Even when you don’t have as many clients as you would like or if you’ve been working with someone for a long time, you deserve to get paid for your time and your skills.
As a freelancer, it is hard to keep this particular boundary in place.
It’s so damn easy to say, “Sure, it’s not THAT much less, and we’ve been working together for a long time…”
But you’re devaluing yourself and your brand.
It can be nervewracking or difficult to have the money conversation with potential clients and more so when you need to have it with people you’re already working with.
But it must happen.
Your time is your most important commodity. There are millions of writers out there, but you want to work with me.
Whether that is because I was referred to you by a trusted source, or you read my books, or we got on a call and we just clicked, there is a reason you’re interested in working with me specifically.
And yes, I am a damn good writer. I know it, you know it. It’s how I make a living and I know for a fact that I’m good at it. I am nothing if not confident in my skills.
If I am editing your book or helping you write one, it’ll be edited well. If I’m blogging for your company, they will be researched well-written posts.
I have had to have the money conversation with every client I’ve ever had.
Sometimes it is at the beginning of the process when we’re putting together contracts and agreeing on a price.
Sometimes it is after we’ve been working together for a while and my responsibilities or time commitment has increased.
Either way, I approach it professionally and politely.
And I approach it similarly to how I used to ask for a raise from a manager in my corporate days.
First, I look at how many hours per week I’m working for them, and divide my monthly retainer fee by the number of hours. If the result is less than I want to be making per hour or less than we originally agreed upon, I bring it up to them.
“Hey, it has been great working with you. In the last 4 weeks, the number of hours I’m working on stuff for you has increased to X, which is putting me Y dollars per hour. We need to discuss either me working less and what tasks you want to take off my plate or renegotiating my monthly fee.”
And then let them talk. They may have questions or may hem and haw or may put a hard boundary down and not be willing to discuss a higher rate.
If that’s the case, I will work fewer hours and continue on at the same price.
If not, we’ll discuss what I want to be paid and come to a mutual decision.
Either way, I make more money. Because I either have free time to get a new client or make more from the one I already have.
You cannot be afraid to discuss money with clients. As a freelancer, you are your own advocate, your own salesperson, and your own biggest obstacle.
It doesn’t matter if it makes you uncomfortable to talk about money. These people are your clients. They are paying for your services. They understand the relationship. They are not your best friend for whom you’re doing a favor.
Buck up. You are running a business, not a charity.
I know, right? Truth bomb.