Setting higher rates, better rates, and asking for more money takes confidence. There’s so much emotion and self-esteem wrapped up in what we charge. It’s often fear that keeps us from charging more. So I’m here to give you a pep talk and then explain why you should start creating project rates and stop offering an hourly rate. But, every freelancer should have their own SECRET minimum hourly rate they are aiming for, which will help you develop higher-paying project rates.
When I started freelancing, my business coach called me out on the “low” rate she thought I was offering per hour. And I learned what I was afraid of: people telling me “no.”
You can always negotiate down; you can’t negotiate up. So aim high.
Hourly rates penalize you if you have more experience and you’re fast. They can also scare off potential clients because they don’t want to get a huge bill. And some clients will easily say yes to a flat project rate but balk at what they see as a high hourly rate.
So, stop telling people your hourly rate. But create your own secret minimum hourly rate that you use to create project rates.
To create each client’s project rate, talk through the project on the phone. You’ll get more information to see if you want to even do the project, and you can both see if you’re a good fit.
If you do the same type of project over and over, make a list of questions that you ask every client every time to ensure you are understanding the full scope of the project so you can set an appropriate rate.
Do not tell clients the rate over the phone. You need to give yourself some time to think through the project and what it will take and then develop the rate.
Your project proposals should include both a Scope of Work section and an Outside the Scope of Work section.
If you often do the same types of projects with a few custom tweaks per client, create templates for your proposals.
Avoid putting rates on your website—but there are exceptions. Perhaps add a
minimum rate or a range on your website to weed out low-paying clients.
Consider creating specific one-off packages and list those on your website with a fee.
Let’s talk about rate shaming. If you are taking rates considered low in your industry, try not to get defensive when people encourage you to charge more. Instead, work at figuring out how to gradually start to increase your rate and where you can get better work.
Biz Bite: Take a Real Lunch Break.
Episode #1 of Deliberate Freelancer: Change Your Mindset: You Own a Freelance Business
Episode #3 of Deliberate Freelancer: Host a Solo Business Retreat
Episode #9 of Deliberate Freelancer: The Money Lessons I’ve Learned the Hard Way
Episode #13 of Deliberate Freelancer: How to Set Better Goals for Your Business, with Andrena Sawyer