As a freelancer, you have a lot of competition out there. This sometimes means that work isn’t as abundant as you’d prefer and it can be tempting to work for a lower rate just to have an income stream. But you can only work for a discounted rate for so long before you begin to get frustrated with the work that you’re doing. If you’re talented at what you do, you should be getting a rate that fits your skill level.
Regardless of whether you are a writer, graphic artist or computer programmer, here are some ways that you can get paid what you are actually worth.
1. Show Your Expertise with the Questions You Ask
If you take a job and are given only a sentence or two of instructions, you probably won’t be creating what the client actually wants. The problem is, many clients don’t know what they actually want and so they provide instructions that are not specific enough. It is your job as a freelancer to ask questions that will not only show them your expertise and commitment to their satisfaction, it will greatly reduce the number of unsatisfied customers that you have.
Of course, the questions you ask will vary depending upon what service you are providing to them.
2. Know What to Charge
If you don’t know what the going rate is for the type of work that you are doing, you will have a hard time charging what is fair. Often, freelancers find themselves low-balling their bid for a project only to find that the client would have been satisfied with a price that was double what they actually bid.
You’ll also need to decide how you are going to set your rate – per hour, per word or a fixed rate for the entire project.
3. Advertise by Word-of-Mouth
The best way to advertise is not by posting on Craigslist or visiting forums where writing services are bought and sold. Instead, the best way to advertise is to impress every single customer that you do work for, so that they will recommend you to their friends and associates.
Posting on forums means that you will have to keep the same rate or even lower your rate, but when you advertise by word-of-mouth you are going to be in demand and that means that you can set your rates much higher.
4. Offer to Work on a Trial Basis
If you want to show a client how valuable you are, it might be worth it to work for a short time for free. Depending upon what type of service you provide, you might be able to offer an article, a design, a block of code or just an hour of service to show clients that you are the freelancer that they should be working with.
If you are trying to land clients that pay decent rates and have consistent work, this is a great way to attract them and it is definitely worth the unpaid work that you will be doing to get a great long-term client.
5. Offer What Others Don’t
Some of the things you might be able to give clients that no one else does include great communication and the ability to ask the right questions, fast turn-around times, multiple revisions and advice on other aspects of the project that they are working on, to help them get the best result possible. If you can provide clients with the experience that they desire, you will not only improve your chances of getting more work from those clients, you’ll also improve your odds of negotiating for a higher pay rate.
By following the 5 steps that I’ve outlined above, you’ll have customers begging to take your money. Sometimes, I even have to turn down some seriously intriguing software development contracts and offers — but I’ll take that problem any day.
Featured photo credit: markus spiske via flickr.com