Medical & Scientific Writing

Freelance Writing: How Much To Charge

One of the most difficult things to reconcile when becoming a freelance writer is: how much do I charge for my work? You may be wondering if there is a set rate for new writers or if there is any place to check out what others get. You may also be wondering if your work is worth getting paid for. Are there different pay scales for different kinds of work? This can be a very confusing time. Deciding to work on your own and make a living doing what you love can be scary. It can have you doubting your abilities as a writer. After a few failed bids on jobs, you may get discouraged.

When you first start out it is okay to let the client set the pay rate. For your first client or two, ask what they are paying for the job and go with it. After a few of these, you will start to understand what different jobs pay. You can then start bidding using those rates.

Now that you have a few completed jobs under your belt, step by step, you can progress in your level of pay and you will be making the money you desire.

The First Step:

Once you have done a job or two and are starting to get the feel for it, you may think it is time to raise your rates. You don’t have to start at the top. It is okay to go step by step. It will feel a lot more comfortable and won’t overwhelm you. Believing you are worth the money you’re asking for is part of raising your rates. If you aren’t comfortable with the rate, your clients won’t be comfortable either. You start to feel like a fraud, and you start to stress out.

After you decide to increase your pay, just start by a little amount. There is not a set rate by which you have to grow your income. That’s your first step.

Your stress level will be much lower, and you will see that people really will pay the new increased rate. Because you are self-employed you can set any pay you want. That’s part of the beauty of being a freelancer.

The Next Step:

After a while working at the new rate you will start to feel more comfortable. When it no longer feels like the “new” rate, try again.
Remember, when you decide to up your rates, it doesn’t have to be by a huge amount. Charging a few percent higher than your previous client is a good start. If you were paid $1 for so many words, asking for $1.10 may not sound like a lot, but will add up over time.
If you went from $1 to $5, that might be a jump that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with, and you’d start to doubt your worth.
So your next step is to increase by an amount that still feels like you are getting what you are worth without scaring yourself.
Your new customers don’t know what you charged your past clients so when they ask for your fees; just tell them the new charge.
Another great thing about this is, that if they decide that it’s too much you can always go back to your old rate and still be within your comfort range. If they agree to your terms you have made a new client and more money.

This is not a get rich quick plan, by any means. This will take some time and it may feel like it is going too slowly and that you will never make the money you want. Just keep at it, raising your fee little by little, job by job. It will work.

Another Step:

Once you’ve been doing this for a while, you may get impatient and decide to do a big pay raise to get to where you want to be, right now. The problem with this strategy is that you will go from getting clients and work to getting no clients and no work, all at once. Not an effective approach.

When that does happen though, you can go back to the fee you were getting before you decided to increase your rate to the outer limits, and pick up some clients again.

The Last Step:

How do you know when you have reached the top of your income level? That’s a good question.The trick is to find the place where you get fewer and fewer clients hiring you for work.

Here’s how it works: When you start with the small increases you will notice that most of your bids are accepted. Most people will hire you, even though you are slowly increasing your rates.
After a month or two of this you may notice that you are starting to get a couple of people refusing to hire you at that cost. This is okay. You don’t have to go backwards, yet, because you are still getting enough work. Maybe out of every 5 bids you get three or four jobs. That is still very respectable.
Keep going and continue to raise your rates slowly. As you do this you will notice that more and more customers are not accepting your offer. When it gets to the place where you are getting a lot less work and fewer and fewer clients, it is time to swing the other way.

The general rule is when about three quarters of the bids are not accepted, it’s time to get back to the place where you were just prior to that. So, for example, if you were charging $3.50 for so many words and you were still working and getting about a quarter of new clients you pitched, but then raised to $4.00 and the number dropped to fewer than a quarter, it is time to go back to $3.50. This is the top of your pay scale, for this example.

Just remember to go slowly and believe in yourself. You can make the money you deserve, step by step.

Resource: Medical Writing Training

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