How to Raise Your Freelace Writing Bar and Get the Big Bucks

raise the bar

You know from reading this freelance writing blog and others the most often asked questions have to do with rates. Specifically how to charge more as a freelance writer and how to raise rates on down the line.  It’s easier said than done. We can all say, “raise your rates” or “charge what you’re worth” but many writers either aren’t sure how to go about doing that or lack the confidence to move ahead with their freelance writing careers.

I can’t give you confidence, but I can throw out a few things to consider.

I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to freelance writing. You can poll ten different freelancers and find we all have different experiences. However, if you’re looking to get ahead, break out of a low paying rut and gain the confidence to advance your career, there are several ways to go about doing it.

Let’s look at a few:

Try a gradual change

The thought of going from writing for a web content site to a $1 per word magazine market is intimidating for many. However, who says you have to go that route if that’s not what you’re comfortable with?  Rather than going from Point A to Point Z , stop at C and D and see what that does for your confidence. Try pitching an online magazine, one that pays a better wage. As you continue to achieve higher levels of success and higher levels of pay, your confidence will build to pitch those previously thought to be unreachable goals. You can absolutely go from low pay to extremely high pay, but if this scares you, see what happens at the different levels. Build your experience and your confidence.

Set a monthly income goal

I like goals. Goals keep me focused on the prize. So if it’s my goal to earn $5000 or $7000 in a month, I’ll pinpoint exactly what needs to be done obtain those goals. This might mean finding more lucrative clients, querying a higher paying market or, even, trying out a different type of writing.

Here’s what I learned about earning more money as a freelance writer, you’re not going to earn more doing the same thing day in and day out. You have to set that bar higher with each set of goals. Every few months, explore your monthly income and maybe raise the monthly monetary goal a little more – repeat the cycle. You’ll notice how which each level of pay you’re seeking out different types of clients, and shedding those who aren’t paying enough.

Research other high paid writers and do what they’re doing.

Is there a particular writer who you’d like to emulate? Why does he catch your eye? What is it about his career that that makes you take notice? Figure it out. Research this writer. Find out where he writes and follow a similar path.  If you want to know what makes certain writers successful, ask them. You’ll find most are very approachable thanks to Twitter and email, and many have blogs. In 2010 you don’t have to pay a thing to learn from the best. Instead of sitting around wondering how to earn higher rates, take matters into your own hands. Learn where the higher paying jobs are, and do whatever it takes to land them.

Look beyond the job boards

Freelance writing jobs aren’t only advertised on job boards. Writers have different methods for finding work. most of the time it has to do with finding the places that hire freelance writers and taking the initiative. Don’t wait for clients to come to you.  If there are businesses, websites or markets you wish to write for, contact the owner or editors. Ask for writers guidelines or if you can set up a meeting. I know that sounds challenging, but you’re not going to land those lucrative opportunities by wishing for them. You have to take action.

More education

If the reason you’re stuck in a low paying rut is because you don’t feel you know enough about writing or writing opportunities to approach bigger gigs, you might consider school. I don’t mean matriculating or investing millions of dollars for advanced degrees (unless you’re into that), but there are excellent offline and online courses available for freelance writers. Brush up on your grammar, learn about marketing, small business management, querying and so much more.

Try passive forms of income

One way many freelance writers are earning nowadays is through passive forms of income such as building websites, blogs, books,  ebooks, courses and workbooks. The beautiful thing about passive income is that you continue to earn, but don’t necessarily have to continue to work. Why not explore the different ways you can bring in passive income with your writing?

Do one brave thing each month

Freelance writing took me way out of my comfort zone. I can tell you it wasn’t easy for me to write a pitch or sell myself to potential clients. In fact, I probably would have started freelancing earlier if I wasn’t so afraid. I can’t tell you what I was afraid of the most, but probably communicating with potential clients, rejection or just having to do something I never did before. However, I can tell you that once I received my burst of bravery and went for the first gig, the rest was icing.

What if you made a vow to do one brave thing each month? You could try querying a magazine you felt was way out of your reach or cold calling a potential client. It could be taking that first step and applying for your first gig. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you try to do something to achieve better opportunities.

You’ll be nervous, you may even receive rejection, but after the first few times you’ll wonder what you were so afraid of in the first place. Not all of us are aggressive with the sales tactics and not all of us have the confidence to just go out and get something. With practice it’s not as difficult.

Don’t look for the same rate, look for a higher rate

If you’re looking to earn more as a freelance writer, why are you still trying to land gigs paying the same rate?

Here it is, the plain and simple truth: If you don’t want to earn $20 an hour, stop accepting $20 per hour gigs. If you don’t want to earn $50 an hour, stop accepting $50 gigs. Draw a line in the sand and don’t cross it for any reason. Every now and then you need to give yourself a raise.  Stop looking for simple projects and let existing clients know it’s time for a periodic rate increase.

It really can’t be put in simpler terms,. If you want to earn more money seek higher paying opportunities.

Now tell us, what are you going to do to raise your bar?


3 responses
  1. Jessie Haynes / JHaynesWriter Avatar

    I’ve managed to “meet” all of my freelance writing heroes thanks to the availability provided by email and Twitter. I also do a lot of market research by Googling their brands and researching their visibility tactics. Always good to learn from the best.
    .-= Jessie Haynes / JHaynesWriter´s last blog ..Formula Alone is Not Enough – A Freelance Writer is More than a Word Robot =-.

  2. Raechel Avatar

    I really like the idea of doing one brave thing each month. I easily get stuck in a rut and don’t branch out to the unknown. I’m going to set a goal of trying one brave thing next month. Thanks Deb for the idea/inspiration!
    .-= Raechel´s last blog ..Signs of a Less Than Perfect Client =-.

  3. Anne Wayman Avatar

    One brave thing a month (or if I’m feeling extra powerful a week) works even works for those of us who are better paid than most. Love it. Deb, you ought to sell a bumper sticker that says that… I’d buy one.
    .-= Anne Wayman´s last blog ..7 Must-Have Books For Writers – Resource Roundup Tuesday =-.

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