How To Negotiate Daily Rates When Starting as a Freelance Web Writer

If you decide to start contracting, one of the hardest things to work out is what daily rate to charge. Many of the readers on this site are looking at ways to escape the 9-5 and moving into contracting is one way to start this process.

If you decide to start contracting, one of the hardest things to work out is what daily rate to charge. Many of the readers on this site are looking at ways to escape the 9-5 and moving into contracting is one way to start this process.

How much should I really charge?

I’ve heard people use different approaches to determine what to charge. Some make sense, others are a bit flaky.
For example:
Divide your annual salary by 52 weeks and then add on 20 percent. If you’re on 52k, and divide by 52 weeks, you’d get 1k per week.
Add 20 percent and you’re up to 1200 per week.
Divide this by 5 days and you get 240 per day.
I’m not so sure about this. It doesn’t take into consideration the real world, so to speak, or at least why your peers are charging for their work.

How to Work Out Daily Rates

Here’s an approach that I’d take:

  1. Look at the recruitment websites and find the type of job you want. Make a list of the daily rates across several sites. The ideal is to get an average daily rate and not rely just on one site. If you’re a total beginner to the field, say just out of college, your rates will be more towards the lower end.
  2. Contact the local Recruitment companies, explain the type of positions that you’re after. Ask them what daily rates you can expect to get based on your experience. Let’s say they believe you can get 200 per day. Now, as a rule of thumb, Recruiters add 20 percent to the rates they charge clients. In other words, if they offer you 200 per day, they’ll probably charge the client 240 per day. The extra 40 per day (i.e. 20 percent) is their fee.
  3. Once you know the average daily rates, you can go directly to a company and offer your services from 200 – 240 per day. If you charge 220 per day, then they stand to save 20 per day, 100 per week, and 400 per month. Try to highlight this when talking to them. Otherwise, they may assume that you’re rates are the same as the recruiters.
  4. Contact the HR Dept of the IT companies. Ask if they hire ‘direct’ rather than through recruitment companies. Some companies, especially large multi-nationals, have a policy of using recruitment firms only. It’s mostly for legal reasons and no reflection on your abilities. Smaller companies tend to be more flexible.

Tip: if you’re new to contracting, target local companies with less than 50 employees. These are usually more receptive to independent contractors and, even if they don’t have large 3+ month contracts, may have many smaller pieces of work. This can be a good way to build your portfolio while paying the bills.

Succeeding as a Freelance Contractor

Your success as a freelance contractor depends not only on your ability to do the job but to sell your services to prospective clients.
I can’t emphasize this enough.
Companies won’t come to you offering you work. You have to go to them. Before you do this, prepare everything in advance, from your sales pitch, writing samples, business cards, and of course the answer to their last question: how much do you charge?

Conclusion

If you have done your homework, you’ll feel confident when discussing the rates. If the person refuses you, at least you know its not because of your prices but something else.
Try to find out what that is before you hang up!
Let me know how you increase your daily rates.

How to Increase Customer Signup Rates by Email

If you had a choice between email and Facebook for web marketing, which would you choose? I hope you chose email as it’s more effective for long-term customer engagement. Try to segment your customer list on Facebook and see how hard it is. But there is a problem with email.
aweber increase email subscribers

Email Marketing – Increase Signups By Checking Confirmations

Even though someone signups to your newsletter, that doesn’t mean they’ve actually signed up.
Sound confusing?
Here’s what’s happening and how to fix it.
When someone signups for your newsletter, the following happens:

  • On your website, they enter their email address and click Submit.
  • This sends a message to your email provider (I use aweber. You can get the $1 trial here).
  • Aweber sends a confirmation email to the person.
  • They have to confirm that they want to receive the newsletter.

This is where the problem occurs.

