If there's one thing that befuddles freelance writers both new and experienced, it's the vexing challenge of setting your rates. Few writers are confident when it comes to pricing their own services.
Unfortunately, if you're not confident with pricing, you'll never have the writing career that you could have.
Let's look at three tips which will help you.
1. Beginner, Experienced, or Pro? Assess Your Skills
Most writers wear blinkers when it comes to marketing: they rarely take the time to think about what skills they have, and how much those skills are worth in the marketplace.
Here's what I tell my writing students who are terrified of rate-setting: "It doesn't matter what fees you charge; the marketplace ALWAYS decides what you're worth. So pick a number."
Whether beginning writer, experienced or pro, assessing your skills is your first challenge. Work out which markets you should be writing for according to the skills you already have, and the amount of money you want to make. (Writing takes time, intelligence and energy, you might as well be well paid for it.)
Your skills will improve as you write, as long as you remember that writing means studying and learning, too. A wit once said that being a writer was like always having homework, and that's more true than ever today.
Why do you need to study and learn? Simply because the vast field of writing is changing as rapidly as the world changes. All roads lead to the web these days, and the web is a large complicated beast. You must develop the skills you need.
2. Write Your Positioning Statement
"Positioning statement" is a marketing term. Your positioning statement describes where you fit into the market: what you bring to the table which differentiates you from other writers.
It's worth spending time developing your positioning statement. If you're completely new writer, you'll need some help with this. Get that help.
3. How Much MUST You Make Per Hour?
Unfortunately again, nine out of ten writers simply don't have a clue. It's a figure you must be keenly aware of, especially if you're a full-time writer, because if you don't generate that amount consistently, you'll go broke.
Big tip: if you're a full-time writer, you won't actually be writing for 40 hours a week. You'll find that the maximum number of writing hours you have turn out to be around 20 hours per week. This is because writers do a lot of housekeeping chores which have nothing to do with writing.
For example, you need to communicate with prospective clients, create quotations for them, and interact with current and past clients. Many of these housekeeping chores are not chargeable. You also need to find writing jobs by marketing your services.
Therefore, if you set your base rate at $80 per hour and assume that you'll be in the pink because that's potentially $3,200 per week, think again.
Pricing your writing services is a skill which develops with experience. If you remember that the marketplace ultimately always decides, you'll be a lot less nervous about it.