After 6 years of developing in the freelancing environment, I understand that the freelancers who sell the most expensive are not technically the best (nor those who have the most experience). It may sound counterintuitive, but I have seen freelancers who are very skilled in their field become paralyzed when it comes to selling themselves and spend their time selling their prices…
Conversely, I have seen freelancers start out, position themselves well in the market and succeed in selling assignments at high prices (with a daily rate of over €500 in their first year of activity).
The question of freelance rates is central. The freelancer who knows how to set a fair price for his services is a freelancer who:
- To thrive in one’s activity and feel valued by one’s customers;
- To be able to anticipate potential short bursts and take leave when needed;
- Keep the cash you need to grow your business and envision new projects.
In this article, I share 5 strategies for increasing your rates, regardless of your experience and skill level. I will focus my argument on freelancers in copywriting/copywriting, but my advice will be valid regardless of your field.
let’s go !
Strategy n°1: Work on your credibility and your perceived value
Your credibility is the first project to start in order to increase your rates.
A mission is a trust transaction: Customer calling your services trusts you to help solve their problem (improving conversions, increasing traffic, etc.).
What you have to understand is that by calling you the customer is going to make a bet. Before starting the mission, he can’t know whether it will work or not.
In choosing the right freelancer, So he will choose the one who sends him the best credibility signal.
What does this mean for you as a freelancer? How to return these good signs of credibility?
If a client is looking for a copywriter, he will try to see which freelancer he likes best in the subject. Simply put, once you’ve established a contact with him, he’ll type your name on Google and see the results.
At this point, you will gain points and increase your credibility if this customer finds the text you write and considers it to be of quality.
Logic. He’s about to call you on a mission, he needs to be confident and judge your work in advance. The more he considers that your work is of high quality, the more likely he is to accept a higher price.
So the first strategy to increase your rates is to write down the type of content your clients request from you as part of the assignment.
This can be done in several ways:
- If you are the editor, you can create a blog and publish great articles focused on your topic;
- If you are a copywriter specializing in email sequences, you can write a fictional email sequence for a company in your industry. and then share this sequence on your site;
- If you are a LinkedIn ghostwriter, you may be posting great posts on your own profile on a regular basis.
you get the idea.
The principle is to publish excellent content, which is designed to please your customers and increase the level of credibility in your area.
Put yourself in your customer’s place, envisioning the content they want to read and write directly.
Block yourself one day a week for this exercise, repeat it over time and you will see your rate gradually increasing.
Strategy #2: Find Better Customers
This strategy may sound silly, but believe me, it is not.
I see a lot of freelancers stubbornly targeting, prospecting and working with companies that don’t have the budget to pay them well.
Because yes, it’s a fact, some companies don’t have a budget. Others have the budget but don’t see the point of creating content or improving their copywriting. Still others understand the interest of writing, but don’t want to invest and exploit paid freelancers with a catapult.
If you’re targeting these types of companies (and there are plenty of them), your efforts to raise your rates are in vain.
But the good news is that there are also plenty of customers out there who understand your value, value your skills, and are willing to pay you a decent rate.
The other good news is that to build a stable freelance business, you don’t need 50 clients. You only need 2 or 3 clients per month, who pay you fairly.
So if you feel that a company is not convinced with your services and does not have the budget, do not insist. Try to understand what category it might fall into (very small business, beginner sole trader, local artisan, SME not exactly digital, etc) and stay away from it.
Conversely, try to understand which categories have the budget and pay your freelancers well.
From experience, I can tell you that growing companies, especially those that raise money, fall into this good category. They are digital, have a budget, understand their worth and are used to working with freelancers.
There are many other types of companies like this, it depends on the sectors and it is up to you to find them.
But keep in mind that certain types of customers may not be able to pay you well. it’s not serious ; They are not necessarily your customers.
Strategy n°3: Build Case Studies of Good Practices
This strategy expands on the first strategy I presented.
The idea is to identify companies in your area that use and execute strategies that are relevant to you. Next, you’ll create a case study to unpack how it works.
This material will allow you to:
- Show off your skills, your understanding of the field and strengthen your credibility;
- Want your prospect to use a similar strategy (since it’s a hit for his opponent!)
- And therefore, want to call him to you at an attractive price.
By reading your case study, your prospects will think that you fully understand the problems in this area. And, by union, they’ll think you’re the right person to solve them.
Strategy n°4: Stand out in the way you hold prospects
There are many myths surrounding prospecting.
Here is a small selection of the most common misconceptions:
- Believing that it is essentially a boring activity (false: it can be intellectually appealing to explain a prospect, especially to a copywriter)
- assuming you need to be a nag and aim for quantity (false: a freelancer only needs 2 or 3 clients per month)
- Believing that prospecting is the solution to being proactive in an emergency, when “it’s bullshit” (false: a good freelancer spends his weeks anchoring a prospecting routine and constantly trying to start new discussions).
I’m personally amazed to see that most freelancers don’t even try Prospect. They like to struggle while waiting for the mission to fall from the sky.
Again, if you are freelancing; You don’t need 1,000 customers. You only need two or three a month to pay well. And there’s nothing more effective than highly targeted prospecting, with very personal messages, to win them over.
Never forget that your prospects have problems to solve and you are there to bring them solutions!
And I can guarantee you that many, many companies are struggling to find good content/writing/copywriting freelancers.
With a well written and well targeted email, I can guarantee that your prospecting can bring you huge results.
If you need inspiration for writing your prospecting email, I invite you to watch this video in which I present a company prospect by filming my screen:
However, there is one major downside to prospecting: Time taken to identify relevant and interesting possibilities.
That’s why I created a private newsletter called Pygmalion.
At the rate of once a month, I send clients 10 analyzes of growing French startups, Hiring Content Marketing Freelancers Who Will Have the Requirements and Budget (or writing, copywriting, etc.).
- I save clients dozens of hours of research on the most time-consuming part of prospecting: finding and qualifying their prospects;
- They only promote companies that interest them and that fall within their range of competence (I target different sectors and needs)
- Selected companies have just raised funds and have the means to pay their freelancers at the rate they deserve.
the strongest ? If clients don’t find a good paying job via newsletter, I reimburse them!
If you’re interested, visit this page to discover Pygmalion, the goldmine for freelancers who build a stable and sustainable activity.
Strategy #5: 10% increase with each new mission
Finally, I would like to address an important point in the definition of value: the emotional aspect.
It’s natural to sell your services at a higher price but better than nothing. This often raises doubts and questions about his legitimacy as a freelancer. “What?! €500 a day? But nobody gets paid that much!”
Instead of increasing your prices all at once (by doubling or tripling), I suggest you increase them gradually.
A good way to do this is to increase your daily rate by 10% with each new mission.
- This is a sufficiently reasonable increase to not cast doubts about your own legitimacy;
- It stays within your normal price range, you won’t notice a drastic change (if you go from 200 to 220, that’s fine);
- But it is still a development that goes in the right direction and after 4-5 consecutive growth of 10%, it will start getting very interesting for you!
maintain steady growth
So here are my 5 tips for increasing your rates as a freelance copywriter/editor. You’ve seen they can be adapted for any other profession (dev, designer, etc.).
Keep in mind that your potential customers want their problems solved and are willing to pay a high price for quality solutions!
About the Author
Valentin Decker is the founder of Sauce Writing, an online school to accelerate your career through writing. He also created Pygmalion.club to help freelance writers deliver better assignments.