One of the most difficult aspects of becoming a freelancer is figuring out the correct rates. It really is a fine balance; you want them to be low enough to be competitive and attract customers, but high enough for it to be worth your while and cover costs.
The good news is that when it comes to freelancing writing, there is a demand for pretty much every price bracket. There are a *lot* of freelancers on Fiverr offering drastically low rates, but the quality will often be much lower as well. Equally, there are professional niche writers with a degree or doctorate who are able to charge very high rates. There is the right customer out there for each of these markets and everything in between.
As a writer, there are a variety of different ways to charge – generally either by the word, by the hour or by project. There are definite pros and cons to each. Personally, 90% of the time I charge by the word as it’s the simplest option, especially when using freelancing sites such as Fiverr.
Here is the process I use to set my rates (to charge by the word):
- Research. Find out what others with a similar level of expertise to you, or who write similar content are charging for a rough idea of what price bracket you’re looking at (although you don’t have to go for the same as everyone else!)
- Figure out (or guess!) how many words you can write in an hour. When I started, this was a little lower than what I can do now. You might have an idea from writing essays at Uni or your own blog. It doesn’t have to be super accurate – you’ll get a better picture once you’ve got a few orders under your belt!
- Decide how much you’d like to earn per hour. Don’t undersell yourself; if you feel as though the pay is worth the time you’re spending on a project, you’re much more likely to do a great job and have increased job satisfaction. There are a few things to consider here. Firstly, does the platform you’re using take commission? Fiverr, for example, takes 20%, so set your rates 20% higher that what you want to take home. Also consider exchange rates if you’re going to be paid in dollars or another foreign currency. Do this from the outset and make it a habit. You don’t want to end up underpaid because of commission or exchange rates.
- Divide your hourly figure by the number of words you can write in one hour. And there you have it – your price per word! You may want to jiggle this around a bit or perhaps lower it slightly as an incentive for larger orders (I do this), but it’s a good baseline to work from.
- Review you rates regularly. As your experience builds, so should your rates. I know for a fact that my work now is much better than it was a year ago when I started, and my rates have risen to reflect that. Don’t be afraid to raise your prices and charge what your work is really worth.
Sure, setting your freelance writing rates can be daunting in the beginning, but just remember that whatever you decide on is not set in stone. The great thing about working for yourself is that there is room to adjust your prices if you think you need to. So yes, plan it out carefully in the beginning, but there’s no need to overthink it!
Fellow freelancers – do you use another method to set your rates or have any tips you could offer? Please feel free to comment or message me with any suggestions!