Upwork raised its fees, and here’s what you can learn from it

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UpworkIf you’re looking for a slam on bidding sites or outsourcing services, you’re not going to find it here. No, this is about the news that Upwork raised the fees it charges freelancers from 10% to 20% on projects of $500 or less and created a sliding fee scale based on freelancers’ lifetime billings. (The fees drop to 10% on projects of $500.01-$10,000, and 5% above that.) My interaction with Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is limited to a strange experience with hiring a freelancer whose freelance rates were so low they made me question her talent. [Read more…]

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Keeping your freelance rate on the QT with references

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freelance rate referencesDr. Freelance, a potential new corporate client has asked to speak to a couple of my existing clients as references. Is it fair and appropriate to ask those clients to keep the freelance rate I charge them confidential, since it’s lower than what I’ve quoted this potential client? I have different rates for different types of clients, but the new client may not appreciate the distinction. Any advice on approach—what to do/say or what not to do/say—would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!—Keeping It on the QT
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When a freelance client files bankruptcy

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freelance client bankruptcyI started to get suspicious when a reliable freelance client still hadn’t paid their invoice after 60 days and several follow-ups. My left eye started to twitch when I discovered both of my main contacts had been let go. Yesterday, after several voicemails and emails of second and third notices, I got my answer: They’re filing for bankruptcy. It wasn’t a huge invoice, a couple hundred dollars, but it was a reminder from the universe that there’s no such thing as risk-free freelancing. [Read more…]

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Editing rates and negotiating

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editing rates negotiatingDr. Freelance: I was approached by a successful entrepreneur and aspiring author who’s written a massive book about his industry. I initially gave him my editing rates in an hourly rate (a mistake, I know!), and he asked me to calculate a project fee based on the document as it stands. Well, my estimate was about 25% above his budget, and now he’s asking me to lower my rates. (He still wants me to edit the book, based on my own experience in his industry and the editing sample I sent him.) The challenge is that he wants more than just copyediting: He wants to cut out a lot of fluff, and there are some organizational issues I’d need to address as well as cleaning up the manuscript. I truly believe that my estimate is fair, but I’m torn between wanting the gig and needing to stand my ground.—What’s My Next Move? [Read more…]

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The need for speed [in freelance writing]

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freelance writing speedDr. Freelance: I’ve been offered $0.10 a word, for a total of $9350, between now and December 30 to provide writing content for five different websites. No two sentences can be the same. I’m trying to decide if this is physically possible.—Karin

I’ll be honest: When I first read this, I was thinking you’d been offered a freelance writing job for 9,350 words, which is physically possible. But after our follow-up conversation, I understand that the project is actually a headier 93,500 words. I wrote a bit about writing speed in “How much time will it take to write the copy?” a while back, but let’s break your particular situation into its component parts—because it’s not just about the need for speed. It’s about math. [Read more…]

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Help! I’m underpricing my freelance rates

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underpricing freelance ratesDr. Freelance: You have probably heard this before, but I constantly look at the going freelance rates for a project on one of the industry rate charts, add up the average per page/word costs, then think, “I can’t charge THAT!” So I end up underpricing myself and throwing in freebies such as marketing plans and so on.

I am aware of the danger of undervaluing my work, but I have really yet to find a client who understands the value in what they are receiving and are willing to pay full price. I recently lost out on an editing project, which I’d priced at $1,500 for 80 hours, to another editor who charged $400. I understand that I need to do a better job of pricing accurately, but how do I avoid losing work to someone who’s supplementing their retirement income with a few dollars?—Shooting Myself in the Foot [Read more…]

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