by Joe Wallace
Last week I got asked a great question about how to set your hourly rates as a freelancer. I’ll let you in on a little freelancing secret–my own personal “secret sauce” if you will.
I don’t simply calculate how much my time is worth and set the fee. In fact, I think THAT practice short-changes the freelancer in many circumstances.
What I personally do is to create an equation that includes how much my time is worth, but also how valuable the freelance work is to the client. For example, if you were contracted to write a blog post about a low-key event, the actual value of that post over the long term probably isn’t equal to an editorial style guide for new freelancers or a Frequently Asked Questions list about an online business.
I determine how much the client will get out of my work and bill accordingly. My fees for what I call “legacy” material–work that will live on a website for a long time and give the client a lot of value–are much higher than for material that has short-term value for a client but no real longevity.
And I also try not to confuse short-term work with high value such as blog posts and social media posts with low-value work. I have learned that seemingly “low value” material like posting in forums or individual Twitter posts have FAR greater value over the long haul due to community building and creating goodwill.
In other words, a Twitter post might not “feel” like it should cost a lot, but it’s the net result you’re after, not the effect of one single post. When I do them, they cost more because of the strategy and skill behind the posts and HOW I execute them as much as what I say when I write them up.
And yes, I DO get paid to manage social media–some people are shocked to learn that freelance gigs doing this stuff exist. I don’t know why but I can’t tell you the number of times I hear people say, “You get PAID to do Facebook posts?”
Why yes, yes I do.
And you can too, but you have to decide what your time AND expertise is worth. It’s not just the act of typing the words down in a skillful way.
It’s the other stuff you bring to the table that make it worth more money. Naturally if I didn’t bring a PLAN and a STRATEGY, my work would be worth far less.
Joe Wallace is a freelance editor and writer. His current freelance gigs include working as the Global Enterprise Editor for Motorola.com, social media manager for VALoans.com, and he’s the founder and editor-in-chief of Turntabling.net.