How long as it been since you raised your rates?
Have you been trying to increase your income by working more? Since it’s been roughly forever since you raised your rates, I’m going to suggest you do just that, raising your rates, maybe by a lot. It’s one way to improve your income without working harder, just smarter. It’s not always easy, but it can be very effective.
The first time I raised my rates
The first time a mentor of mine insisted I try raising my rates she suggested I charge $100 or more an hour! Now this was back in the day and I think I was charging something like $10 or $12 an hour. I was gobsmacked, sure no one would ever pay me anything like that amount even though I knew other writers who were making that much or more. We talked about it over several days and eventually I came to the possibility I could go to $25 an hour.
I really didn’t believe anyone would pay me that much but I soon found myself talking with a possible ghostwriting client. He finally asked me how much I charged and I forced myself to say the highest hourly rate I’d ever charged. He immediately said yes. Twenty-five dollars became new new hourly rate.
Your rate is how you see yourself
I didn’t know it then, but I do now. The rate I charge tells me exactly how I feel about myself; it puts a monetary measure on my self-worth if you will.
Let me say it another way. What you charge is not about how good your writing or whatever you’re crafting is. Oh sure, you have to be a decent writer if that’s your skill. You need to know how to listen to clients and help them understand what they need and want. But you don’t have to be perfect — there is no such thing anyway. You don’t have to have a million credits or many years invested in your chosen field to charge a good rate.
What you need is confidence in yourself and your craft. You need to have decent and better than decent self-worth.
Nor is how you set your fees based on the mythical notion of a standard rate. There really isn’t one, in spite of the number of publishers, in the case of writing, who may try to convince you that the pittance they are paying is standard and fair. Their price is either what they can afford or get away with, nothing more. You can either accept it or ask for more and if they won’t meet your request move on to find someone who will.
The sooner you let go of the idea that there is something like a ‘standard rate’ the better it will be for your bottom line.
“Ok,” you ask, “how do I raise my rates?”
Actually raising your rates is a three step process:
First, you figure out what your new rate is. You can base it on your own living expenses or pull a higher number out of the air. The only one you’re going to talk about the why your charging more is yourself, and possibly a spouse, maybe with a trusted writing group, and or mentor.
Second, if you’re posting your prices in your marketing material or website, change to the new prices as soon as you settle on them. This is the price you’ll charge all new customers.
Finally, you either call or email your existing customers and tell them two things — that you’re raising your prices and what the new amount will be. You’re not going to tell existing clients why you’re raising your rates; they know. Is there anyone not aware that prices almost always increase?
You don’t owe anyone an explanation other than, perhaps, “it’s time” said with a smile. You won’t make them feel better or yourself either by using explanations or reasons. Your price is your price no matter how you set it or why you changed it.
You may lose some clients although if you’re confident you’ll probably loose fewer than you think. A few may ask for a discount because ‘they’ve been with you for so long’ or other such nonsense. If there’s a client or two you really want to keep for one reason or another, negotiate or just keep accepting the lower pay. It’s up to you. Just like how much you charge is up to you!
Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with pricing questions in the subject line.
Write well and often,