Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Writers: How to Ask for More Money & Get It (3 Case Studies)

Week before last, I had a helluva week. So, I'm delivering the posts I promised from then this week. If you wanna know what's on tap the rest of the week, see the end of this post. Today's topic is about money, as in how to ask for -- and get -- more of it as a freelance writer.

During my busy time a couple of weeks ago, I had three occasions where I had to confront the “rate question.” Lessons can be learned from each of them. Some reinforced long-ago lessons learned; some taught me new ones.

Here’s how to handle the following rate question and all of its variations, ie, “How much do you charge?” or “How much should I charge?” or "What are your freelance writing rates?"

Case Study #1: How I Asked for More Money and Got It When the Parameters of the Project Changed Midstream

One was with the client I wrote about in the post How to Handle Clients Who Leave Projects "Hanging in the Wind". In essence, the client was throwing more work my way and the project was progressing as we had discussed.

When this happens, it costs you money, so you have every right to ask for more money. I’m usually not a real stickler on charging clients for every little thing. Writing is a creative endeavor, so I understand that every teensy, weensy element can’t be covered in a proposal. So, some things I’ll just let go. But, you have to have parameters.

This reinforced the following lesson: Make air tight proposals. And this includes setting your fee schedule to cover wiggle room in your proposal. In the fee that I’d quoted this client, I’d built in a certain number of hours for consultation, so that if the project “runs over” (and a lot of them will, especially with sales copy), then you’re still covered. And by being covered, I mean that your average hourly rate evens out to what you’ve set as an annual salary for yourself.

To keep it really simple, if your goal is to make $100K/year and you calculate using a 50 week year (build in two weeks time off), then you need to make $2,000/week. At 35 hours, that means you have to bill roughly $58/hour. [$100,000 / 50 (weeks/year) = $2,000 week (target salary). $2,000 / 35 hours per work week = $57.14]

Takeaway Lesson: Learn how to write tight proposals. This is why clients who leave projects hanging in the wind can cost you. BUT, if you learn how to write tight proposals, they don’t necessarily have to.

Tight proposals include listing the major details of the project, your specific duties, turnaround time, payment terms, number of changes, etc. This way, if there’s every a problem, you can always point back to the specifics as they were outlined initially. This will keep you and the client on the same page.

By the way, I handled this client by simply asking for more money. He simplified his requests and agreed to pay more if the project ran over. In the end, it worked out to both of our satisfaction, which is always the end goal.

Click here to read two more case studies like this.

Tomorrow's Post: Learn How to Think Like a Marketer.

FYI, tomorrow's post was inspired by a great email I got when I turned on my computer this morning. A college student who bought my ebook this past weekend has already landed 4 clients! My mouth dropped. But, what really excited me was that he goes on to say that he thinks he can replace his income and be a FT writer. Now THAT'S making an impact on somebody's life (it made my whole day). He wrote me the following:

SEO Work Success!!!‏ (The title of the email)

Hi Yuwanda,

I just wanted to share with you my story, briefly. I am currently a 5th year senior in college, and I’ve been running a (failing) copywriting business for the last year, trying to get work from local businesses in the area. I stumbled across your website last week and bought your eBook because it seemed interesting (and was only 10 bucks). After reading it, I decided to give SEO writing a try.

This afternoon (Monday), I sent out 24 emails to SEO companies requesting work after setting up an SEO page on my website (he listed his website) . Within an HOUR, I had one email requesting samples, and a phone call requesting my services! Within twelve hours, I had FOUR companies asking me to write for them!!! (emphasis added) I’m officially a writer now!

And, because I serve tables for a living, replacing my income won’t be that hard! By the end of this week, I should know whether or not I can go freelance FULL TIME! (emphasis added) And I just wanted to send you an emphatic “thank you” for providing me the blueprint for this. The guy that called me today said I was “in the right profession” right now. I have a profession! And I don’t graduate for another month!

I am terribly thankful that this is working, and I can’t wait to see what other work I can dig up this week. Thank you so much for providing direction for my freelance writing! If there’s any way I can repay you, let me know!


Don't forget to view freelance writing job leads below!

Yuwanda Black, Publisher
How to Start a Successful Freelance Writing Career Newsletter
P.S: Want to learn how to make at least $250/day writing simple 500-word SEO articles? Read how here.
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