Last Updated on: February 5th, 2018
This week we are continuing with the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Christy Birmingham.
Now please welcome Christy Birmingham to center stage. 😉
Take it away, Christy! 🙂
The Ups and Downs of the Freelance Writing Field
After working in a range of jobs from a chocolate factory line worker to manning the front desk of a bustling office, I decided to take the plunge into a freelance writing career. That was two-and-a-half years ago, and the journey has been one full of ups and downs.
I like to focus on the ‘ups’ but, of course, there have been a mix of good and bad experiences during the last few years. I hear ‘that is normal’ from other writers, although many people I know pursue their writing dreams outside of their day job or have a partner who contributes to the home income. As for me, it is ME alone who pays my bills, and I do so from writing online.
How and Why I Became a Freelance Writer
I took the path of freelance writing as my career because, after emerging from a long bout of depression and anxiety, I wanted to pursue my dream of being a writer. I had thought about it before but never taken the risk – and do not get me wrong, it IS risky! I decided that if I didn’t try it, I would have regrets, and I had seen my share of those already in my life. So, even if I tried and didn’t succeed, well, at least I had made the effort. That said, I went for it, with hands to keyboard!
The start was tough, let me tell you. I had no clue what current writing rates were and often short-changed myself, accepting rates lower than Canada’s minimum wage just to be able to get work from clients. I worked every single day and often very long hours. I continued that way for about a year and tried to figure out what to specialize in for writing tasks and topics. I changed from focusing on social media tips to health tips to … well, now I do a lot of writing for a range of business websites, producing content for their websites and blogs. I also take days off now and then to recharge my batteries and keep writer burnout far away.
The Changes I Made After the First Year: Tips To Raising Rates
After a tough first year in the freelance writing industry, I took a step back and thought about why I was not able to get ahead financially or get more balance in my working hours. When I took that step back, I saw that I was getting excellent feedback on my writing projects from clients most of the time and was even starting to get referrals to new clients. With that in mind, I realized it would be wise to raise my rates, as my work quality spoke for itself.
I recall approaching a client I had worked with for about six months and sending him an email to explain that I would be increasing my rates. In the email, I offered examples of my strong work ethic and great writing skills to qualify the increased rate. For example, I explained that I always responded promptly to his project requests and often delivered work before the deadline. I also pointed out the great content I had produced for him already, including a number of blog posts.
After I had sent this email, I felt anxious as to what the response would be. Within only a few hours, the client responded and said that he would increase the rate and was thankful to have me as part of his team. I was very appreciative and explained that in my response back to him. I was glad I had taken the risk!
I also recommend that email approach to a freelance writer who is thinking of raising rates with an existing client. I will add, however that you do need to qualify WHY you are worth the higher payment and you also must be prepared to get a ‘no’ (possibly) from the client.
While some days are difficult as a freelance writer, with rejections to job proposals and critiques over work submitted, other days are amazingly full of opportunities for new projects and the pride of getting deadlines done ahead of schedule. I love that I am pursuing my dream of writing, and I refuse to give up on it. I truly believe that if you want something bad enough then you will keep going until you achieve success at it!
About Writer Christy Birmingham
When Christy is not writing content for businesses, it’s likely that you will find her on her blogs Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. In addition, feel free to connect with me on Twitter and Google+.
Have you ever had a problem deciding on your rates?
Have you ever had a client refuse to pay you more? What did you do?
Share your experiences in the comment section!
And don’t forget to thank Christy for her freelancing advice!
Check out the other freelancers in this series:
If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.
If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.