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Re: nervous about asking for my first raise as an intermediate writer

Active Member
Jason L Member Since: Mar 7, 2018
1 of 8

Hello everyone.  I have been freelancing on upwork for 2 years now, and recently begun finding consistent writing jobs.  The client offered me a rate of .011/word, and I accepted, two jobs at this rate, as well as a similar rate from another client.  Now I am preparing to ask for my first raise.  I am nervous, and would appreicate any support or words of wisdom from more experienced freelancers.

 

Thank you

Active Member
Jason L Member Since: Mar 7, 2018
2 of 8

After reading a few other threads and comments on this topic, I have decided asking for .03 cents per word is very reasonable.  .05 cents per word appears to be market value, but it would be a dramatic increase, which I fear is to much to fast.

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
3 of 8

I usually find new clients who will pay my new desired rate before mentioning a rate increase to existing clients. I have used this method to work up to a per-word rate that is 10x what I started at several years ago. (As you may imagine, I started out at a pretty low per-word rate.) I have gradually increased my hourly rate using this technique as well. 

 

These increases weren't just based on the market standard though. I consistently expanded and improved my skillset over that time. So that I could justify a higher rate with each new client. 

 

In general, a client who wants a long-term relationship with you as their writer will meet reasonable rate increases. A client who has a fixed budget and doesn't care who does the writing will not. Some clients will appreciate added value, some can't afford the added value. Smiley Wink

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
4 of 8

Jason L wrote:

Hello everyone.  I have been freelancing on upwork for 2 years now, and recently begun finding consistent writing jobs.  The client offered me a rate of .011/word, and I accepted, two jobs at this rate, as well as a similar rate from another client.  Now I am preparing to ask for my first raise.  I am nervous, and would appreicate any support or words of wisdom from more experienced freelancers.

 

Thank you


I think it's reasonable to discuss a rate increase on a yearly basis for a long-term contract.

What you want to avoid is baiting a client with a low rate, and then going for an increase of 3 times what you agreed on. That would naturally annoy a client. You also want to avoid the impression that you were willing to work for peanuts, and only now realized you could charge more, that is just unprofessional. IMO you should keep that increase within reasonable limits more in line with a yearly pay increase.

If you regret working for such a low rate, that is a mistake that can be rectified with your next clients, but I would be really careful with the current ones, you might set yourself up for bad feedback. 

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
5 of 8

Jason, don't get too hung up on what per word rate is "market" or you "should be" asking for, and certainly not the mythical "minimum". 

I've been freelancing for 30 years and make a six figure income in 25-30 hours/week, and I have clients who pay far below and far above the rates Cairenn set forth as an acceptable range. That's because per-word rates in isolation are completely meaningless.

Some 1,000 word pieces take barely an hour to write and can be written off the top of my head. Others take four hours, or even six, when you factor in research. Clearly, those two pieces are not of equal value.

I don't charge by the word, but if I break down my regular client work that way, my effective per-word rate ranges from about 12 cents to $2.75 per word. My effective hourly rate is about the same for all of them, though often a bit higher for the lowest per-word rates, since those pieces are so quick and easy to write.

Ace Contributor
Lexidh S Member Since: Mar 21, 2018
6 of 8

You should definitely ask for a raise if the money you earn per hour is not what you can make a decent living on. I've had to ask for a raise from one of my clients (hourly rate), and after 3 years of almost weekly work with no complaints, it wasn't a problem. It's not paying what I ask from new clients these days, but it is better than what I started out with, before I knew what I needed. If they can't pay you what you ask, then it's probably time to find someone else to work for. I know THAT is easier said than done, but you can't put yourself in a bad situation either. 

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
7 of 8

Tiffany's answer is the most comprehensive; the attached link is for additional info.

 

https://www.the-efa.org/rates/

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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
8 of 8

I set my rates based on the EFA rate survey results Wendy posted.

The variable that is missing from that data is my own pace for performing the various tasks. I have tracked this across a range of jobs, and learned that I work at the upper end of the reported range for most editorial tasks, and in the lower half of the range for a few others. With that information, I've been able to adjust rates according to the needs of each job so the client is paying a fair, market-based rate, and I am getting a decent return on my time investment.

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