If you're a new writer, you're wondering how to set your freelance writing fees. There are no standard rates, so deciding how much to charge when you're starting out is a matter for your own discretion.
Let's look at some things you may want to take into account.
1. How Much Writing Experience Do You Have?
Any experience you have is valuable. If you're writing in your day job, you've gained valuable experience. You may also have experience in blogging. (If you don't have a blog yet, start one immediately -- it's a way for buyers to find you, and to assess your style.)
If you don't have any writing experience, getting that experience is your first step and priority. Writing is just like any other trade or profession: you need to learn your craft, while charging apprentice rates, before you're able to charge professional rates.
I encourage my writing students to get jobs on the outsourcing sites, so that they can collect some testimonials, and can get experience in charging for their words.
2. What's the Buyer's Budget?
Buyers have budgets for projects, so that's the first thing you need to find out. Just ask: "What's your budget for this project?" If the buyer says he doesn't know, persist, and ask the question again.
As a negotiating tactic, the first party to quote a price is at a disadvantage. Keeping the advantage is essential. If the buyer won't give you a figure, tell him to get back to you when he's worked out the project's budget.
3. Can This Job Be a Loss-Leader for You?
You write for money, but sometimes money isn't the sole consideration. Perhaps you want a writing credit from a major publication, and are willing to lower your rates to get it. Or perhaps a company has potential to provide you with on-going work.
If getting a writing job will benefit you in other ways, and if the project is SHORT (takes less than three hours), you may want to consider it a loss-leader, and lower your rates. (Never commit to any writing job longer than three hours at less than your baseline rates. It's not good business practice.)
4. Got Experience and Testimonials? Set Your Baseline Rates
Once you're an experienced freelancer, with testimonials, you can set your baseline rates. These are your rock-bottom fees, below which you can't and won't go.
There are various ways of working them out, based on how much money you need to make per writing hour to stay in business. The fees you set depend on your own circumstances, so use your own discretion.
As you gain freelance writing experience, you'll get more confident in setting your rates. As a beginner, don't worry about it. Just get writing jobs and complete them, and you'll soon be making an excellent income.
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