So you’ve been growing your freelance business, it’s going well and you feel ready to up your game. Where do you go from here? How can you expand your business?
The key to growing your income is being able to charge higher rates, rather than spending more time working. As you become more experienced and better at what you do, it’s only natural to start charging higher rates.
You should aim to charge for quality rather than time spent doing a project because as you become more experienced, it will take less time to complete work. If that’s so, you don’t want to be earning less the better you get at your job.
Why is it so hard for freelancers to charge high rates?
Freelancers tend to undervalue their services. One reason for this is that many start off working for free or for very low rates through content mills to gain experience. It’s becomes harder to push through the expectation of low fees if that’s all you’re used to.
It’s a common enough worry that as soon as you raise your prices, your clients will run away. This fear generally comes as part of impostor syndrome where freelancers often don’t believe they deserve top rates. However, plenty of freelancers increase their rates regularly and don’t miss out and you should be able to do the same.
Getting over the fear
One way of thinking of it is that maybe it’s not such a bad idea to lose clients. Hear us out first!
Eventually you’re going to want to replace some of your lower rate paying clients with ones who can pay higher rates.
While it’d would be nice if suddenly all your low fee-paying clients wanted to pay more, the chances are they’re not all going to want to. That’s not necessarily because they don’t value you your work, they might simply have a low budget for your work.
A company with bigger budgets and bigger profits is simply going to be able to pay you more. Time spent working for more companies like this is going to grow your business a lot faster than spending more time with lower fee-paying clients.
How to start charging more:
Make the change a gradual one
You can start off by trying to find new clients and giving them your new rate. They won’t be upset because they’re not getting a price increase. While this doesn’t make the news any easier for your existing clients, if they refuse the rate and go to someone else, their loss won’t be such a blow because you have newer higher paying clients to fall back on.
Offer a high quality service
If you want to charge high rates then you should be offering a high quality service. If you’re suddenly telling your clients you’re going to charge double your usual rate with no explanation, that won’t go down too well. Your clients need to know that they’re getting value for money.
You should talk about how your services translates as increased value that your clients get as a result of your work. This could mean increased website traffic and more importantly, conversions for your clients. Clients are generally happy to pay for value. You need to make it obvious that you’re generating a return on their investment.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start adding on extras to justify your price, but you could learn to become more solutions-oriented. If you’re writing blog content for a client, rather than saying they’re getting so many articles per week at a certain price, you could point to what the blog posts are achieving, make a monthly plan with predicted outcomes and strategies to achieve goals.
Sweeten the deal
Make sure you’re giving your clients a good period of notice before your rates go up. You might want to go one step further and reward their loyalty by having an introductory increase at a lower rate for the first couple of months.
While they might still be paying more, they might appreciate the gradual increase and the extra sense of value at getting some money off to begin with.
Are you thinking about raising your freelancing rates? How are you planning to go about it? Let us know your thoughts and tips in the comments.