I get so many freelancers coming to me for help because they can’t understand why they are stuck. They want to know why their freelancing income isn’t increasing and why their rates have been static for ages.
In this article, I’m going to be teaching you how I, as a Pakistani freelance writer, increased my rates from 10$ to over 100$ per article!
But bear in mind that this isn’t just for freelance writers. A freelancer in any sort of category can implement this strategy and 10x his current income as well!
So, let’s get straight into it.
Look for Long-Term Freelancing Work
The biggest problem with freelancing is the feast or famine cycle. What does that mean? Well, this means that you either have an abundance of work and clients or suffer from scarcity.
When the cycle enters the “feast” season, you’ll have so much work that you won’t even be able to complete it in time. And once you enter into the “famine” season, you’ll have no work to do.
The root cause of the “feast or famine cycle” is not having work because of short-term contracts.
If you’re a freelance writer like me, then check out my rundown on the best freelance writing niches that can help you make $100 per artice.
Ask for a Raise From Your Current Freelancing Clients
About 12 months ago, I had three clients. These clients were all paying me $10 each. Now, that might sound like slave pay for someone living in the developed world… but this sort of pay rate is quite common for third-world countries.
So, what I did was, I asked all three of them for a raise. One of those clients agreed to pay me $15. The other two, however, said they can’t pay me any more than my current rate.
Well, that’s okay. You need to understand:
The clients that are paying you your current rates are not the ones who are going to pay you once you 10x!
You will need to find more clients.
Get this into your head, and attain this mindset of wanting and needing to find better clients. Now, you might be expecting me to leave those clients. But that’s not what I did.
Keep Your Current Clients and Find New Ones on the Side
Remember: never leave your current clients until you already have new ones to substitute them. Unless you’re in a contract that prohibits you from doing so, you can easily find better-paying clients on the side, discuss terms and conditions, and then leave one of your low-paying clients for a new one.
First, I went out and started to apply for more freelancing gigs. At that time, I found one client who was willing to have a discussion with me about how we could proceed.
Now, remember: we want to negotiate at a better rate than what we already have.
So, for this client, I decided to negotiate at $20; if it came to anything less than that, I’d back off. Now, you might be thinking:
“I don’t know how to approach clients”, ”I don’t have experience in that domain” or “I don’t have the confidence to do this.”
No need to fret, my friend. Read my article on how to apply to freelance writing jobs without ANY experience. It’ll give you all the insights on what exactly freelance writing clients are looking for and how you can impress them.
Regardless, I negotiated a $20 per article pay rate with my new client. Now, I had one client who was paying me $20, another who was paying me $15, and then the other two clients that were paying me $10 each.
Naturally, I fired one of the $10 clients (the one I hated the most). Remember to never overwork yourself. If you realize that you can’t have more than 3 clients like me, then keep firing the low-paying ones and building your way upwards.
Set a Base Rate and Stay True To It
Now, here’s where I have to give you the concept of base rates.
A base rate is the minimum rate that you work for.
Anything below that and you disregard it. You need to have a base rate in order to grow. Because when you don’t have a base rate, you think “Alright, how about I just take this client on and I’ll find someone better later.”
Well, that never happens. You onboard that client and end up spending your time and energy with him.
So, now I decided that my new base rate would be $15 per piece.
Because I had one client who was paying me below my base rate, the $10 client, I had to replace him. Again, I went out there, applied to more jobs and tried getting more clients to notice me.
After loads of hard work and marketing, finally, I found another client who would pay me $20. So, you see how this is slowly growing, right. Well, that’s the basic mechanism of how this technique works.
In essence, you need to:
Onboard high-paying clients -> Set a higher base rate -> Substitute the clients that fall under that base rate
But It’s Not That Simple…
Whatever I’ve told you, it sounds awfully simple. But in reality, it isn’t.
Remember not to move too fast. You might be thinking right now “Alright, I need to grow… that means now I have three clients paying me 20, 20 and 15. So, I need to keep finding more clients and keep replacing the old ones.” It doesn’t work like that.
Spend at least 2 months at every base rate.
And so if your new base rate is $15, spend 2-4 months on that. How much time you need on that rate depends on the clients you’re working with and on how good you are at having them trust you.
When Should You Stop This Cycle?
Now when do you put an end to this cycle… because inevitably, you’ll have to. You can’t just keep doing this and expect clients to keep paying you more.
Well, you stop when you see that your request for a raise is being denied and new prospects aren’t hiring you for your suggested rates as well. In that case, I’d tell you to keep working with your current clients instead of substituting them.
If such a situation comes up, it could be because of two reasons:
- You’ve reached a top-tier base rate in the market. You can’t expect to be paid a lot more if you’re already charging a premium price. And that’s fine. You need to realize that you’ve reached the supposed limits and be happy about it. These limits vary according to the country you live in and your ideal clients
- If you see others in your market making more but you’re not able to, then it’s because your skills aren’t there yet. You see, how people react to you is the best way to assess your skills.
And if you don’t see a positive response, but see other people making the sort of money that you want to, you need to learn what those people are doing and you can’t. You have to learn those skills or learn that type of marketing.
So, guys, this is how I multiplied my income by 10X and I hope this would help you multiply yours as well. Till next time; this is Khalil signing off!