How to Know What to Charge as a New Freelance Copywriter
Perhaps one of the most common questions I’m asked as someone who works in the “biz” as they call it (actually, I don’t know anyone who calls it that), people always want to know what to charge when they are just starting out.
It’s a good question, because it’s not very intuitive. Also, people like money I’ve heard.
Freelance is a tough gig. You can’t really land an awesome client until you get an impressive portfolio, but you can’t really put together that impressive portfolio, until you get that awesome client.
So you have to start out taking on clients that you might not be super jazzed about. And oftentimes, that means negotiating your pay.
So where do you start? If you charged $10 an hour, they would probably be stoked to get you at that price. The downside? Besides not being able to pay your bills, your clients won’t take you seriously as a copywriter.
If you charge $65 an hour, you might not get, or retain a client who deems your price too expensive, considering the work they’re getting.
So here are some helpful tips to help you figure it out:
- Competitive research: Glassdoor, Salary.com, Indeed are all great resources to use for looking up a copywriter’s salary in your area.
- My word of caution-know what the job entails, and pay attention to the job description. If your client needs a “content writer” but it turns out they actually needed a copywriter, that could make a difference in your salary requirements (always try to receive appropriate compensation for your work).
- Consider the client: Are they a start up working out of their mom’s garage? Or are they a fortune 500 company? You should have an idea of what they can afford, so you can charge them accordingly.
- This is your living. Charge what will make you comfortable enough to get by. It’s probably too much to ask for a 6 figure salary to start, but pricing yourself too low will not help keep the lights on, nor will it help you in the long run in case you choose to stay with the company.
- Ask other copywriters what they charge. Copywriters like myself are always glad to help you find your salary range that both you and client will feel comfortable with.
- Consider whether your work is as good as other copywriters. If so, don’t be afraid to charge the same.
I hope these tips help you land your first freelance gigs. Remember that this is your livelihood, and don’t be afraid to charge clients what you are worth.