3 reasons to take less — yes less — money for your freelance writing

“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.

1. The hourly numbers work out

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 to 30 minutes. That hourly rate of $500 - $750 beats a more time-consuming article that takes a full hour but pays $400.

Review the work. You might find that it makes sense to take a gig with a lower per-article rate as long as it’s fast and easy.

2. The client is easy to work with

Fewer revision requests? Steady, reliable work? An easy client might be worth taking a little less. Sometimes, clients that pay a higher rate for articles are also difficult to work with. They might have more sourcing requirements, make more revision requests, or even require additional research. 

If there’s a client that you enjoy working with, and getting through their assignments is easy-breezy, it might be worth more to you than the hassle that comes with a higher-paying client.

3. You’re ready to scale back

This one’s less about your per-article rate and more about your lifestyle. Miranda, even though she has the most experience, is the lowest earner of the group. Why? She intentionally says no to work.

Rather than keep earning more, she limits how much work she takes on. After going through burnout, she reduced her workload. In order to make up for it, Miranda has diversified her income to include some investing, as well as moved to an area with a low cost of living so she doesn’t need to earn as much to meet her needs and have money left over for travel.

There are plenty of other reasons to earn less, depending on your situation. Don’t assume that you always have to be maxing out. In some cases, it can be rewarding to have more time and less stress.

If you want to make more money, check out our resource on how to find paid freelance writing gigs.