Freelance project deposits aren’t just about the money

freelance project depositsDr. Freelance: Like you, I prefer to give prospective clients a range estimate. But once they accept it, what number do I use to determine the amount for freelance project deposits? I’ve heard anywhere from 30-50%—I’m feeling comfortable with 35%, personally—but 35% of what? The low end? The mean? Probably *not* the high end.—Rachel [Read more…]

Value-based pricing: How can it boost your freelance business?

value-based pricingValuing your services on the basis of your skills, knowledge, and experience—as opposed to hourly rates for a task—gives your freelance business a lot more income potential than blindly following rate sheets. It’s not a calculation you can make in isolation, however. A value-based pricing approach requires looking at the situation from the client’s perspective: What can they expect from their investment if they hire you? [Read more…]

Stop wasting time on the cutting room floor

cutting room floorSelf-inflicted scope creep often results from perfectionism gone awry. Sometimes, however, it’s caused by the slightly more-noble impulse to convert all of our hard-earned research and interviews into usable text. When I catch myself wasting time that way, I remind myself that readers or freelance clients see the final product. I’m the only one who knows what lands on the cutting room floor. [Read more…]

When heavy editing weighs you down

heavy editingDr. Freelance: I recently acquired a new client who hired me to edit her blog posts, which she writes herself. Let’s just say she’s not the world’s greatest writer, and I did some heavy editing to the first few posts. It was obvious her feelings were hurt, and she chose to return a lot of the copy to the original (including the lead, which was terrible). I saw your post “There’s no crying in freelance editing” and was hoping you could provide some thoughts on how to address my situation. I really want to help her make her blog posts better, but I’m going to lose her as a client if we can’t agree on what “better” is or how we get there.—Better You Bet [Read more…]

A guilt-free approach to freelance client boundaries

freelance client boundariesOver the holiday weekend, I received an urgent email from a client asking about the status of a newsletter that needed to be sent out before the end of the month. The only problem was, I hadn’t gotten the original email. Thanks to autofill, she’d accidentally sent it to another Jake in her address book. My decision was easy: She’s a fantastic long-term client who’d made an honest mistake, so I took a break from repairing the deck and completed her job. This event coincided with several discussions I saw on Facebook with freelancers talking (and some complaining) about having to work over the holiday weekend, which brings me to today’s topic: setting freelance client boundaries. [Read more…]

Is it time to diversify your freelance business?

freelance business incomeSince you’re already knee-deep in numbers, tax time is an ideal point to take an honest look at your freelance business—not just the top-line income number, but a client-by-client breakdown. The numbers don’t lie, and they could be flashing a warning signal that it’s time to diversify your freelance business. As suggested in last week’s post, client diversity is your best business defense against a freelance client bankruptcy or financial trouble, but there are other reasons to take a dive into the data. [Read more…]