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3 Easy Steps to Increasing Your Freelance Writing Rates

By Daryl

There are many of you who feel that you’re not making enough as freelance writers. You slave away at the computer, head bowed, elbows aching, and eyes watering from clattering away at your keyboard for that client who promised you “bulk work” in the form of 50 articles for the princely sum of $5 apiece.

Yes, I’m talking to you.

You know that you deserve better. You know that there’s no way you can make a decent living by churning out a bunch of low paying articles. To add insult to injury, you probably won’t even get a byline on the content you’re producing – even if you wanted to, since the quality is greatly suffering from the quick turnover necessary to make a halfway decent rate.

But there’s a glimmer of hope: you can raise your freelance writing rates. You don’t have to write for pennies. You can make a decent living writing and without subjecting yourself to the stress and pressure of having to write article after article in order to make minimum wage.

Yes, I’m talking to you.

So listen up, get a little closer and I will share three simple steps for raising your freelance writing rates.

Step 1 – Ditch the starving writer mindset

Many writers begin their careers with a number of limiting beliefs and a disadvantageous mindset. Possibly the worst of these is the idea that the going rate for freelance writing is a penny a word.

This could not be further from the truth.

In fact, the Editorial Freelancers Association estimates that the average rates for non-specified writing starts at $.20 per word! Meanwhile, popular writer and blogger Carol Tice suggests that new writers charge $50 per hour.

The reality is that there are many writers who make a decent living through writing. There is no need to charge a penny a word, as there are many clients willing to pay decent rates for a quality piece of content.

This takes me to my second point:

Step 2 – Target new, higher paying markets

Targeting higher paying markets is of course critical to increasing your freelance writing rates. Many freelance writers become frustrated because of the difficulty in finding higher paying clients. The truth is they simply neglect to change the market that they target. You are unlikely to be able to find high paying clients on the same bidding sites or job boards where you found your previous low paying clients.

What you need to do is to target new clients and markets. This can be done through methods such as sending letters of introduction and queries directly to clients with a budget that would match your expected rates.  If you don’t know where to start, Bamidele Onibalusi provides a great guide of websites that pay a decent wage to writers.

Step 3 – Let go your low paying clients

There’s no way around it. In order to raise your freelance writing rates, you must gradually let go the low paying clients that you already have. This will then free up time for you to take on higher paying clients that will allow you to raise your overall rates.

By all means, let your low paying clients know that you will be happy to work with them, provided that they are fine with paying your higher rates.

But by and large, low paying clients aren’t willing to up their rates for the simple fact that they can’t afford to. Their need for decent copy is often secondary to their limited budget, and more than likely they will be happy to move on to the next freelance writer who can produce halfway decent content. Even though ditching your low paying clients may bring about a level of uncertainty, it is absolutely necessary in order to move on to the next level of your higher paid career. If you need more advice on how to say goodbye to low paying clients, check out Carol Tice’s helpful article.

 

There you have it: with three easy steps, you can be well on your way to increasing your freelance writing rates. Do you have any other tips that have helped you to raise your rates? Please reply below, I’d love to hear from you.

Daryl George is a freelance writer and blogger who believes in the power of the internet to change people’s lives  for the better. When he’s not writing about freelance related topics, you can find in immersed in the world of business. In 2011 he completed a Master’s Degree in Consumer Psychology, a cutting edge course that combines marketing with human behaviour. He’s also a short story writer and enjoys coming up with new scenarios for his characters. You can find him chilling out on the beach on the Caribbean country of Antigua, where he currently resides. 

He currently runs two websites, darylgeorge.com and freelancewriterstartup.com.

Category: freelance writing

11 Comments on "3 Easy Steps to Increasing Your Freelance Writing Rates"

  1. Christopher says:

    I had not written in years, so started earlier this year with low-paying clients to “get back on the bicycle”. It truly is thankless work, but also a good primer. I’m now busy populating my website/blog, and moving on to higher paying clients.

    Good article and great advice.

  2. Daryl says:

    Thanks Chris.

    My only problem with getting started with low paying clients is that it sometimes becomes very difficult to leave them. They often take a LOT of time when you could just as easily be pitching to higher paying clients and making a better return on your time investment.

    That being said, your website looks great, and all the best on getting those higher paying clients!

  3. Hi Chris, and thanks for such a nice writeup-and inspirational content.

    I could sense you wrote this post from your heart. Chris, the problem is, like Daryl said, it’s often difficult to leave some low paying clients–but like you said, they won’t get you anywhere….

    They’re just a bunch of useless folks who give you enough job to tie up your time, and make you remain in the same position for a long period of time.

    I’ll implement this in my freelance business…

    Thanks brother

    Daniel, ” The Web Content Writer”

  4. Deep says:

    Hi Daryl,

    Great post. I only want to add that taking assignments on familiar topics can help a lot in earnings. I have few writer friends who are making good money writing on sites for low paying clients on iwriter and other online marketplaces because such clients don’t bother much about research and you can write more articles in short time.

    I am sure that many of you might not agree with this approach but it is effective if we are only talking about money

    • Daryl says:

      Glad you enjoy it Deep. I definitely agree – taking assignments on familiar topics can definitely help to increase your earnings. You can write faster because of your expertise, allowing you to raise your per hour rate. Not only that, but you will be able to use your expertise to charge higher.

      I don’t know if you can make enough on iwriter to earn what a decent paying gig would make – which would be at least a minimum of $25 per hour. I’d believe it would be pretty difficult though!

  5. Kevinson says:

    Hi Daryl! Your post was a real, eye-opener. Like Bamidele has been advising writers, I stopped bidding for jobs on low paying sites and instead, I set up a blog with my own rates, which is a better way to get high paying clients. My blog is earnsmartonline.com

    • Daryl says:

      That’s great Kevinson! What you could also do is to sign up for a WordPress Gravatar account, so that you can leave a link to your website whenever commenting.

      • Ron says:

        I feel like Writting, I will need skill English, EL is second my language, when learning EL complete, I became a freelance writer

        feel happy when write them, Last year, I studied English very bad and I hate them (^_^)

  6. Tim at IMM says:

    I don’t think a penny per word has been the normal going rate for writers since the 1940s, when L Ron Hubbard complained about it before moving on to start the religion of Scientology.

    I’m not suggesting anyone start a religion here but you won’t start getting paid more until you start demanding it. That said, starting off at a more reasonable rate and working your way up as your experience and confidence grows may be the best way to go.

  7. krg says:

    I am enjoying the site – very helpful. The comments made me think. A (copy)writer with the ability to consistently produce work that’s engaging, grammatically correct, on-topic and under deadline is a valuable tool. Pre-recession I started freelancing and the rate was no less than $35-$50/hr to establish your value. Think of yourself as a brand; for consumers, quality appears to increase as the price does. I do wish that penny-per-word site was an urban legend – or a nickel! Thanks again.

  8. Thanks for the informative article! This are useful tips for freelancers to follow in order to increase writing rates.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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