Many writers want to run and hide when they hear that simple question. Pricing their own services scares them to death, so they do what other writers do.
If you pay too much attention to others’ pricing structures however, you will assume that YOU need to price your services the way they do — you need to compete, right?
Please don’t do that. It’s pointless.
Here’s why. You have no way of knowing how other writers arrive at their “fees”. Indeed, you have no way of knowing what they’re charging, even if their rates are on their website and if they show you a screen clip of their PayPal accounts. (Just as glamor magazines doctor models’ images with Photoshop, you can Photoshop a PayPal screen clip very easily.)
The same thing goes for writers bidding on the outsourcing sites — you have no way of knowing exactly how much anyone is charging.
It’s much more sensible to think about pricing, work out what you need, and then set about getting it. I’ve always said that what you charge is up to you.
As Seth Godin says in this article, Seth’s Blog: On pricing power:
“The curse of the internet is that it provides competitive information, which makes pricing power ever more difficult to exercise. On the other hand, the benefit of the internet is that once you have it, the list of people who want to pay for your irreplaceable, essential and priceless contribution will get even longer.”
(Read the article; it’s excellent.)
The “it” he’s talking about in the article is pricing power. As Seth puts it: “The goal, no matter what you sell, is to be seen as irreplaceable, essential and priceless. If you are all three, then you have pricing power.”
You need to give people a reason to hire YOU
Your challenge is to know what you have to offer, and to make your offerings irreplaceable, essential and priceless.
You need to be you. Then there’s no competition.
Show and tell
When my writing students tell me that people “aren’t willing to pay for content” or copywriting services, or whatever, I know two things: that they’re not targeting their offerings properly, and also that they’re not SHOWING what they can do.
It’s all show and tell. 🙂
At the basic level, if you’re charging $20 an hour, no one cares. Your buyers just want blocks of text, no one pays much attention. And yet, there’s a lot of competition at this level.
Believe it or not, there’s less competition if you charge $150 an hour.
Once you’re charging at that level, you know, and your buyers know, exactly what your services are worth. They’re willing to pay you, because they get their money’s worth.
You can price your services confidently. It starts with you.
What can you do to make yourself “irreplaceable, essential and priceless”? Once you’ve got the answer to that question, you have the keys to the kingdom.
And “How much do you charge?” will become music to your ears. 🙂