Only getting paid a few bucks here and there for freelance writing gigs?
Wish you could quit the day job and make a healthy living freelance writing online instead?
In the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro, we look at how you can actually live off your freelance writing work – and quit your day job if that’s all part of your master plan.
The course is aimed at people who really want to turn freelance writing into a successful business where you have regular work that covers your bills (and more fun things besides).
This post is an adapted extract from the very same course.
I know, I know. Sounds like bad advice, right?
Wrong! Because just by pitching for writing clients, instead of individual freelance writing gigs on Upwork and the like, you’ll make the transition from mediocre earner to online writing success and riches.
Like most things that are worthwhile though, it’s a process.
If you’ve read my free eBook about how to build a writing portfolio from scratch, you’ll know that starting small can – and will – work. But once you’ve proved you’re the remarkable and reliable writer you know yourself to be, you need to step up your game a notch or two.
More specifically, you need to stop pitching for individual writing gigs and pitch for clients that will come on board and pay you a regular fee per month that you can come to rely on.
But first, you need to work out how much to charge those clients…
Why you need to work out your hourly rate
While I don’t actually recommend you charge your freelance writing clients by the hour, you still need to consider your hourly rate.
Confused? Let’s look into it further…
When you contact potential clients, I suggest you pitch your writing services based on a simple monthly fee. To find your monthly fee, you need to be aware of the following:
- How much and what type of work you can complete in an hour
- Your ideal hourly rate
(Note: The idea of a monthly fee is based upon the fact that where I’m from things like rent and bills are expected on a monthly basis – usually on the last day of the month. If in your part of the world these things are demanded weekly or fortnightly then charge your clients according to that instead.)
Choose your own salary
To find your hourly rate you first need to consider an annual salary that’s ideal yet feasible. Be realistic, but don’t sell yourself short.
Think about how much you’ve studied your craft and how much you can benefit companies and publications with your writing abilities.
You might want to start with a figure slightly above your annual salary at your old or current day job. This needs some thought as you don’t want to set it too low, but nor do you want to be too unrealistic.
Here cometh the number crunching…
Take your annual salary and divide it by 200 days. This will give you a figure that indicates how much you need to earn each workday to achieve your specified annual salary. (Note that weekends and holidays have already been taken into account – you’re not going for a 365-day work year here.)
Now divide your daily rate by how many hours you intend to work per day.
This figure is your new hourly rate as a freelance writer online.
But the number crunching does stop there because you now need to consider how long each piece of work takes you to complete.
Say you pitch to a client and offer to write four blog posts per month and you know it will take you two hours to research, write and polish each one. You need to multiply your hourly rate by two hours for each blog post and then again by four (for how many you’ve committed to per month).
For example, if you worked out your hourly rate to be $50 an hour, you need to multiply that by two hours and then four blog posts. $50×2 is $100. Multiply it by 4 and you now know you need to charge that client $400 per month.
(NB: We look at how you can add more to your monthly fees without your clients freaking out in the next section of the course module this post is from.)
Your hourly rate is not something you need to inform your clients of – it’s just something you work out on your own to begin with.
As you become better and better at constructing blog posts and other online content to a higher standard in a shorter period of time, you can revisit your hourly/monthly rate again and again.
You may already have a different method for charging clients that works for you. Feel free to share it in the comments below, along with any variations of this method too.
>> Get the video version of this post, along with pitching templates and in-depth instructions on how to set up your freelance writing business and earn a living from it, in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.
Photo courtesy of Images_of_Money on Flickr