Email Marketing – Problems with Email Confirmations

The confirmation email will:

  • Go into their inbox. If it does they may click Confirm or ignore it. Maybe they’re too busy. Or…
  • Go into their spam folder. They never see it unless they check this folder. Or…
  • It never got to them as they’ve entered the wrong email address. For example, I see people enter

Hotmal instead of Hotmail
Gmial instead of Gmail
And so on…
How do you fix this?
You have a few options.
One of the things I like about aweber is that it shows me the number of people who have signed up but NOT confirmed yet.
In other words, they went to the site, entered their email, but (for whatever reason) haven’t confirmed.
And until they do, I can’t send them my blog posts, newsletters, special offers and so on…

Email Marketing – How to Rescue Lost Signups

Here’s what I do.

  • I give them four days to confirm. Why? If they signed up on Friday pm, they may not see it until Monday pm. So allow for this.
  • I send them a short email (from my personal business account).
  • I thank them for signing up and highlight that they have not confirmed yet.

Is there a problem we can help with? Did they get the email?
And then I leave it and wait for them to come back. I don’t chase them a second time.

Takeaway

You can use this technique to identify who has signed up but not confirmed.
Contact those who are in ‘limbo’ and use discretion. Many emails go to the spam folder. Remind then to add your email to their address book and your newsletter will get delivered.
What other problems have you had delivering emails? What tactic works best?

How Much Should You Pay For a 500 Word Article?

I’m curious. How much would you pay me to write a 500 word article for you?
Ok. I don’t do freelance work at the moment. But, if I did, how would you go about it?One way to scale your internet business is to outsource writing tasks to Virtual Assistants and Freelancers. The upfront cost (payment) is offset by the extra sales you’ll make (returns) on the time you save.

typewriter keys
Creative Commons License photo credit: Joelk75
I’m curious. How much would you pay me to write a 500 word article for you?
Ok. I don’t do freelance work at the moment. But, if I did, how would you go about it?One way to scale your internet business is to outsource writing tasks to Virtual Assistants and Freelancers. The upfront cost (payment) is offset by the extra sales you’ll make (returns) on the time you save.
That’s how it works if you do it right. Let’s take a look.

How to outsource your articles

You can use sites like ODesk.com to post your project and get freelancers to bid. Here’s how it works:

  • Write out the specifications for the work you want done, say 5 articles on your business niche.
  • Be as precise as possible. The more details you can give, the better a response you’ll get.
  • Submit the work request.
  • Freelancers will contact you and outline their rates, offer samples, and should be able to provide references. Many sites let you see references and recommendations from satisfied customers in the freelancers profile. Yes, it can be rigged, but in general it works very well.
  • Look at the reference work and make a decision.
  • Don’t choose the cheapest option. Look for the best VA/Freelancer and build a long-term relationship.
  • Consider offering bonuses or other incentives if they deliver the material ahead of time. In the long run, it’s more economical to work with 1 or 2 trusted VAs than having to search for new ones all the time.
  • Pay as agreed. Usually I pay a percentage upfront if the person has been recommended to me or pay on receipt if it’s a new VA.
  • I use PayPal and have a verified business account.

How I Write

The other option is to write the material yourself. I do this is the subject matter is very specialized and I can’t find freelance writers with relevant experience.
Here’s how I do it:

  • Choose a topic, for example, Mobile Commerce.
  • Identify ten questions around the subject. How do I setup a Mobile Shop? How do I take payments over the phone etc.
  • Write skeletons for each of the questions; these are a series of headings that I’ll use to flesh out the articles in more detail.
  • Write in batches, for example, for three hours at a time. That lets me build up a head of steam and really get into the subject.
  • Turn off everything and just write.
  • Stop.
  • Leave it for a day.
  • Return to the material and complete it.

My aim would be to write 5000 words minimum.
That works out at 500 words per article, usually more. In some cases, you can cut/paste material that applies to different articles.

Typing Skills

One reason I can do this is I type very fast. Very fast.
I learnt to use a typewriter as a teenager and have fairly good touch typing skills.
If your income is based on how many words you can type, learn to touch type.
It’s a no-brainer.

