Tag Archives: freelance fees

Negotiating Freelance Rates? Give Yourself a Raise

Joe Wallace Turntabling Rare RecordsIt’s easy to forget that the whole world is NOT paying attention to your every move–especially if you freelance online. But who really IS paying attention?

I don’t write that to be insulting. I write that to be ENCOURAGING. As in, who really knows what  you’ve been charging for your freelance services in the last year or two? Sure, if you publish a rate card online you’ll need to be a bit careful when adjusting your fee structure, but when it’s time to talk fees with a new client it may be a good time to ask yourself if it’s time for a raise.

Even a small one.

One of the most difficult parts of the freelance game for many is staying motivated in the tough times. Getting compensated what you feel you’re worth–or at least within spitting distance–is part of that motivation. Have you been working for peanuts? Working too long for peanuts? Have you been working at a reasonable, but somehow still not quite satisfying rate? When you’re the boss, the only person to ask for a raise is YOU.

I struggled with that concept for ages…how could I justify charging my new client more when I was still working at a lower rate for others? When I realized that I wasn’t cheating, but offering my older clients a longevity discount, that’s when it occurred to me that I could indeed up my fee when warranted, and not worry at all about the idea that I might be fudging numbers, shortchanging a newcomer or asking for something I didn’t really earn.

The more experience you get as a freelancer, the more your inherent value as a freelancer goes up…unless you do shoddy work, of course. But this post isn’t aimed at the half-hearted, substandard, or just-barely-good-enough types. I’m talking to you, Mister and Miz Hardworking Freelance Person. Ask yourself–are you due for a pay increase? I bet the answer is “Yes”.

Joe Wallace writes music AND writes ABOUT music. He’s currently working on a video installation project for a gallery opening to be announced soon, sound design and ambiance for an art opening in Ohio, and polishing up his manuscript for WTF Records: The Turntabling.Net Guide To Weird and Wonderful Vinyl. Contact him: jwallace(at)turntabling(dot) net.

Freelance Pay Delay

Joe Wallace Vinyl Collector and authorby Joe Wallace

Last year I had a six-week period where none of my clients paid on time. As a result I naturally had to scramble to get my bills paid, and the fact that I had just dropped a large investment in some vinyl records to sell at an upcoming convention didn’t help matters–I was counting on getting paid to insure the rent check didn’t bounce.

Instead, I found myself hustling my vinyl very hard at that convention and managed somehow to squeak by thanks to the generosity of my record buying friends and followers online.

You read it right–my “side income” suddenly became the main event for me for nearly two months.

There was an unexpected side effect of my pay issues as a result–I feel like I have some financial stress issues that come from constantly second-guessing when that perfect storm of late paying clients might happen again. So now more than ever I’m trying to take steps to shore up my cash reserves and boost my side income activities. The more solid my non-writing side income can get, the better off I’ll be in the long run.

But really, those cash reserves are the most important part–having a cushion to fall back on is very important since it’s never clear when there might be a work slowdown or outright stop. Late payment is bad enough, but a paycheck that gets cut in half due to a lack of work is an emergency for many freelancers I know, including ME.

Some writers I know have taken side jobs in non-writing capacities, but I wasn’t smart enough to do that. My side income comes from my own business, which takes additional money to run. Last year when I had some extra money to invest in the biz, I took the initiative and bought some extra supplies and things to sell so that if times get lean here, there’s more “here and now” profit I could use to get through the hard times if they arise.

Not ideal to be sure, but let’s call it limping towards financial stability. Sooner or later, I’ll be forced to pay the piper and start socking money away for that rainy day that we all know might come tomorrow or the next day. Here’s hoping it’s next week year instead. For now, I’m putting as much aside as I can afford, but it ain’t much. Rain, rain, go away.

Joe Wallace writes about and sells vinyl records. He recently finished writing the book WTF Records: The Turntabling Guide To Weird and Wonderful Vinyl and currently seeks a publisher who is amused by awful album covers and records put out by karate-chopping preachers. Wallace runs the blog Turntabling.net and watches a lot of Italian crime movies on Netflix.

Freelance Income Diversification – Now Easier With Square

Square Payments by iPhoneby Joe Wallace

For a couple of years now, I’ve been supplementing my freelance income–diversifying my income portfolio, you might say–by selling vinyl records, custom silkscreened tees and other fun things. I sell hard-to-find records on Discogs.com, eBay and at conventions like Flashback Weekend, Cinema Wasteland and elsewhere.

Basically, I wake up, work all my freelance clients by day, and transition into the selling after the day’s work is done.

Lots of my fellow freelancer friends do this on Etsy, eBay, etc. But now the income diversification game just got a whole lot easier–especially for people doing book tours, conventions, in-person speaking engagements, anything a freelancer might do to train, teach or sell.

