“Don’t cheat yourself. Treat yourself.”
Many moons ago, I was reading an interview in a magazine with bad-boy rapper 50 Cent (back then, my celebrity crush). When the interviewer probed him about his business practices and his savvy in managing and amassing a multi-million dollar empire and staff, he stated: “Don’t pay people what they deserve. Pay them what they’ll accept.”
You can read more of his audacious comments HERE.
His comment surprised me, and stayed with me years after. It underscores the fact that compensation for professional and supportive services is not always based upon merit, ability to pay, or even basic ethics.
Even millionaires like to “penny pinch,” even to the detriment of others. Translated here? Sometimes creative clients can have the same mentality. I have had the pleasure of working with professionals from an array of industries and levels, many who seek bargain-basement rates or deals that allow them to save money (when they can afford otherwise).
Here’s a case in point. Years ago, I was talking to a lawyer who needed someone to write articles for him, and help to promote his practice. With my credentialing, college, and publishing credits, he wanted to pay me just $10.00 an hour. I politely declined. Don’t let it happen to you!
Earn what you desire AND deserve! But before we explore how to achieve this, let’s look at a few compelling reasons you’ll want to raise your rates this year.
3 REASONS FOR INCREASED RATES
1). THE ANNUAL INCREASING COST OF OPERATING A BUSINESS
More than likely, it will cost you more to deliver the same services and products to your client base than it did last year and previous years. For example, my Internet provider charges me about $60.00 more a month than it did for my original phone/Internet package deal when I signed on the dotted line. And the U.S. postal service is slated to raise the rates on many of their products shortly. Even folks on Social Security get cost of living adjustments periodically. There’s no reason you shouldn’t expect to keep up with the increases as well.
2). ADDITIONAL CREDENTIALING
Sometimes we overlook the many things that add to our “market value” as freelancers. Have you taken a college course on marketing? Acquired a certificate in web design? Finished your degree? Learned a new language recently? You should be compensated accordingly. Period.
3). CUSHIONING IS NEEDED FOR UNEXPECTED EMERGENCIES
Whether it’s a temporary government shutdown, a needed car repair, or a new laptop because of a slip on the pavement in your heels, a juice-toting toddler, or a nasty computer virus, you’ll need to acquire and keep additional financial resources. “Saving for a rainy day” is more than a motto.
WHO SHOULD YOU CONSIDER CHARGING INCREASED RATES?
– Clients that you have worked with for 3 years or more (who pay you the same rate as they did in the beginning)
– Clients that are notorious for being delinquent, and require constant follow up for collections (because time is money, right?)
– Clients whose financial circumstances have changed whereby they would be in a better position to pay more (i.e. a start-up not for profit organization that has been able to secure additional funding through your ongoing grant writing or promotional efforts)
Accordingly, here are a few practices and principles you’ll want to apply for optimal results:
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND KNOW YOUR WORTH
Research the competition. How much do they charge for the same services you offer? What does the industry dictate for ghost writing a book or blog post? The more informed you are, the better your positioning, and the more informed you will be in your request for more money.
2. DON’T APPROACH IT WITH A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT; RATHER FROM A POSITION OF FAIRNESS AND EQUITY
As the expression goes: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”
3. ELEVATE YOUR PAY BY ELEVATING YOUR “PERCEIVED” VALUE
Sure, you can purchase some of the same items at Wal-Mart as you can at Macy‘s but, in reality, it’s the “perceived” value that makes the difference. To increase yours, make sure to mention Case Studies of how you’ve helped clients to solve a problem in their business, or increased traffic to their site significantly, or saved them time. Discuss how your years of experience and A-list clients dictates more compensation than the “5 dollar writer.” Having testimonials on your site, and any writing-related awards, can be effective as well.
People will typically pay more for things they feel will enhance their business and make their lives easier, or for services that are highly regarded by others.
4. COMPOSE A WELL-CRAFTED LETTER TO SEND OUT
In your letter, outline the reasons for the increase, the effective date, and your gratitude for your clients’ continued business support.
Follow these timely tips to increase your cash and your confidence this year!
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, creative coach, and award-winning blogger. Learn more at her website: Pen and Prosper. https://penandprosper.blogspot.com/
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