Early on in your writing career, you might be willing to take what you can get when it comes to rates and expectations. As you build your career and your business, learning the ins and outs of negotiating is critical, not only so that you’re getting paid what you’re worth, but also so that you’re not taking on more than you can handle.
Handling the Dreaded Rate Question
Life is easy when a client hands you a rate or tells you what he or she is going to pay for a set amount of words. You have the option of taking the gig at the proposed rate or saying “no thanks.” Things get a little bit trickier when the client asks you for your going rate or asks you what you’ll charge, without giving you much information about the gig or about what the budget is.
There are two ways to deal with the rate question. One of my favorites is to go high. List an amount that makes you suck in your breath a little. Stick with that amount until the client responds. Don’t second guess yourself, like this blogger did. If the client balks at it, hey, you probably didn’t want to write for him or her anyway. If he or she tosses back another number to you, you’re in business.
The second way to handle the rate question is to feel the client out. Ask for the budget on the project, so that you get an idea of what he or she is expecting to pay. If you’re expecting $50 per blog post and the client reveals that the budget is actually $1250 for 10 posts, you then have a better chance asking for $100 per post. If he or she responds that the budget is $100 for 10 posts, you might want to duck out while you still can.
Give a Little, Take a Little
Negotiation is all about the give and take. You might want $100 per post and your client might only be able to pay $50. In that case, he or she might have to give you something for you to take the job. For example, you might work with the client to get a longer deadline. Instead of turning a $100 job around in five days, maybe you’ll turn a $50 job around in 10 days. On the flip side, if the client agrees to pay you $100 when he or she only wanted to pay $50, perhaps you’ll agree to turn a 10 day job into a five day job.
Have Evidence of Your Worth in the Freelance Content Writing World
The freelance content writing world is a tough one. For every writer who can command a decent rate for his or her work, there’s a bunch of people willing to write 500 words for pennies. When you’re getting into the negotiating game, you need to bring along proof that you’re worth those extra dollars.
Have a portfolio full of samples at the ready that demonstrates the high quality of work you do. Go ahead and ask past clients for reviews or testimonials, so that a new client can see how valuable you are. Negotiating is about more than just dollars and cents. It’s also about proving to the client that you’ll be able to do the job better than anyone else.
Amy F is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia, PA. Her favorite topics to write about include personal finance, gardening and health.