As an independent contractor, it makes no difference what specific industry you work in; you want to get paid your worth. While you can most certainly use a standard wage calculator to get a solid idea of what “regular” employees who have your experience and education are currently being paid, it’s still best to know a few effective tips for earning as much as possible on your freelance journey without making clients feel cheated.
Charge by the Project Rather Than by the Hour
Rather than seeing yourself as an hourly employee, it’s better to consider yourself as a salaried employee, making sure you account for the fact that independent contractors can be salaried employees for several companies. When you charge by the project rather than the hour, you allow your clients to focus more on the value you bring to the table rather than the amount of time it takes you to complete a project. Doing so lets you use your speed to your advantage without compromising on the overall quality of the project, which clients are sure to appreciate.
Explain Why You Deserve to Be Paid a Specific Rate
Just like you would as a traditional employee, you should be prepared to explain why you’re worth a certain rate. Do you have a lot of experience or a specialized education? Maybe you have niche knowledge that not many people in your field possess that justifies your rates, or perhaps you have special certifications or licenses. Whatever it is, make sure clients know it, and make sure you have the evidence to support your reasoning.
Know What You Need to Survive
When you’re just getting started as an independent contractor, you might be willing to accept whatever payment you can receive as you’re paying your dues. Once you’ve been at it for a while, however, you should expect to earn more; at least enough to live on. Know how much you need to make to cover your financial obligations and meet any savings goals you might have. This will provide you with a solid foundation on which to determine how much you’re willing to work for, information that saves both you and your clients a great deal of time and energy.
Look at the Situation from the Client’s POV
As a free agent, you can offer your services and expertise to clients and companies big and small. This means that a smaller company or a single client might not be able to afford your regular rate, even if they truly love your work. On the other hand, a prominent business or individual might have no problem at all paying your regular rate. In either case, be sure you take the client’s budget and overall perception of value into consideration when deciding what to charge for a project.
For instance, a small, local company in need of a blog post might not receive very much in the way of an impact for your expertly-written post. On the other hand, a larger, national company is likely to receive a lot more traffic from one of your posts, making it perfectly justifiable for you to charge more.
There’s a lot of opportunities to be had and a lot of money to be made as a freelancer. Know how to make the most of those opportunities and how to ask for what you’re truly worth.
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