Learning and Charging as a Freelancer
I start this new post with the sad news that I lost my job a few weeks ago; this of course means no Surface and of course the next month of struggling. I have effectively cancelled Christmas!
There is some good in all of this however – how, you may ask?
What do you mean you wouldn’t ask? Well ask now, damn it!
Losing my job meant needing to look for another (which I hate doing), but it also meant that I was essentially free for more freelancing work and because of my luck in getting a really good client that pays some big bucks for articles I do, I decided to up my pricing.
As a beginning freelancer, you’ll hear from numerous sites, articles, and people on how freelancers kinda get shafted when it comes to getting paid for the work they do. I think this is especially true for freelance writers, who might be the people behind that copy for a magazine or the person behind the blog you just read; unfortunately some of the work that people are asking, there’s very little pay.
Consider some of the big places for consulting and freelancing work, like eLance or oDesk – while there are a ton of listings for jobs, depending on the job, the pay is incredibly low. I’ve seen ads for thousands of words for a dollar an article. Depending on the actual topic, that really amounts to hours of research and then writing it. All for a shiny George Washington.
My friends have been on me about this, that is charging the correct amount for what I’m worth, for years. It’s what prompted me to move from Arizona to Denver in the first place. So taking this advice, I went on the offensive and began to systematically change all of my hourly rates.
Now, why would I do this?
Well, it’s simple. If one day I want to take this freelancing thing to its heights, it would kinda help that I would just freelance and not have to work in order to pay the bills. I’ve read enough articles to see that freelancing can be a very lucrative career and passion, but it also requires and needs those clients that pay big bucks.
I’ve been lucky that I had a client that paid big bucks, but it was nothing in terms of the client I have now. Making over a hundred dollars for an article is totally awesome and if/when the company allows me to do more, I could count that as a really great resource. But it was this new position and that of losing my job created a new sense of growth. And here are some ways that happened –
Charge What You’re Worth
Now I have certainly been in the position as a new freelancer who went about charging way less than what I and the articles I wrote were worth. I’ve taken writing jobs that were as little as a dollar when I first started and of course, I joined just about every website that was offering work for freelance writers. And then the Google Panda update hit and many of those sites were destroyed as content farms.
I’ll brag – I’m a good writer. I’m the person people come to when they need help in English and it’s the reason my original major in college was going to be English. So if I’m so good, why am I only charging $8 for my work?
Learn New Things
The great thing about freelancing is that there are so many paths that can be taken. My last position showed that I have a very strong interest and enjoyment in social media and, obviously, blogging. I also have an interest in web design. Taking all of that together, I have three different freelancing paths I could (and am) pursuing. If you’ve got the time, try learning something new to help out the brain and the money flow.
It Really is Who You Know
As much as I’d like to say this isn’t true, it unfortunately is. However, it is a testament on how lucky you can be on the social platforms. I had been trying to utilize social media to get more exposure to my writing and ironically, it was through my work profiles that I was able to find the client I have now. Networking helps and sometimes going to networking events just to meet new people or those who share your interests is helpful.
For now, there’s no Christmas till a job has been found!
- Freelancers – wave of the future (loosewireblog.com)
- 7 Resources New Freelancers Can Use to Figure Out What to Charge (freelanceswitch.com)
- Making Extra Cash Using the Internet (fatwallet.com)