Are You Making These Mistakes When Pricing Freelancing Projects

You want to get paid a fair price for your freelancing projects, right?

If you’re tired of getting paid pennies while other Freelancers (doing your same kind of work) are getting paid 2x – 5x what you are, then please read the following 3 tips for avoiding the financial race to the bottom.

What To Avoid If You Want To Start Getting Paid Better

1. STOP using price as a marketing strategy

Two weeks ago, I posted a job looking for a contributing writer to one of the blogs that I own.

I received more than 260 applications in less than 48 hours.

Now, I don’t have a hiring manager, and I like to stay closely associated with any writers I bring onto my team.

Therefore, I had to go through every single application that was sent to me, one at a time.

It. Was. Brutal.

I think all Freelancers should have to go through that same process of hiring help to understand what it’s like for the client on the other end. Eye opening experience for sure.

Here’s why I’m telling you this:

Do you want to know a scary secret about how I sifted through that mountain of applications?

I used PRICE as a quick decision-making tool.

Most clients do.

When all the applications start to blur together, you need a quick way of deciding who to look at further.

But here’s the thing…

… If the price was LOW, I ditched the application straightaway.

Why?

I’m an experienced business owner (and a grizzled veteran of the Freelancing game).

I know from personal experience that you get what you pay for.

The clients that you want to work with — the ones who respect you, the ones who have cool projects to work on, the ones who can provide you consistent income over long-term because they have successful businesses themselves — they have learned that same exact lesson as well.

Good clients are afraid of cheap Freelancers.

Too many bad experiences. Too many scars.

It’s no accident that when you compete on price (meaning: when you try to be the cheapest option) you get stuck with the worst clients.

If you’ve been in the market trying to sell your services, and so far your marketing plan is “underbid everyone else”, now is the time to STOP, recalibrate, and start charging MORE today.

BLOG POST: How To Get The Freelance Rate You Ask For Every Time

Here’s a pro tip:

You are in charge of setting your value.

If you followed the traditional model of Western living where you go to public school, then maybe you go to college, then maybe you go to a traditional job…

… It can be very difficult to make the mental leap of fully understanding that YOU are in control of how much someone else values you.

To this point in your life, you have been trained to look externally for indicators and sources to tell you what your value is.

“You are qualified because you completed these tests which now means you have a $45,000 piece of paper called a diploma”

“You are a good employee because you follow our rules set and made the company some money”

Etc. etc. etc.

Try this:

The next time someone asks you what your rates are, quote them double what you have been charging.

I dare you to believe that you are worth that much (if you’re like most Freelancers that I meet, charging what I think you are charging, you 100% are worth double).

If you’re still not convinced, check out any one of these case studies of fellow Freelancers “waking up” and realizing their actual worth.

Take note as you watch those case studies, that the change came from inside of them FIRST. Then — and only then — did the market adjust to their evaluation of themselves.

2. STOP thinking you are a machine  

One of the hardest things about becoming good at Freelancing is learning how to say “no” to new projects, clients, and opportunities.

Think about it this way:

Most freelancers make 2 mistakes when quoting jobs:

  1. They automatically assume they will need more than this client to earn a living
  2. They underestimate how long a project will take

So, here’s what happens:

They take the gig and underprice themselves.

They think it will take five hours to complete the project, but it ends up taking 10.

At the same time that this is happening, they are out there hustling for NEW clients repeating the same process with these new clients.

They look at their calendar thinking they have five projects which will take five hours each…

… But in reality, they have 5 projects which take 10 hours each to complete for a bone crushing 50 hours of freelance work inside of a single week.

Sure, Gary Vaynerchuk might applaud this Freelancer for his “hustle”, but getting paid 50% for 100% of the work is not the kind of business I want to run.

(P.S. Check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s most recent series of videos and you’ll find he is changing his tune on the whole “hustle mentality”)

Forget about the workload for a second though and take a deeper look at what is happening.

Freelancers who think they are machines/hustlers/robots misunderstand one crucial point of successful FREELANCING:

The best new client is a client you already have.

In other words:

You can start earning a lot more money as a freelancer if you took 2 minutes to slow down, offered more accurate quotes, and poured more of your energy into impressing your current clientele then you did chasing new clients.

BLOG POST: How To Turn a One-off Project Into Recurring Revenue

Let me say this as clearly as I can.

After more than 7 years as a full-time creative freelancer, I have found that there is peace, financial security, and incredible lifestyle benefits to having fewer clients that pay more over a consistent long-term period than more clients who pay less.

3. STOP assuming the client is you

Clients are humans, but they aren’t you.

They aren’t afraid of the same things as you are.

You: “Are you gonna pay me and respect me as a person?”

Your Client: “Are you going to give me the results that I’m paying you for?”

They don’t have the same daily problems as you do.

You: “I really need this client to get me the logins for their social media account.”

Your Client: “I really hope I can meet payroll expenses today.”

Herein lies the KEY to getting paid more:

As Zig Ziglar said, “you can have anything you want if you help enough get what they want.”

Empathy is the key to getting paid more.

How can you help your client?

Like, really, truly help them?

You have to step outside of “I can help them by writing them a blog post”.

That’s a solution focused on YOU the writer. Not the client.

What problems does writing a blog post solve for your client?

More accurately, what problems does it solve that your client cares about?

“My blog posts help clients get noticed more” isn’t a solution to a problem your client cares about.

“My blog posts help clients meet payroll expenses each week because my stuff turns eyeballs into sales” is a solution to a problem your client cares about.

DISCLAIMER: You don’t have to start telling everyone your blog posts help meet weekly payroll expenses, but if you want to be able to charge 2x – 5x more than you are now, you better let that kind of internal dialogue guide your work.

Ask yourself, “Is this post I’m writing going to help my client with something she ACTUALLY cares about?”

If the answer is no, figure out a way to make it true.

“Is this web design going to help my client spend more time with his kids that he hasn’t seen since he started this business and is a slave to?”

“Will this coaching call help my client get enough sales that she can take her family on vacation?”

And on and on.

The point is, if you want to get paid MORE you have to be able to serve DEEPER.

Beyond just: I do SEO for businesses.

No.

Not in 2018.

Practice empathy. Figure out how your HARD SKILLZ can help solve DEEPER PROBLEMS.

Then profit nicely for your contribution to another human person.

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