I was wasting time on Facebook when this popped up…
Well, I didn’t give an answer. I hardly ever post answers on Facebook. (Too many armchair debaters and trolls.)
But I’ll gladly use her question as blog-fodder.
And, as it happens, nobody on Facebook was answering this question in sufficient detail. That is, nobody was talking about the psychology behind charging higher rates.
Because it is a psychology.
Every conversation involves some level of power and status. There is somebody in a position of strength.
As a freelancer, or anyone trying to sell, it’s easy to find yourself on the wrong side of this table, in the supplicant position – where it’s difficult to charge your worth.
Who started the conversation?
This is the first question you need to ask.
Whoever’s first to talk is in the weaker position. (They’re the one in need.)
I do still approach potential clients. However, it is not my favourite way to get business, because it’s difficult to make enough money up front.
This is why I also like my email list, contacts, and working with marketing agencies who are connected and spread word-of-mouth.
I once met a bloke who was setting up a new advertising agency. He wanted to make me a creative director. He came to me first.
“I want to pay you lots and lots of money, Alex,” he said. “I want to pay you enough so you won’t want to work for anyone else.”
The project didn’t come off, sadly, but it was the first time I really understood the power of being approached.
The clients who come to you are already sold. They need help. So you have the power to charge more.
Are you a pro-active problem solver? Or just a gun-for-hire?
You can do okay as a freelancer simply accepting assignments and taking the available money.
But the top-dog freelancers do much more. They look for other opportunities the client can exploit to increase profits.
I recently attended a seminar with the Marketing Knight, Doberman Dan.
Dan was talking to a bloke who’d accept cheap copywriting gigs. However, once his foot was in the door, he’d find new ways to raise the client’s profits. And he’d strike royalty deals of 10-15% on making it happen.
This is when your income can explode.
This bloke had a 250-word email make him $30,000. That’s a lot more than $0.20 a word. That works out to $120 a word. (I think that’s a 60,000% difference, but I’m not too great at maths.)
What’s more, in certain situations, getting these results can be quite simple.
A lot of small businesses do NOT know what they’re doing. It’s not that they’re stupid. Marketing is just not their area of expertise.
Are you selling the feature? Or the benefit?
I see a lot of copywriters trying to sell writing.
This is not wise.
Nobody values writing.
Other copywriters talk about their exceptional spelling and grammar. Again, who cares?
I’ve met a lot of business-owners. They only ever care about one thing:
This is why I always talk about writing in terms of the results it can bring:
- Lower customer-acquisition costs
- More sales
- Higher profits
If you are a copywriter, and you don’t know how to sell, this is where I suggest you focus your attention. Learn how to write good sales copy. It’ll make you a lot more money than writing blog posts. It is probably the best chance you have to make a high income as a writer.
And the clients pay the money without fuss. Why wouldn’t they? One of my old Finnish colleagues made a client an 11,000% ROI. Even if they’re writing you a fat cheque, it’s a deal too crazy for the client to turn down
Finally: Are you desperate for money? If so, this is the first problem you MUST solve. Right now. I explain why here – with some of my favourite techniques for getting yourself rid of desperation.