PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When not writing, she helps people with web design and development.
You clicked on this article to know how to receive the desired pay rate. My dear, you are a money freak and I am proud of you. We all work for money, but only a few know how to dig deep in others’ pockets. I must say this is an art that demands simple technique, bold personality, and an urge to learn.
You need to do more than an honest self-appraisal. In professional life, you can expect a salary hike when your client or employer praises you for your work or when their behavior towards you suggest your positive impact on the company. You are about to receive a hike when you perfectly meet the job description and other certain criteria (such as soft skills and work smartness). These factors are easily identifiable and measurable.
In the freelancing life, the appraisal criteria are quite different. It is difficult to determine the factors for judging you as a freelancer. There are no specific industry standards, however, certain freelancing sites have come up with their own evaluation criteria to extract out the best out of the best freelancers and give them premium ranking.
Note: Sites like Upwork and Toptal evaluate you on the basis of certain criteria that can help you win various badges such as Top-Rated, Expert-Vetted, Top 3%, and so on. If you fall into this category, then it becomes easier for you to demand a higher pay rate.
You should know that the standards that apply to freelance writers may not at all apply to freelance developers. Each skill set demands variations that you should learn along the way while beginning with the remote work.
Here, we are going to talk about the common points that will help you receive the desired pay rate, irrespective of what field you specialize in.
First of all, why do you even charge a low bid, when you worth much more than that?
I have noticed experienced professionals, who would be making 100 grand in their 9 to 5 jobs, start with a $10-$20 hourly rate. In reality, their actual worth is more than $100 per hour. There can be many reasons:
- You feel restricted to go for $1000 when your competitor is charging $500 for a project and thus, settle for a lower bid.
- You are afraid the client won’t hire you if you charge high.
- You are in a race with several other freelancers (who may or may not be talented as you are), who are ready to work at lower rates.
But the truth is …
You have the real opportunity of making $100 or more per hour. Irrespective of what others are charging, you’ll receive what you are actually worthy of. There are several developers, data scientists, AI (Artificial Intelligence) engineers, writers, marketers, copywriters, designers, financial experts, and so on who actually make $200 per hour. However, there are freelancers who are specialized in common fields such as data entry. They rarely get the chance to ask for a higher bid. In such cases, it is better for them to upscale themselves by learning new skills. Thanks to the trend of online courses, now everything is feasible.
You must follow these points to convince your clients and win the desired payout
1. Boost your self-belief
Self-doubt is an easy thing to do. You live in your comfort zone, you accept your faults, and work under the radar for the rest of your life. But this is the time to replace certain words in your vocabulary. Replace “self-doubt” with “self-belief”, “live in your comfort zone” with “live out of your comfort zone”, “accept your faults” with “accept your strengths”, and “work under the radar” with “work to stand apart”.
So, it means. Self-belief is the best thing to do. You must live out of your comfort zone, accept your strengths and merits, and work to stand apart for the rest of your life. If you find it difficult to convince yourself that your service worths a higher bid, then how can you convince your clients? This the most difficult as well as the most important step, you need to trust yourself. Self-doubt comes easy, self-belief demands inner strength.
You need to be confident about the services you offer to your client. For example, if you are a freelance designer. Your client wants to build a design that they may require for longer use (say 2 to 3 years). In this scenario, you are helping them to earn 50 to 100 times more than what they pay you. So, you can confidently ask for better pay.
Besides checking out your counterparts, you should look at the senior professionals. Learn from them how they handle their work affairs and how they are charging high rates with smooth confidence. I personally know a copywriter, who is senior to me and she charges $200 to $400 per hour for copywriting services.
It takes confidence and self-motivation to get what you want. No one else is going to do that for you as they are already busy promoting themselves.
2. Focus on your individuality
It won’t work if you are just a designer or developer like everybody else. You are a part of a crowd and no one will pay you for doing things that a million others can do equally well. It becomes highly competitive to stand out as most of the freelancers are doing stuff that many others can do with the same essence.
