November is one of my favorite months. It’s not because of the impending holidays, though.
It’s because this is the best time of year for freelance writers to get a raise.
If you notify your existing clients of your new, higher rates now — but make them effective Jan. 1 — that is the optimal strategy for getting your raise accepted.
Don’t ask for too much, where it freaks them out. Maybe 5 percent or 10 percent is ideal.
It’s not likely clients will give you a 50 percent or 100 percent raise. If they’re paying you peanuts, realize it’ll be easier to find a better-paying client and then drop your low-payer.
Why this raise plan works
With the small raise, the pain to your client is much less than the pain of having to start over and train a new writer to know everything about their business, topic, or reader.
And the 6-week lead time means they make a note to budget a little more in the future…and then basically forget about it. They don’t have to pay it now, so it goes off their radar.
You also seem professional by giving them all that notice that the rate hike is coming.
Why the time is now — anytime
Even if you’re reading this at a different time of year than November, you should realize that now is the time to raise your rates.
Here are five big reasons why:
- Rising costs. Consumer-goods prices are rising (check out corn and oil these days, for instance), so you need a raise just to keep your standard of living the same. If you’re not raising, your quality of life is actually going downhill.
- Growing knowledge. If you’ve been with a client for a year or more, your value to them has increased, as you’ve learned more about what they do. You should earn more to reflect that. The anniversary date of when you started with them is another great time to negotiate for a higher rate.
- You’re underpriced. Most new freelance writers tend to bid way too low — I see this all the time. The only way to start rectifying this problem is to ask for raises. If you’re really low, you’ll be surprised how many clients readily accept your higher rates for next year.
- It’s normal. Most other service providers regularly raise their rates, on everything from housecleaning to transcribing to cable TV service. Why should you be the exception?
- Better writing. You’re a more experienced writer than you were a year ago. So you should adjust your vision of the pay level you are entitled to. Start targeting better-quality clients and asking for more.
The easiest way to get a raise
If the idea of asking your current clients for a raise terrifies you (or you know they only pay that one, low rate no matter what), you can still start earning more.
Just raise your rates for new clients.
They never paid the old rate, so they’ll never know the difference.
Will you raise your rates for 2013? Leave a comment and let us know.