Making a living as a freelance writer has its perks. Work to your natural rhythms. Travel. Grow from competition. Meet some great people.
It’s why so many of us are drawn to it.
It also has its lows, mainly the stress of putting enough projects together to earn enough money to make a living.
All of this, however, comes down to this question: how much should I charge? The answer is two-fold.
Experience as a Freelance Writer
I wish I could tell you there was a formula to this. Or even a standard. There really isn’t. I mean, on average I think writers charge $50/hour. But what it really comes down to is experience.
If you have very little experience, then $50 is high. You might be worth $25/hour. On the other hand, if you have a ton of experience (keep in mind, this doesn’t always equate into quality work), then you could easily get away with charging $100-$500/hour.
Exorbitant prices, but you are famous. People love you. And want you.
The thing you have to keep in mind is what will the market handle? If demand for writers was off the charts, then greenhorns could get away with $100/hour. When demand is low, however, $15/hour may be more realistic.
The Customer’s Budget
The other thing you have to think about is your customer. Big brands with deep pockets won’t flinch at $100/hour. A non-profit, on the other hand, will ask if you were joking.
What I’ve found to work really well is simply to ask the customer if they have a budget. This will tell you how much money they want to spend. You then need to decide if you can work inside that budget.
I like this approach because you are in control. You are not showing your cards, but getting them to show you theirs.
And if someone flinches at your rates, tell them you will back your work with a majestic amount of customer service. Better yet, tell them that BEFORE you tell them your rates.
Your Real Concern Isn’t Money
Here’s the deal: for new writers experience is more important than money. Cash flow isn’t the concern–obscurity is. That means you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get a few jobs under your belt.
Even if that means working for minimum wage.
What do you think? Do you have experience setting freelance writer rates? Share your secrets.