of low-paid writing work on job boards and social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that making good money from writing is a pipe dream.
The truth is there are countless well-paid writing jobs available. If you have some talent for writing – and are willing to consistently work to improve your skills – you can find work that will pay professional rates.
So, with all that in mind, how much do YOU need to charge to achieve the lifestyle you desire? And what exactly are professional rates? Read on to find out more …
Calculating Your Professional Rates
One of the first things you need to understand is that your hourly rate as a freelancer and the hourly rate you’d get working for an employer are not the same. Let me explain.
If you’re working a day job and freelance writing on the side, it’s easy to compare the hourly rate you make at work with your hourly rate for writing. Even if you’re freelancing full-time, this can still be a problem.
It’s easy to see why this happens; whether consciously or subconsciously you’re setting your hourly rate based on a real-life comparison with what you’ve previously made.
But you’re not seeing the bigger picture.
If you work for an employer you’ll get a full employment package that has lots of benefits you don’t receive as a freelancer. Things like sick and holiday pay, health insurance, office equipment, professional development, annual raises, bonuses, pension payments … and the list goes on.
Of course, not all jobs offer all of these, but you’d be surprised at the list of benefits most jobs provide – some of which you might have overlooked.
As a freelancer, you’ll have to reach into your pocket to pay for things such as computer and office equipment, all your utility bills, and insurance – not to mention courses and books to help you improve your craft.
And remember, every day you take off for sickness or holidays will be unpaid.
The Magic Number
If all this is starting to sound a bit bleak, don’t worry! Remember, you can set professional rates and get paid well. You just need to work out your numbers.
The Freelancer’s Hourly Rate Calculator is a great little tool that comes in handy when you’re ready to set your rates. Simply plug in your currency, business expenses, personal expenses, billable hours and savings goals, and the tool will do the rest.
The figure you’ll be left with is your ideal hourly rate.
This is your professional hourly rate. Why? Because it’s the rate at which you can provide your professional writing services and support your lifestyle.
Remember, this rate is your baseline. Use it as the minimum hourly rate you can afford to accept. Over time you can raise your rates further, and experiment with premium pricing methods to really ramp things up.
To reach that level and build your career, first work out your professional hourly rate. Trust me, freelance writing gets a lot more fun when you start to earn good money for your efforts!
Have you set your professional hourly rate, or do you plan to set it soon? Let us know in the comments!