Square is a credit/debit card reader which plugs into the audio port of an iPhone or Android. There is no monthly fee to sign up, the reader is free, and Square takes a small percentage of each sale as the fee for using the service. In short, you can accept credit cards or debit cards (as credit cards) anywhere you have a cell phone signal.

I just received mine and will be using it at my vinyl record booth at an upcoming convention. But Square has much more potential than just selling crafts, t-shirts, vinyl or other merchandise. Imagine what would happen if you showed up for your next teaching gig “Freelance Writing 101” with the ability to collect your teaching fee right then and there? Or sell your latest set of teaching materials for that class? Or sell a promotional tee for your blog?

You could take Square with you to the workplace–imagine being able to offer a client the option to pay you on-site with a company credit card the next time you are asked to do a consultancy, training, or team building. Fiction writers can benefit, too–try taking a book tour to a local convention and selling your book with Square. No need to go cash-only.

There are too many creative things you could do with this portable credit card reader–which even accepts Amex and Discover at no additional fees–to boost your freelance income. The possibilities? Endless.

Freelancer Fee Convergence

book and script editor for hire Joe Wallaceby Joe Wallace

One day, science will explain that curious phenomenon I like to call “freelancer fee convergence,” which is where you go ages and ages without getting paid and then suddenly all of your checks show up at once.

This seems to happen not only to me, but to nearly every freelancer I know. Checks are late being paid, getting later all the time, the rent is due, your laundry is piling up for want of a stack of quarters, and you just sent off a new round of invoices to clients you don’t expect to pay up for at least 60 days.

Then suddenly, the late clients pay up, the new clients pay early, and you’re sitting on a small fortune.

I love feeling like a wanna-be Donald Trump (a Trump-a-be?) when I go to the bank on days like that…depositing that little pot of gold that showed up in your mailbox is a great feeling. But there’s got to be a better feeling than the one you had just the day BEFORE the mail carrier flooded your mailbox with Benjamins. That sinking feeling that you’ll be painting houses for your landlord soon, or perhaps doing a first draft on your cardboard sign.

What I want to know is, how do all the clients know to stick the check in the mail on THAT DAY so they all wind up coming at once? Is it some kind of spider-sense tingly feeling they all get? Or is there some supernatural wispy thing muttering into their ears? “Sssssennd it noooowwwwwwwwww”

Whatever the case, the mood swings from financial terror to cash flow ecstasy are a little wearying, no?

Joe Wallace is a freelance editor and writer. He’s currently editing two book projects for confidential clients and accepting new projects on a limited basis. Contact him at jwallace (at) freelance-zone (dotcom).

Even More Dirty Little Freelance Secrets

dirty secrets writing freelance articles

by Joe Wallace

I love sharing dirty little secrets, especially the ones I don’t think anybody else is willing to spill (or haven’t thought to yet). For experienced freelancers, a few of these are a no-brainer, but for anybody just starting out in the game they can be gold waiting to be mined.


Ever wonder why Freelance-Zone writers put “by so & so” instead of having the username come up on the post or having the author assigned by WordPress instead? SEO. That inclusion of “by Joe Blow” means anytime somebody Googles “Joe Blow” or comes up with that article by Joe Blow in the search results, a little bit more free PR just happened. Repetition is the key to marketing.


Whenever I query a new editor, I use any advantage I can find. They live in the same state as my sainted Aunt? If I can find a way to work the personal connection in there (without being unprofessional or obviously corny) I’ll consider it. Trust is earned when you feel like you know someone.


One day, you will work on a project as a freelancer where you need to do the client a HUGE favor. Before you say no because it’s an unreasonable expectation or totally screwing up your other plans, think about the position it puts you in for future work and recommendations. You might want to render that big favor with the full intention of calling it in at a later date. Trust me, you’ll want to call that favor in someday. Yes you will. Those who think doing good is its own reward haven’t been in the freelance writing game long enough. Continue reading Even More Dirty Little Freelance Secrets

How to Deal With Unreasonable Freelance Clients

top 5 ways to deal with problem clientsAn interesting article at FreelanceFolder by Laura Spencer got me thinking about how to avoid getting stuck with what Spencer calls a “vampire client”. Spencer’s advice was sound, but how do you avoid getting to the stage where you need to take her advice at all?

What the article defines as a vampire client is someone who keeps demanding revisions and is seemingly unable to be pleased–and all that after demanding a reduction in your usual fee. Sounds unreasonable to us!

The first thing you can do to protect yourself from an unreasonable client is to build in some parameters into your work agreement. What’s that? You don’t have a work agreement with your clients? Change that immediately.

In your agreement, build in a standard fee (which you can change to offer discounts for your valuable clients). Don’t accept less than your standard fee without a good reason, but when you do, be sure you add some additional consideration for yourself into the deal. That consideration could come as a more forgiving (and convenient for you) deadline or other concessions. Continue reading How to Deal With Unreasonable Freelance Clients