Pay By The Hour

If you do choose to go with the freelancer, you have two options.
If you pay by the hour:

  • Look at the going rates.
  • See what others charge first.
  • Get a few quotes.
  • Weight up the options.

Some writers prefer this arrangement.
For me it doesn’t work. I don’t charge others by the hour – unless they want to! – as I prefer to be paid/rewarded on performance.
I prefer to pay by output. How long it takes… I don’t care.

Pay By Words

What I do is say, ‘I need 5,000 words on this subject. How much would it cost? Have you any samples of writing similar material.’
I don’t want freelancers cutting and pasting material from the web. I prefer to see if they have written about the subject before and then proceed.
I ask to see samples and get references if necessary.
When they start to write, I ask for a draft to be sent over. Again, I don’t want to wait until the end and find the material is sub-standard.
If the quality is really good, I might commission more work and…

Bonus

I offer bonuses to the really good writers. I want to lock in with them and keep them onside. This is a cost cutting measure if you think about it.
The less time you spend looking for freelancers, the more time you have for more important activities.
Another no-brainer!

How much for 500 words?

I’ve spoken to others who use VAs and Freelancers. And, it depends…

  • If the writer knows the subject matter, they should be able to write about 1000 words in an hour. This article took 45 minutes.
  • If the writer is new to the subject, it will take more depending on the amount of research.

Most professional writers can touch type. If they can type 60 words per minute, then do the math.
It shouldn’t take long if they know the subject matter.
Therefore…
If the time it takes them to come up to speed takes too long, you may as well write it yourself. I outsource to trusted writers that I know can turn it around super quick.
And I pay above the going rate.
I don’t want to waste time (i.e. money) looking for status updates, answering queries, listening to ‘the dog ate my homework’ stories.
PS – this article is 909 words and took 41 minutes to write.

Why Your About Us Page is the Second Most Important Page on Your Site?

You find a blog you really like. You want to learn more. You’re thinking of buying from them. What do you do? Click About Us, right? Most people do. Now, pretend you’ve never visited your own site. Remember, you know nothing about you. Nothing. Look at your About Us page? Be honest, what’s the one thing that’s wrong with it?

You find a blog you really like. You want to learn more. You’re thinking of buying from them. What do you do? Click About Us, right? Most people do. Now, pretend you’ve never visited your own site. Remember, you know nothing about you. Nothing. Look at your About Us page? Be honest, what’s the one thing that’s wrong with it? Continue reading “Why Your About Us Page is the Second Most Important Page on Your Site?”

STC Adopts New Pay-As-You-Go Pricing Structure

Cindy Curry, the STC President, explains how the new STC pricing structure works.
STC spends, on average, just under $250 to provide services to a member, yet dues rates have been well below that amount. She adds that “for several years the revenue generated by the annual conference and our earnings from invested reserves have covered the difference—until now. We need to change our business model and adopt a pay-as-you-go approach.” Continue reading “STC Adopts New Pay-As-You-Go Pricing Structure”

How much do freelance writers charge for writing posts?

How much do freelance writers charge for writing posts? Now that our little site is doing well, freelance writers are approaching us and offering their services. I thought I’d offer this to give you all an idea of the rates per post and per article we’re being quoted. By the way, the writer you sent this was very professional, had a great portfolio and recommendations from satisfied clients.

goldNow that our little site is doing well, freelance writers are approaching us and offering their services. I thought I’d offer this to give you all an idea of the rates per post and per article we’re being quoted.
By the way, the writer who sent this was very professional, had a great portfolio and recommendations from satisfied clients. Continue reading “How much do freelance writers charge for writing posts?”

Hourly rates for Technical Writers

Hourly rates for Technical Writers

Hourly rates for Technical Writers are posted on HotGigs. Not sure if I’d agreed totally with these findings. What rates do you folks see where you are? In Ireland it varies between 45-75 euro per hour.
The average hourly bill rate is: $80 and $65 for Framemaker experts.
rates
Link: http://www.hotgigs.com/rates/title/Technical-Writer-hourly-bill-or-pay-rates/