Want a writing tip which can double your income in ten minutes or less? In time, this tip can put you into the top one per cent of writers who make great incomes and love their clients. Failure to use this tip will sink your writing business — and often overnight.
The one writing tip you should follow today
Here it is in three words: “increase your prices.”
Thinking back, I’ve never yet had a personal coaching student who charged his clients what he was worth. Most competent, reliable writers charge too little, and this presents problems.
Problems? Yep. The biggest problem is that people take you at your own valuation. Prepared to write for free to get a gig? You immediately drop in every client’s estimation, including in the freebie seekers’ estimation.
Charging too little? See above. No one wants a “cheap” writer, including the clients who proudly tell you that that they hired a writer to do a similar gig who charges a tenth of what you do. By the way: clients tell lies. Alternatively, they’re clueless about writing and marketing and don’t know the difference between a writer who charges $25 an hour, and one who charges — and gets — $200 an hour.
“But my clients won’t pay more.”
You may be right. If you’ve positioned yourself as a generic “writer”, you’re attracting clients who are on a strict budget. These clients often advertise for writers. Improve your lead-generating skills, and you’ll find that 90% (or more) of writing jobs which are never advertised.
On the other hand, you may be wrong.
Raise your prices by ten per cent today — or raise them by more, if you’re confident. I encouraged one of my students to triple his fees — he was charging $30 an hour. It was a battle to get him to do this. Finally he did. No one complained. Indeed, one client told him he’d pay more, because my student provided VALUE.
Beginning writer? Remember this word: VALUE
When you’re a beginning writer, you may not be aware of the value you provide. Start reading the business press — stay out of writers’ forums.
Ask your clients what they estimate the web content, the ghostwritten ebook, or the set of Facebook ads will be worth to them over the next few months. You’ll get a shock.
As a beginning writer, educating yourself needs to be your primary goal. Writers who know more are more valuable to their clients, and they can charge more for that value.
Never stop learning. Read books. Not sure what to read? Start with Bill Gates’ book list.
Established pro writer? Every client is different
You may write web content for 50 clients. Each and every one of those clients is different. That said, you can classify them broadly.
Noah Kagan in The Ultimate Pricing Strategy To Charge What Your Time Is Worth suggests setting your fees in tiers:
1. Tiers pricing helps you make more money. There’s a famous pricing example from The Economist where multiple tiers helped “anchor” people into paying more. In your own business or consultancy, try testing 3-5 different tiers.
Aim to be fully booked. When that happy day arrives that you have a waiting list of people eager to work with you, be sure raise your fees, and keep raising them regularly.
As with the beginning writer, keep up your personal education. The world is constantly changing. Writers never stop learning. As someone once pointed out, being a writer is like always having homework — but it’s never boring. 🙂
Go ahead, follow the essential writing tip, and increase your fees
Increase your writing fees. If you feel that you’re charging too little, and you may well be, increase them by a lot.
Here’s why. Freelance writers need to pay for everything. You don’t get paid vacations. Or a health care package. If you want a new computer, you get to pay for it yourself. Failing to charge appropriate fees will mean, sooner or later, a failing business.
Onward. Be brave. 🙂
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