The freelance pricing MYTH – why your rates don’t matter

Is your freelance rate too high to find clients? Should you lower your rate so that you can find work? Perhaps your rate is too low and you’re not getting paid what you are worth? Here’s another suggestion: Start asking different questions to get better results!

Almost every freelancer I speak to is concerned about their freelance rate one way or the other. I might even speak to 2 different freelancers on the same day and one would think their rate is too high, while the other is wondering whether it’s too low.

Here are just a few of the concerns surrounding rates:

Every client says my portfolio is outstanding but when it comes to money, they clam up and disappear into the shadows.

1. You’re finding it hard to get client work. Should you lower your rates to attract new clients and help you close those deals?
2. You’re not working in a large city. Do you need to charge less based on your location?
3. You’ve heard about the ‘six figure club’ of freelancers earning more than $100,000 per year. It seems like the holy grail – are you even a successful freelancer before you’ve reached this goal?
4. Your rate seems low and you feel you’ve undervalued your skills. Did you really teach yourself so hard for many years to do minimum-wage work for cheapskate clients?

I feel at this point in my life and with the skills I have, I should be earning at least $25,000 a year.

Does any of this seem familiar? Many of us assume that there is a ‘right’ freelance rate, a kind of natural rate set by the universe, a rate that will magically attract new customers to our door in the hundreds while rewarding us handsomely for the many years of experience we have under our belts. Unfortunately, this rate simply doesn’t exist. A ‘right’ rate is A MYTH – and the longer you hold on to that myth, the longer you will stop yourself from moving forward with your freelance career.

So what is the ‘right’ rate to charge your client? That’s easy – there is only one ‘right’ rate, and it’s the rate that your client is willing to pay. This might seem unfair – but this rate has almost nothing to do with you or your expectations. Good sales technique may help you close a deal but you won’t be able to convince your client to start paying outside of their normal spending habits. A cheapskate client will always stay a cheapskate client, no matter how much value or experience you think you are bringing to the table.

Once you’ve realised that the rate you can charge depends entirely on the client, you can start asking the questions that really matter:

  1. Which clients regularly spend larger amounts of money?
  2. How can I best contact these clients?
  3. How can I improve my sales technique to make it easy for these clients to work with me?

Take a big piece of paper and write down the 3 questions, by hand.
Hang it up on your wall close to your computer.
Allocate time each week (even if it’s just an hour) to work on each question.

Do you see how these questions are different to ‘Should I lower my rates?’ or ‘Why isn’t my client paying me enough?’. They move the focus from you and a ‘right’ rate to the clients’ spending patterns and expectations. By changing your perspective in this way, you will start to make inroads into a higher-paying, more rewarding freelance career.