However, it isn’t really that tough to move ahead and take the lead. You know you just need to walk passing through the hurdles in the crowd. For example, you are a WordPress developer. Right now, your work is quite similar to a thousand others. You start mastering other web skills such as SEO, web copywriting, or machine learning. Now, you are a WordPress developer who delivers a search engine optimized website with great content. You can easily ask for $80 or more hourly rate. The rate surely differs on the basis of the project, if it’s a long term you should go with a weekly rate. It also depends on if you are working full-time or part-time.
You need to have a clear USP i.e. Unique Selling Proposition (or Point) that lets your clients know they are going to receive services that no other freelancers can provide. Your USP can include your working approach, type of clients you work with, and your specialization.
Your USP doesn’t need to include all sorts of clients as it’s better to maintain a distance with clients who expect more and pay less. Figuring out your USP is like introspecting yourself. You may discover the essential skills that you never realized you already possess.
3. Offer premium services
You are self-confident and have a clear USP to market yourself as an exceptional freelancer. Now, let’s talk about the instance when your client is thinking about hiring you or not. You know you are highly skilled, but how are you going to prove that to your client? How does your client perceive the values of your offer? To do so, there are three important points you need to take care of. Even if you follow one of them, you’ll be able to close a deal, but with all of them, you can smash the deal.
- Increase your prices, make it twice, thrice, or whatever fits you the best. This is extremely important, so just do it. Increased price automatically gives a sense of premium service. For example, if you buy a dress worth $50, you feel nice. But if you buy the same dress at $500, you start to feel the richness of the fabric and how it comforts your body. Although it’s the same dress with increased price, you believe you have been given a premium product.
- Dedicate your full time to your client. I don’t mean it, actually but when your client contacts you, you must be attentive and offer them exceptional support. They need to believe that they are not just getting their work done, but also receiving reliable support for their problems. Besides completing the project, many freelancers also offer important advice to their clients, which can be related to where to buy web hosting plans at a reasonable rate, where to cut costs and receive higher profits. There may be cases when your help doesn’t directly link with your project, but offering a helping hand does prove you to be exceptional support.
- Display your work through social media. Your interaction with other social media users will let your client know that you are a trustworthy resource. This will also prove that there are many people who use your services, giving a premium reputation to your work.
4. Figure out your best positioning
Working on freelancing sites does ensure plenty of job offers. But at the same time, it is hardly likely that you will receive higher rates as there are others who are ready do to the same work at half the cost.
- If you are already using such sites you know, how challenging it is to land a project with high-paying clients. I must say some do earn $80 or more per hour. These are highly specialized people who have worked hard for a long time and most of their clients are the ones they’ve already worked with.
Luckily, freelancing sites are not the only option to look for. You have plenty of options in which the client may approach you for work instead of you seeking out. The best options are:
- Start your own website or blog
- Advertise your skills through social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter)
- Post useful content on LinkedIn account and groups (one of the best place to find highly promising clients)
- Write guest posts for renowned websites (Most of the renowned websites like Inc, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, take time to approve your post, some may even decline it. But it’s extremely fruitful and you should keep trying it.)
- Use PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.
The best approach is to start your own blog and interact with other bloggers and guest blog websites to market yourself.
5. Don’t make money, create values instead
When I say don’t make money, I mean it rhetorically. A goal to make huge income demands you to focus on how to earn it and not how much to earn. Your clients are business people, which means they are ready to shade any amount in their budget to receive the highest value.
For example, if you earn $500 for a project and your client makes $2000 out of it, then he receives an ROI (Return On Investment) of 400%. Similarly, if you are paid $1000 and your client makes $200,000, then there’s an ROI of 2000%. In this case, your client will readily pay you double to generate the best outcome.
To make the most of it, you should let your clients know how much they’ll be making, instead of how they can improve their savings. It is hassle-free for a client to pay $1000 instead of $500 when he knows he is going to make thousands of times more out of it.
You should study your past client's data and check out what were their ROI. This will help you convince your clients much better.
Remember, only you can decide what’s best for you. No client will come to you and asserts himself to pay you twice. You need to be self-confident, know your specialization, offer premium services, market at the right place, and deliver the best results.
That’s all for this topic. Thank you for reading!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 25, 2020:
Seems to me these are all great points. I do not do well in this area so I will take this to heart.