This isn’t your average case study on freelance writing. In this post, I’ll go over how I went from $15 an hour to $100, why I highly recommend not pricing your fees on an hourly basis and the different types of writing you can do.
The great thing about freelance writing is that there is no blueprint for pricing your services and for most, $100/around £79 an hour sounds pretty sweet right?
So, how did I get there?
A few months ago, I applied for a job position that required a writer and social media assistant. The fee was only $15 per hour – lower than I would normally apply for, but I wanted the opportunity to tackle some social media work in which I had zero experience, other than running my personal accounts.
Now, I wouldn’t normally advise anyone to work for a low rate, but sometimes taking a lower rate can pay off. As Elna Cain says, lower paying jobs can boost your business, especially if that gig will eventually lead to more work down the line. If you’re learning new skills or writing in a new niche, you can use this to your advantage by applying for higher paid work at a later date – when you have the relevant experience to land you that golden gig.
The $100 gig
As I said at the start, I don’t recommend pricing your services by the hour.
When it comes to charging for a project per hour, you have a limited ceiling.
Let’s imagine you start charging your clients $20 per hour.
When I first started freelancing, I worked a couple of gigs via Upwork on an hourly rate. These jobs were for blog posts and at the time, I was charging around $20 an hour. For most of these jobs, I completed the work in an hour, which basically meant I was charging $20 per 500 word article. So, while $20 an hour might not sound terrible, when you consider the amount against the project you’re completing, it’s not so great.
Let’s consider another example. Imagine you charge $50 per hour for a copywriting project. For this gig, you’re writing five pages of copy for a new website. If you completed this in 3 hours, you’d earn $150, whereas a copywriter charging a per project rate could earn at least double that amount.
But, didn’t you say that you earned $100 per hour?
A couple of months ago, I landed a job writing a pre-sales page for a beauty company. The fee was $200 and the majority of it had already been written, it just needed completely editing and some additional text. I completed the job in two hours, earning a pretty lush $100 per hour rate.
Charging per hour versus per project
When it comes to freelance writing, clients want high-quality work. Obviously, if they’re paying you on an hourly basis and have a budget then they may limit you to a certain number of hours for the project.
On an hourly rate, the chances are that you’re creating work that is worth a lot more than you are charging for. The great thing about project based pricing is that you have much more earning potential and your fee is linked to the end result of the project. All your client cares about is receiving high-quality content at the end of the project, so they don’t really care how long it took you to complete the work.
As well as limiting your earning potential, setting an hourly rate can cloud a client’s judgement.
Say a client wants you to write a 500 word article on a marketing topic and wants to know your fee. It will take you an hour to write the article, but the client isn’t aware of that.
Imagine the following options
You propose an hourly rate of $100 per hour.
You state that the fee for the article is $100.
Which one sounds more attractive for the client?
Its highly likely that the client would reject a rate of $100 per hour, unless they’re a high paying client. Why? Because it isn’t based on value. $100 for an article sounds much more reasonable and he/she may assume that it will take you longer to complete the article than it actually does.
When you’re pricing your services, consider the value of the content you’re offering rather than time.
Creating rates in relation to the type of writing you’re doing
As a writer, you may decide to charge on a per word basis, which can work well for blog posts and short articles.
For example, if you charge 10 cents per word, an article of 500 words equals $50.
However, this may depend on your niche. In general, certain niches are higher paying than others.
Lucrative niches include;
B2B or business to business
Certain types of writing also pays more, for example, writing content for websites usually pays more than a standard blog post or article. However, this may again depend on the niche and the extent of the content required. Below is a general overview of what you can expect.
Remember, this is just a basic guide and your pricing will depend on the number of words required and the amount of research needed.