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How to Charge 10 Times More Than Your Freelance Competition

  • By Sophie McAulay
  • November 25, 2020

Many freelancers find themselves in this scenario:

You’ve been freelancing for a while and you’re making a respectable income. You have your regular clients and you know how to find new ones. In fact, you’ve got enough work to fill all your days… Suddenly, you can no longer increase your income by simply landing more clients.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your revenue.

One of the most effective ways of increasing your income is to raise your prices.

Unfortunately many freelancers feel like it’s impossible—their current clients simply won’t go for it, and new ones would never be willing to pay that much.

The truth is, there’s a good chance that there are clients who are willing to pay a lot more for what you do (no matter how much you’re currently charging).

If you’ve neglected to update your rates, you’re not alone. Charging more as a freelancer and rocking the boat with your clients can be scary, but the reality is: if you don’t, you’re missing out on your hard-earned money.

As a freelancer, your ability to make more money is constrained by your time and availability, so any time spent working at a lower rate is an opportunity cost which is literally losing you money.

Keep in mind that the more you increase your skills over time, the more you should be getting paid for your work. You’re now a supreme master of your trade, and your rates should be adjusted to reflect your mastery.

And as a freelancer, you shouldn’t have to miss out on the pay rises that regular full-time employees seem to get almost as a given.

If you it’s time for you to up your rates, here are four ways to confidently move to charging more.

1. Price services based on value—not hours

When you initially established your rates, you probably did so based on the average going rate for said product, for someone with your expertise level.

But have you considered pricing based on value? Value-based pricing involves setting prices based on the client’s perceived value of the product or service. So rather than pricing based on similar rates to the market, you price based on the level of results it will bring to the business.

Rather than plotting out how much work you’ll need to do to deliver what the client is asking for and then rationalizing how much they should pay you based on that, instead, focus on what the expected outcome is.

Are you helping your client build an app from scratch and she’s set to receive $1 million seed money for her creation? In this case, your services are absolutely crucial in contributing to that successful outcome.

Figure out how the work you’re doing will directly impact the client’s ROI, so that you can price the job with consideration for the expected outcome, ensuring that the project is profitable for the client even after they pay for your services.

2. Offer different packages

After you’ve worked with your client to figure out the outcome you’ll get to through your work, you can put together various packages to propose to your client. Maybe the premium package gets them to their desired result the fastest, while the cheapest package gets them halfway there.

Giving the client several options allows them to choose between A versus B, rather than choosing between whether they should hire or not.

3. Treat your client like a partner

Treating your client like another short-term project allows them to see you as a means to an end; fulfilling a particular job that needs to be completed. Instead, treat your client like a partner. Take time to get to know their overall business goals, so that you can show them that you’re both working towards the same outcomes.

Working this way means that you don’t necessarily have to blindly do what they ask of you; instead, use your specialist expertise (which is what they’re hiring you for, after all) to offer solutions that will help them reach their goals faster.

Still nervous that clients won’t want to pay what you’re asking? Show them why they should pay you more instead of telling them. Use case studies—successful stories from work with previous clients—to show how you’ve helped similar companies achieve similar results. Use your portfolio, your website, testimonials from previous clients, and data to show what kind of change you made in your client’s business.

Change your mindset

A key step in starting to charge more is to change your own mindset about what your work is worth. Remember—you’re not just offering your client a certain number of hours of your time. You’re selling your expertise, your years of experience, and your ability to contribute to a desirable outcome. Once you’ve changed your own mindset, changing the client’s will be much easier.

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