I’ve been a freelance copywriter for longer than I own up to in fresh company.
Over the years I’ve inched my professional rates up – gradually and mostly at the insistence of my accountant.
I’ve accumulated experience and developed skills that make my current rates fair for the value I offer. I’m not a big-four bank making mega-million profits. I’m just making a living, doing something I love and something I’m good at.
Yet I still feel occasional pressure to discount my rates. My policy is to stand my ground on freelance copywriting rates. Firmly.
At the end of last year I lost a long-term national client when they undertook a joint venture with an overseas entity. They had new blood, innovative ideas and a no-editorial approach to their publication. I wasn’t being replaced; they simply no longer required copywriting services.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by the new editor to discuss helping them fill a gap in the upcoming edition of their magazine. I responded with three industry- and audience-relevant story ideas and estimated costs based on the same deal I had with the previous business.
Their response? That I was too expensive. I had an option to discount, but I didn’t. I remained polite and suggested how they might manage the work in-house.
A few days later, the editor called to say I was back in the picture; they hadn’t been able to produce the content in-house and asked if I could – on short notice.
Of course, I could. That’s what professional copywriters do. That’s why we charge the rates we do. And I did.
The moral of the story: stand your ground, demonstrate value (in this case, I pitched three great article ideas and talked through the in-house process with the potential client) and remain polite.
It does no good pleading an emotional “I’m offended” case for your rates. Trust me, I’ve tried that in the past. A client budget is a client budget is a client budget.
By calmly and professionally showing value, you stay in the game – if not for this project, possibly the next … or the one after that.
If you know your professional copywriting rates are fair, why would you undercut yourself? It’s a desperate way to do business. You de-value your own work and that of other freelance professionals.
Convey your value. Hold your ground. You know you’re worth it.