Writers, knowing how to ask for more money takes self-confidence, experience, and a bit ‘o moxy! These tips for freelance writers will help you increase your per word rates from from 50 cents to a dollar or two per word, or from $20 to $50 per hour.
And, it may be easier than you think to make more money writing…
“Exploit the remarkable power of asking. Telling can be perceived as bossy, dismissive, and patronizing,” writes P.M. Forni in in The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude. “Asking is always validating. Someone is being hostile and rude? Ask what her or she suggests to bring about a satisfactory solution…When you favor asking over telling, the other person is less likely to become defensive and escalate a confrontation. Furthermore, you may come across innovative and smart solutions you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.”
Negotiating your per word or per hour rate as a freelance writer is part of making money writing — and that involves the “ask.” To learn more, read The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle.
And, here are five tips for making money freelancing…
How to Ask for More Money
1. Ask questions about how much money the client is offering. When a client offers, say, $20 an hour, I say, “Twenty dollars an hour seems a little low to me – it’s lower than my normal freelance writing rate. Can we raise it to $50 per hour?” It’s a simple question, and clients can say no if they want. I may or may not lose the assignment – but I gain self-respect and self-confidence as a freelance writer when I tell potential clients and editors how much money I make writing! Freelancers need to ask for what they want clearly and honestly.
2. Be clear about why you are worth $50 an hour as a freelance writer. Why do I think I deserve $50 an hour as a freelance writer? Because my articles need hardly any editing, I always turn them in on time or early, I cite reliable sources, I stay focused on my topic, I stick to word count, I have a consistent writing style, and I’m easy to work with. If you want to ask for and make more money writing, you need to be clear about why you deserve it. If you feel worthy, your “ask” will be much more confident.
3. Give reasons that support your request for more money. For a couple of years, I freelanced for a magazine that only paid 35 cents a word. It was the first magazine to ever assign me an article, so even when I was earning $1 or $2 per word with other magazines, I stuck with them. But then I decided my freelance writing skills were worth more, so I said, “I’ve enjoyed writing for this magazine for almost two years. Since my work has been good, and I’m prompt and reliable, can we raise my fee to 50 cents a word?” They immediately said yes…and I kicked myself for not asking for more money! Better to ask for too much money and have room for negotiation, than to ask for too little and get it.
4. Take your clients’ and editors’ situations into account. I only asked for 50 cents a word from that magazine because they require so little follow up work. I submit my assignment, and they publish it more or less as is. And they pay on time and promptly send me a copy of the magazine. Also, I know they have a low budget, and most of their articles are written for free. So, I balanced my request for more money with how great they are to work with. One of the most important tips for freelance writers who want to make money writing is to balance a big paycheck (such as $2 a word for a 1,000 word feature article) with how much work is involved after the article is submitted.
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5. Expect to negotiate for more money writing. I’ve rarely had to negotiate my rates — probably because I don’t actively look for writing work. My “Quips and Tips” blogs are my primary source of income, and I’d love to focus on them alone. I don’t pitch article ideas, but I do accept article assignments when editors give them — and I only work for $1 per word or $50 per hour. When an editor or client offers me less, I tell them my standard rates. Sometimes we meet halfway in the middle of my rate and their original offer, sometimes they give me what I want, and sometimes we decide to go separate ways. No matter what, it’s a good learning experience — and I can always blog about it!