As a freelancer, my biggest issue over the years is getting paid! Half of this is my fault, and half is because I've had clients, which quite frankly, are more trouble than they are worth. Then I've had fabulous clients that pay on time, are easy to work with and I've kept for years.
The one thing that I have learnt through these experiences is that I must always take a deposit and have an agreement in place before commencing any work. That's now not negotiable with me and if my potential clients don't like that then they can find someone else.
When you ask for a deposit, that means you and the client are making a commitment, and when you have a one page agreement outlining what you deliver, that you both agree on, this sets you up for success. However, like many freelancers, I always had the fear that if I was too demanding the client would not work with me. Guess what? Those clients that I was lenient with, just didn't pay or stopped corresponding and these are not the clients that I want to attract into my life to work with.
So what do you charge and what prevents some of us from quoting what we are worth? Why do we feel that we are not good enough to charge our fee? Why do we feel we should offer our services at a reduced rate? The answer is simple; we don't believe in our own capability, we lack confidence and basically it's fear based. Fear is the opposite to love, so how on earth can we attract great clients when we work in fear? Not very easily.
Charge what you are worth as a freelancer
I know I am good at what I do because I've been doing it for years. I can get up in front of an audience and easily go through a two hour training session teaching others my tools of trade. I can easily build a website in a day, I have saved many a business owner from losing their own URL because the original web developer bought it in their own name. The list goes on. I didn't earn awards for being a blogger for nothing. So yes I am worth it. Anyone can see online the work I do, but still, I too, resisted believing in myself and often charged less than I'm worth. I'm also guilty of letting clients knock my price down or even worse, I've done things for free! I can't tell you how much time I have wasted advising potential clients on the phone or at useless meetings only for nothing to eventuate from it.
If someone says to me 'I can go to FIVERR and get a job done at the fraction of the price" I reply, 'well good luck with that, and especially as that person is probably in another country than you are.' As they say, you get what you pay for.
I have also come to realise that when a client does not pay on time, or I always have to chase the money, then it's time for to put the tools down, or just sack the client.
What should you charge?
To be honest I can't answer that question, you need to do some research on what other freelancers are charging in your industry, maybe even find some networking places online or face to face and see what others charge. This post is more about changing your mindset that you deserve to be paid what you feel you are worth. It's also about when clients start to bargain with your fee, or they don't pay you on time, you need to respect yourself enough to sack that client. Personally, I have an hourly rate that I charge for social media marketing etc, I quote for websites depending on what the client wants and lock that fee in (deposit 50%), I have either a per person fee for training seminars that are public, or for in-house set fee and I'm not the cheapest around for my hourly fee that's for sure.
Set yourself up for success
When you undercharge you are setting yourself up for failure. If you run a freelance service business like I do, you must take a deposit so you know you are not going to be wasting your time with some clients.
When I started I was so desperate for any client that I undercharged and was constantly chasing money. I never requested a deposit and didn't have an agreement in place. This is a very negative way to be feeling (desperate and undervalued) and not a path to success.
Put it in writing
Put everything in writing, never quote off the cuff. I always like to tell my clients I'll get back to them with a quote, but that's not before I've established what they really need. Therefore, have some templates that the client can fill out with relevant questions you ask of their business. If they don't want to do that then I'd imagine they are not that serious with working with you. A handshake is great, but it's not a contract.
Always have an agreement in place on exactly what you are delivering for your fee. This will ensure that there can be no argument if the client decides they want something more. This tells the client you are serious and more importantly, you are teaching yourself that you are serious about delivering good quality work and getting paid for your expertise. Make sure your agreement has the payment terms on it, including deposit if you are using that system.
Never say sorry or but
If you are use the word sorry in dealing with your client when it is related to your price then you are on the road to disaster. Why are you sorry? You think you are too expensive? The client will instantly pick up that you are not confident in yourself if you apologize over fees.
Likewise, never offer any freebies in your quote. I prefer to over deliver rather than offer anything in writing. Over delivering a little extra something as a surprise for your client is a great way to build rapport with and possibly get referrals. An example can be I build a website for a client and then create a little Instagram Video or Facebook Video for them to share. Stop being desperate
Nothing is a desperate as when you so badly need clients you lower your worth. You are sending out vibes that can only set you up to attract the wrong sort of clientele. The client will either choose your or they won't. It's very tempting to think 'something is better than nothing' and take every job that comes in. If you really evaluate your mindset, and change it to be more confident you are setting yourself up to attract the clientele that you want to work with. If a client keeps pushing for more, doesn't like the idea of paying a deposit and sends you outrageous demands then think twice about is this the type of person you want to work with?
Market only to your ideal client
Have you worked out your target market? You can start by making a list of the ideal client you want to work with then find out what they read, where they hang out online or at networking events. I will even go as far as saying you should type out an affirmation of your ideal client i.e. My ideal client is a well-established small business, too busy to deal with digital marketing but not big enough to hire a marketing manager. My ideal client signs my agreement, pays the deposit and always pays me invoice on time'. You get the idea.
The bottom line is that it is only fear of earning money and that we are worth it that stops us charging what we are worth and getting paid on time.
From today, work out your pricing structure and start saying no to those clients that muck you around. For your chance to succeed and be respected in your line of work you must quote what you are worth and refuse to work with clients who are obviously going to be problematic. I'd rather not work with troublesome clients that haggle over my price, try and add more to what I have quoted and not cement the deal with a deposit.
I recently let my guard down and gave 1.5 hours of my time on the phone, and the client never got back to me. I had a gut feeling she was going to be nothing but trouble and as it turned out I was right. Always trust your instinct.