Busy day, so just enough time for a quick rant. I met with a colleague for coffee yesterday. She’s a lawyer by trade, with plenty of courtroom experience and a solid background in the technical aspects of writing, but happens to be new to the freelance writing and editing business. At one point she mentioned that she’s enrolled in an editing certificate program through a well-known university. And something her professor suggested about freelance pricing, well, let’s just say it qualified as academic malpractice. [Read more…]
Self-inflicted scope creep and perfectionism
Dr. Freelance: I have a tendency to let my perfectionist side get the better of me, kind of like scope creep but it’s not the client’s fault. I’ll start with “just that little bit extra” to make sure that what I turn in is absolutely impeccable, then realize that I’ve spent 2 extra hours that weren’t in my estimate. Doc, save me from myself!—Little Miss Perfect
LMP, I’m going to give you a little tough love here: Every writer, editor, designer or other freelance creative who’s worth a darn has a perfectionist streak, but if you fail to keep it in check, it can be disastrous for your profitability. Take your example, and multiple it out across a couple of clients a month, and you are doing a lot of work for free. You’re not getting $XX per hour, you’re getting $XX-10%. [Read more…]
Brochure writing and playing nice
I secured a brochure writing project for a new client this week, a lead brought to me through one of my graphic designer partners. She asked for a quick ballpark range on what it would cost, so I shot toward the conservative end of things, based on my long-standing belief in the benefits of high estimates. I also asked for a deposit, as I always do with new clients.
The client, let’s call him Bill, signed off on it, but when we had our initial (and only) conversation about the content, he emphasized that he didn’t think the project would really take too long. I assured him that the estimate was just that, and that I would invoice him accordingly. I received his deposit check promptly. [Read more…]
How to get paid what you’re worth
If you don’t already subscribe to Peter Shankman (creator of Help A Reporter Out, aka HARO), you should. His blog post yesterday, “How to get paid what you’re worth,” is a must-read for all freelancers, as are the comments.
Pricing and estimating are among the trickiest aspects of the freelance game, as for any service business. Shankman puts a fine point on what I was getting at yesterday — you can always come down in price, but you can never go up — as well as offering some other excellent insights on how you can price your services properly.
The benefits of high estimates
On to the always-popular (and sometimes contentious) topic of pricing and estimating for freelancers. More specifically today, I want to address the psychological benefits of high estimates via a lesson I learned over the holidays. [Read more…]