One of the scariest things a freelancer can imagine is losing clients — and income. The good news is that you can client-proof your income. Here are three tips to help you stay on top of the situation and avoid scrambling when one client bows out. (PLUS - it will allow you to fire a problematic client when you get tired of working with them.)
Even when you have a full slate, it doesn’t hurt to pitch new clients. Onboarding takes a while, so being prepared with new clients can make a lot of sense.
Another bonus of continually pitching is that you can get new clients that pay higher rates. If you’re too busy to keep all your clients, you can get rid of a lower-paying client.
Members of the Freelance Writer Academy get access to our pitching guide, as well as a template for writing a pitch designed to get you the work.
Create a network of other writers and potential clients. First of all, other writers can be one of...
For years, Miranda relied on email-based “handshake” agreements for freelance work. It worked really well — until it didn’t.
Here’s the thing. Technically, your email agreement is in writing, and it can be legally enforced. However, it’s much harder to get a client to take you seriously when you don’t have an actual contract or, at the very least, a statement of work.
While many clients are likely to have their own agreements, it can help to have your own template that at least makes it easier for you to get paid. When you have an “official” agreement, clients are far more likely to take you seriously — and pay you on time.
When putting together a contract (or statement of work), there are a few things to include that can make your relationship with the client clear. Naturally, you need to have a section that identifies you and the client with addresses and other contact information....
As you grow your client base and become more experienced, at some point you’ll want to raise your rates. This can be a tough conversation to have with current clients, so, if you want to put it off just a little bit longer, there’s an easier way to raise rates.
The simplest way to raise rates is to quote a higher rate for your next client. If you have several clients at one rate, quote your next client a rate that is a bit higher. Consider adding $25 to $50 to your last quote for your new client quote.
If the new client accepts, you’ve got a higher rate, and you can use that as the basis for your next few quotes. When you start feeling overwhelmed by work, raise your rate on new clients again, or drop some of your lower-paying clients.
Lay the groundwork ahead of time. Let clients know, when they start working with you, that you usually review rates after six to 12 months. You can also consider building in a 10% rate...
One of the keys to becoming a better writer is to practice, practice, practice.
While there are plenty of tips that can help you improve your writing, your best bet is to write every day to practice. But, how do you find the time to write each day if you don’t have clients yet?
Here are some ideas to help you carve out the time:
While we are advocates of cold outreach — less competition and higher rates — we understand it can be intimidating for new writers. When you're just starting out, you may find it easier to respond to job postings than to contact editors on your own.
You might be surprised at how many places will pay you to write — even if you don’t have a ton of experience.
If you’re looking for ideas on where to go to find writing gigs, we have a free resource available on the Freelance Writer Academy website.
But, if you’re looking for places to get started with your writing career, here are three of our favorite places to look for your next freelance writing gig:
The Problogger job board is where Miranda got her first real start. It’s a low barrier to entry, so the gigs don’t pay particularly well, but you can get your foot in the door and find regular work. It's one of the best places to...
When setting rates, you’ll have to figure out how you should charge: hourly, per-article, or per-word.
Whenever possible, as a writer, we prefer avoiding hourly rates. Like the plague. One of the advantages of freelance writing is that as you get better and faster, you can make more money in a shorter amount of time. When you work for an hourly rate, you can’t make more money. Instead, you’re limited by the hours in the day.
It’s one thing to accept an hourly fee for editing, research, or other similar projects. But as a writer, it often makes more sense to focus on per-article vs. per-word pricing.
The advantage of per-article pricing is that you don’t have to worry about an editor cutting your word count (and paying you less). However, it’s important to limit your articles to a range, such as quoting a price for articles of between 900 and 1,200 words. The idea is that you get paid regardless of word count.
On the other hand, with per-word...
When you think of freelancing, there’s a good chance the last thing you’re thinking about is content for your own blog. After all, you’ve got clients to chase.
Having a blog is a big part of marketing yourself as a freelancer in today’s world, however. If you’re on the fence about starting a blog, here are three good reasons to do it:
As a freelancer, there’s a temptation to accept All. The. Work.
It seems counterintuitive, but you’re actually likely to make more money when you choose a niche, rather than being a generalist.
When you focus on a niche, you develop expertise in that area — and can charge more for your work. Specialization can be a great way to increase your rates. When choosing a niche, consider:
You don’t need credentials to be successful in a niche, though. Miranda started out as a science writer and ended up swerving into finances, even though she didn’t know much about money at first. Today, she’s considered one of the foremost freelancers writing about money. Examine the market and figure out where you might fit.
Being a niche writer doesn’t mean that you ignore everything else. Consider a secondary niche. For example, Kat also writes about pets and pet...
One of the best things about freelance writing is getting paid. The right invoice can increase the chances that you’ll get paid on time and in full. Here are three things to keep in mind as you create invoices.
A good invoice template provides consistency and looks professional. Your template should include:
You should also set up a format you use to identify ongoing invoice numbers and identify clients. Each month, all you have to do is just fill in the info.
Invoicing can be even quicker with Quickbooks. You can create your template in Quickbooks, set up your clients, and then ask for money when necessary. Quickbooks also makes it easy to help you keep track of payments and offers various payment options for your clients.
Plus, if you’re connected to your account, it just shows up, making accounting easier,...
“Ask for what you’re worth.”
This is generally good advice that can help you earn more as a freelance writer.
However, in some cases, you might be surprised to find that it can actually make sense to accept less than your current rate.
We all occasionally take slightly lower-paying work when it could potentially pay off in the long run. Here are three reasons we might give a client a break and accept less.
In addition to keeping track of our average per-article and per-word rates (Ben’s detailed spreadsheet can be found in the Freelance Writer Academy resources section), all three of us also track hourly rates.
In some cases, easy articles in your niche that don’t require a lot of research can be tackled quickly. For example, Miranda keeps one client that still pays her $250 an article, even though her base rate is currently $400 for 1,000 words. However, the work is easy and she can often bang out an article in 20...