Just starting out as a new freelancer comes with its own unique challenges: from working independently without anyone prompting you, to writing proposals and cover letters just to get considered for jobs, to hoping that clients pay you fairly when you’re hired… You are always going to have things to consider while embracing the freelancing journey.
Should New Freelancers Charge Less?
Countless times, I’ve heard new freelancers ask and discuss whether it is good to charge clients at low rate while just trying to grow their freelancing business. Often, I hear stuff like, “I’ll probably not get hired for that job if I don’t drop my rates to beat my competitors.”
This conventional excuse, and many others, make it seriously difficult for most new freelancers to get paid in line with their valuable professional experience. I was once in their position – so if you’re a new freelancer, you should know that I’m bringing you this information from my own experience.
Here are three reasons why new freelancers should NOT charge less than they deserve as a talented professional.
Your Worth Drops
As a freelancer who has seen it all, including with ridiculously low rates (at the beginning of the year, there was one who asked me to write 1000 words article for $2 – what else could be termed ‘ridiculous’?!), I can categorically say that accepting clients with crazy low rates reduce your worth. The debauched aspect of this is that those clients would not appreciate you because they will always wonder what kind of person takes such meager pay for what they provide (because they will still expect the best you can do). So, your actual worth flows dangerously down the drain.
It Makes It Harder to Ask for a Rate Increase
Let’s be honest here. Do you ever think that clients who pay unfair rates would love to give a pay rise because you’re providing such great work? The sincere answer is NO! This has NOTHING to do with the quality of your work. It is simply because they believe that you’re so cheap or desperate that giving you a pay rise is not important. Of course, it’s not important to them because they want to pay less while getting more from you. (And this will also take time away from clients who would pay you better for your services.)
New Clients Won’t Value You, Either
Now this is where charging low becomes very dangerous. If new clients know how little you’ve charged others because of your profile on a freelance platform, they may come throwing even lower rates at you. “We heard that you could do a very good job at xx rate. Do you mind lowering that a bit then we can hire you?”
It gets even worse if you, out of desperation, accept their even lower rate. That can only mean that you’d get exhausted and maybe even burned out along the way because you’ll keep doing more while receiving less in return.
I personally appreciate the fact that I had a mentor who made me to realize that I had been charging clients less than my actual worth. She advised me to double my rates – which I did. And without hesitation a new client hired me up. I was amazed!
As a freelancer who was once in the position of charging way less than his value, I can assure you that the best decision you’ll make in your freelancing business journey is to begin to charge clients in line with your values.
Note that the more your value increases as you learn with each project, the more you may be able to raise your rates.