When I first started as a freelance writer, I took any job I could get.
I didn’t care if it only paid $.05 a word—I was happy to write a 1,000-word article for $50 and thought I hit the lottery doing it. But after a while, I started to take on more clients at the same rate. The workload increased, but the amount of money I was making didn’t. Soon after, I landed a client who started paying me $.10 a word and my whole mindset changed.
How could I keep writing at the lower rate when I knew there were clients out there who paid double, triple, even four times what I was originally charging? Eventually, I got to a point where I had to set a new rate for myself, and any clients who offered one lower, I had to turn down.
In fact, I had to really set the pace with a recent client who found my work through a competitor whose content they wanted to develop for their own site. Ultimately, landing them (at the rate I wanted) relied on my not being afraid to stick to what I had set up for myself.
Maybe through my own story, you can forge a new plan for your own freelance work and start making the kind of money you deserve!
Landing a High-Paying Client to Start
So, it all started when a client reached out to me after I had written two articles for them a year before about supply chain management.
The first two articles they sent me, each one paid about $.80 per word, so for 500 words, I was pulling in a nice return. Anyway, to make a long story short, they loved the articles and then wanted me to write a set of 8 articles for a new campaign they were running this next time.
In total, they offered me $4,000 for the whole project. For 8 articles, at 500 words apiece, that’s roughly $500 a pop or $1 per word. Now, in most cases, a client won’t be able to pay you this much for writing work, but the fact is that this particular client, for this specific industry, had set a rate they thought was fair for my services, and I agreed with it.
Fast forward to two weeks later and all the articles were written. The client was happy, I was happy, and we all moved onto the next project.
Then, about 5 months later, a new client reached out to me wanting a year’s worth of content based on the same industry. They told me that they found my articles for the previous client and were very motivated to get things rolling. However, when it came time for me to give them my rate, I wasn’t afraid to keep my composure.
Always Build Up, Never Back Down
We went through the scope of what they wanted, and when it came time to discuss my rate, I told them without hesitation, “$1 per word.”
The other end of the phone went silent.
I held back from speaking until the client clarified. “A dollar per word? Umm, is there any flexibility on that?”
Now, of course, as a freelancer, you have to have some wiggle-room to work within a client’s budget, but at the same time, you don’t want to cut yourself out of any potential revenue. I told the client that we could always find a rate that worked for them, but yes, $1 per word was ideal.
And again, this is based on what the other client had paid me according to that industry. This is really the reason why it’s appropriate to set a rate so high. You have to consider the level at which you were just working on and then maintain that level for another client who wants the same thing. Now, as I said, it’s good to have some flexibility in what they have to budget, but certainly always build yourself, never back down.
Once the client took a moment to adjust, he stated they were looking for a long-term writer who could deliver articles on a regular, but laidback schedule. With that in mind, he asked if I could cut them a better rate. I took that into consideration, and eventually, we settled on $.70 per word throughout the year. At 500 words apiece ( as a minimum to charge them), that works out to around $350 an article—not bad for a day’s work.
Stick Up for Yourself as a Freelancer
In the end, if you want to start making the kind of money you deserve for your line of work, you have to stick up for yourself as a freelancer.
With a regular 9-to-5 job, it’s your boss or manager that has to decide whether or not to pay you more money, but as a freelancer, you get to decide that for yourself. That said, you can’t just charge clients anything you want, but once you get enough experience and work with clients who are already paying a certain rate, never be afraid to level the playing field with everyone else.
With Fiverr, you have the opportunity to work with a wellspring of clients who can give you tons of experience to build on. Then, after you’ve had success with your current packages, set a new rate that you think is fair. Or, you can even create unique gig packages for specific clients and industries.
Either way, Fiverr makes it easy to develop the kind of freelance business that brings you success—use it to your advantage!