How Much Should a beginner Freelance Writer Charge?

How much should a beginner freelance writer charge?

As much as you’d like for me to give you a magic bullet answer, the truth is it depends.

Read this:

Experience Level

Determining your writing skill level is a blend of various factors. As a new freelance writer, you might not have much experience, but you're likely rich in skills and resources.

When setting your rates for clients, take these into account:

1. Your Previous Work Experience

Your past work experience can boost your freelance writing value. Skills from roles like customer service or sales can polish your writing.

Specialized knowledge from computer programming, crypto, ecommerce or web design etc, can be woven into your content. Any industry knowledge you have can be applied to your writing.

2. Your Writing Experience

Your writing should reflect your deep understanding, as if you've lived the experience.

Break down complex ideas into simple, digestible bits.

Base your facts on reliable sources and mention them occasionally for credibility.

What Niche Are You In?

Here are some freelance copywriting niches:

  • Ghostwriting
  • Direct Response Copywriting
  • SEO Copywriting
  • Email Copywriting
  • Finance
  • Health And Fitness
  • SaaS
  • Dating

Notice how some target a specific skill and others target a market?

You’ll find some niches pay higher than others but it largely depends on the market.

Take Ghostwriting.

You can Ghostwrite for broke startups or you can do it for CEOs who make millions of dollars.

Notice the difference?

It isn’t so much about what you do, it’s more about who you target and what they’re willing to pay.

That doesn’t mean you should do copywriting for CEOs.

That’s too broad.

You need to master a particular skill for a lucrative market.

Newsletter for CEOs works.

Ghostwriting for CEOs also works.

Pick a skill which drives results combined with a market who has plenty of money.

Freelance Writing Pricing Models

There's no one-size-fits-all in the world of freelance copy.

Each gig is its own beast, and you might need to mix and match pricing methods.

Your average freelance writer charges $29 per hour.

But here’s the deal, you NEVER want to lock yourself into an hourly rate.

In the beginning, you might have to but eventually move the heck away from it towards value pricing.

Before we get into value pricing let me explain 4 different freelance pricing models:

  1. Per Hour
  2. Per Word
  3. Per Project
  4. Value Based Pricing

Freelance Writer Rates Per Hour

Hourly freelance writing rates are somewhat less common among freelance writers (with good reason).

how much should a beginner freelance writer charge

On Upwork the data tells us freelance writers make between $19 and $45 per hour on the platform.

$45 per hour on the Upwork platform (which takes a fee) won’t even get you $85,000 per year.

You’ll need to stretch your hours if you want to put food on the table.

Hourly rates also don't reward productivity.

They don't sound great to clients, either. Clients don’t like surprise bills. Plus it takes extra time, energy and effort for you to forecast your hours.

If you predict wrong, the client can get upset.

Freelance Rates Per Word

Word count is an easy way to balance the value you provide with the time it takes to provide it.

You can charge anywhere from $0.01 to $2 per word depending on the industry, complexity, and deadline.

The problem with word counts is some freelance writers will stuff the article full of fluff to get more money. That’s an easy way to churn a client.

When charging by the word, do the math for them.

If your rate is .18 per word, show them the average article is about 2000 words long.

Which means if they want 4 articles per month, they’re looking at a monthly bill of about $1,440.

Keep it simple as possible for the client.

Freelance Rate Per Project

The flat fee is the holy grail of freelance writer rates. It’s the first step towards turning your service into a productized service.

You charge clients a flat rate and there are no surprises.

Value-Based Pricing

This is where you can charge big money because you’re getting them an agreed upon result.

There are two ways to do this:

  • Performance
  • Guarantee

With a guarantee model, you can charge a huge amount of money for a guaranteed outcome. If you don’t hit the outcome, you can work for free until you do.

With a performance model, both parties win. You get your money, and they get an ROI.

It's easy for clients to adopt because if they don't get paid, you don't either.

Value-based pricing is best for copywriters who write email marketing content, ad copy, landing pages, and service pages.

Some Advice As For What To Charge as a Beginner Freelance Writer

You need to ask yourself a series of questions.

1. Do You Want To Work With This Client?

In the beginning, it can be hard to turn away a job. After all it’s money, right?

Wrong, there are good clients and bad clients.

There’s an opportunity cost to working with a bad client.

  1. They have unrealistic expectations and you do 10x the amount of work
  2. They are impossible to deal with and don’t listen to you

Do your best to filter.

This has been my experience:

My experience with business:

The $120 client:

• "Can you offer a discount?"
• "Can you change this and that?"
• "I think you should do it this way."
• "Can you have it done by this time?"

The $5,000/month client:

"Thanks bro, send the invoice and do your thing."

— Dakota Robertson (@WrongsToWrite) March 26, 2022

You’ll get there.

2. Charge a Fixed Amount and Use A Guarantee

As a beginner freelance writer, getting results is going to be difficult but not impossible.

If you want to make this work and get paid, focus on taking jobs where the expectations are clear. You provide a specific outcome for a specific price.

For example, If I’m a Ghostwriter on Twitter (now X), I can guarantee 10,000 followers or I’ll work for free until we hit that milestone.

This eliminates risk.

3. Retention

Build a relationship with your client and then find ways to provide more value to them over time.

Once you prove your competency, ask them if they’d like to get to 50,000 followers next.

Then you can charge per month.

It’s much easier to make a living from existing clients than it is to find new one’s.

Related: Can you make 10K a month copywriting

Who is Dakota?

I show you how to build a high-paying creative business without doing work you hate.

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