2. Working cheap lowers your self-esteem
My first job was at TCB Yogurt. I raked in $3.65/hour. After taxes, it took me four hours scooping yogurt and making waffle cones to net just $10.
Now, that was 16-year-old me, working the summer to save up money for his first car. At 16, working for that little just proved my dedication.
But you’re a grownup, a professional. You probably have at least one other mouth to feed. Don’t lowball yourself by doing work you hate just because it pays.
One of my biggest passions in freelancing is editing other people’s fiction. Back before my rate increase, I took a job for about one-third what I’d normally charge, simply because I felt compelled to get the paycheck.
The novel, which read like an adolescent’s play-by-play of a 10-hour Call of Duty session, was beyond terrible. An extra period appeared at the end of every single line, commas had apparently gone on strike, and new characters regularly popped up without introduction or apparent purpose.
Every time I opened the file, I felt like braining myself with my coffee mug. No paycheck is worth that kind of aggravation. And the fact that this one came at less than my usual rate … well, that only added to my frustration.
Don’t lowball yourself by doing work you hate just because it pays.
3. Raising your rate gives you more room to negotiate
As freelancers, we don’t always get to work for our preferred rate. All too often, negotiation plays a big part in getting the gig. But if you aim high on your initial offer, you can get closer to your desired rate.
If you’re willing to work for $15/hour and a client tells you the job pays $10, maybe you can make it happen at $12.50. Unfortunately, you gave them your best number first, so now you have to settle for less than you’re comfortable with.
So aim higher. If $20/hour is your profit point, start negotiations at $25. If the client comes back with $15, you can meet them at $20, get what you wanted anyway, and come off looking like a nice guy to boot.
4. Raising your rate builds your brand
Every decision you make in freelancing affects your brand, building up an image of who you are and how future clients will perceive you.
Do you want to be known as the cut-rate generalist who will work for any price?
That’s not how long-term success happens. Taking care of your clients is important, of course. But taking care of yourself is far more important.
Believe that you’re worth a fair-market price and you will be. And clients interested in paying you what you’re worth will too.
Taking care of your clients is important, of course. But taking care of yourself is far more important.
Have you raised your rates yet?
If not, we hope this hope helps you inspire you to take the leap! And if you already have, we’d love to hear all about your experience. Did getting work getting easier, or harder? Do you feel better about the work you get? Whatever your answers, we want to hear them!