What a week. I’m working with a new client on a project launch, which means they need content. Lots of content. The launch is in two weeks. They need eight articles by Monday and three more by April 29th. Most are short articles, but three are features, and two of those are due in less than a week. I’m out of my mind with getting interviews for the larger ones organized and the writing for the smaller ones completed.
Then there’s the other project, which was just ramped up from two projects to eight per month. Caffeine — that’s how I’m getting through it.
In the middle of it all, I’m getting other offers from various clients. It’s when I’m faced with that glorious dilemma we freelancers live for — how much can I accept and still keep the quality up?
There’s another dilemma that arises out of it, and it’s one I have much less trouble with these days — what to charge.
A number of years ago I was juggling a similar workload and receiving multiple offers for work. It was my husband who put it into perspective quite succinctly:
If you’re overworked, raise your rates.
Seems like a weird concept, but here’s how it makes sense:
You look serious. You should already look serious, but nothing says “This is a real writing professional” than a busy writer whose rates are acceptable to larger companies. That’s the perception you want clients to have.
You identify serious players. Not every client who gets in touch is going to have the $150/hour you require. Those who do are clients worth building relationships with. Not that clients whose budgets are lower aren’t desirable — they are, and for reasons we’ll get into — but building a business involves increasing your value and your rates.
You gain more negotiating power. When you’re at your busiest, it’s much easier to assert yourself the way you need to in order to get to a better place in your business. If you’ve nothing to lose in the immediate future, you’ll be more inclined to increase your rates (when was the last time you did, anyway?), turn down work that doesn’t fit, and get a dialogue going with client prospects you’d like to work with in the future.
You impress clients who won’t pay you enough. There’s always one client who won’t be able to pay you a ton of money. That’s okay, though it’s not okay when you’re taking on more work than you can handle. Still, some of the lower-paying clients may also have a lot of projects for you, so you don’t want to deter them completely. The goal is to send the message that they’d be smart to hire you before someone else does. If the message is lost on them, they weren’t your client.
Writers, when was the last time you raised your rates?