- Experience. How many years of experience do you have in your field or industry? How much is that experience worth? How much should clients pay to use your experience for their benefit?
- Expertise. Whether you're a graphic designer or a freelancer public relations consultant, there will be different rates for different industries. If you've worked with a firm or small business, you probably have a rough idea of what the company charged clients to do similar work. If you haven’t, do your research to determine the going rate for your services.
- Competition. What do your competitors offer and charge? What makes you different (or better)? How competitive do your rates need to be in order to compete with others offering similar services to yours?
Being a freelancer has its challenges. Here are a few other things to keep in mind if you want to get paid what you deserve:
- Spell out expectations from the start. Give your client a contract specifying your rate, the amount of time you'll work on the project, and anything else that needs to be agreed upon prior to starting the new project. Just because you’re excited about landing new business doesn’t mean you should start doing work before an agreement is set in stone.
- Don’t let emotions get in the way. Emotions and business often don’t go very well together—in fact, many people think emotions equal unprofessionalism in the workplace. Getting a handle on your emotions or finding an outlet to relieve them -- like exercising or taking a break to do something you enjoy -- can help contribute to your success in working for yourself.
- Don’t undervalue yourself. I've done this before in my career, and it ultimately leads to not making as much as you should be. Do a fair assessment of yourself, and don’t feel badly about asking for what you think you deserve.
The good news about freelancing is that you hold the reins to your success and happiness. A new Elance survey found that 61 percent of freelancers are actually happier working as independent professionals than as traditional employees.
Heather Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended, has nearly a decade of public relations and marketing experience, specializing in media relations, content marketing, and social media.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.