Determine Your Freelance Writing Fees - 3
Putting it All Together
Add it all up and divide
Now that you know what you real expenses for both yourself and your freelance writing business are and you know what you should be saving, and how much it will cost you to provide the benefits, it's fairly simply to figure how much you should charge for your writing. Just take the total and divide by the number of hours each week or month you plan to work.
I use a 50 week work year rather than the actual 52 weeks. It's a built in fudge factor that seems to work for me. The number of hours to plan on working each week is the big variable.
It's Paid Hours That Count For Freelance Writers
When you're working a regular job, you get paid when you're productive and when you're not. If you have an off day or two at an office, you still get paid. That's not true when your earning your living freelancing.
As a freelancer, you also won't get paid for the time you spend marketing, although you've got to do it to keep the work flowing in. You probably won't be paid for research unless you have a contract for researching. But research is a must.
I suspect that it's realistic, when setting your hourly rate to figure you'll actually be working for money something like 20 hours a week. Sure, that will vary, but it's a good starting point.
When Your Freelance Rate Comes Out Way High
Chances are, the first time you really work this exercise through, including all your expenses and figuring what it will cost you for benefits, etc., the hourly rate will look way to high. Don't panic. Chances are you're thinking way too low. Here's an example:
If your expenses, including savings, benefits and vacations indicate you should be earning $10,000 a month, multiply that number by 12 for $120,000 a year; divide it by 50 (the number of weeks) for $2,400. Now divide again by 20 (the number of paid hours) and the result is $120 an hour. That may seem way more than you can charge today for your writing; on the other hand, it's not out of line for top writers, and, in fact, might be a bit low.
Don't despair! If you're not able to bring in that much, make it a goal.
Work the Numbers Backwards
Do a reality check. Take the hourly amount you're actually charging today, multiply that by 20 and that by 50 for the annual income and see where you are. If, for example, you're charging $25 an hour, 20 hours a week equals $500 which is $25,000 when you multiply by 50 weeks.
Now you know where you are with your hourly rate and where you'd like to be.
Sit with the two numbers for awhile. Give some serious thought to increasing your fees. Ask yourself how you can work smarter, not harder. It will come.
Write well and often!
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