Ah, freelancing. There are so many things to be said about entering the freelance world, but for your sanity, I’ll leave you with 3 things I wish I’d known when I was first starting out.
Let’s get right into it.
I’m going to repeat that: YOUR RATES ARE A REFLECTION OF YOUR SELF-WORTH.
Tough pill to swallow, I know, but it’s important to understand.
Your rates are a culmination of the value you provide, the experience you have, and what you can justify to yourself.
Ask yourself what you truly believe your time, knowledge, and effort is worth. Charge for that, not by the hour.
Let’s reframe it like this: when you charge appropriately for your time, you do better work. You also don’t grow resentful of the client because of the incongruency of the work vs pay.
You may notice you won’t immediately feel comfortable going from $200 a project to $1,000 a project, but I encourage you to do the deep work required.
Ask yourself: Why do I feel I’m not worth being paid to do quality work?
Then ask yourself: What rate feels safe? What rate feels like a stretch? What rate feels scary?
You won’t be able to go from your safe rate to your scary rate immediately. But you WILL be able to get closer to the rate you truly want to charge when you do the work to figure out why you don’t feel worthy of charging that rate that’s honestly not even that high.
You’re worth it.
Now, I’ll be honest. I was a psycho about taxes my first year and I did really well.
By really well I mean I ended up giving myself a nice tax return because I saved more than I needed.
I want the same for you.
It depends on the state you live in, but I recommend you save 25-33% for taxes. This should be accounted for in your rates.
Knock it off with the $20/hour BS because what you’re really taking home is less than $15/hour after you account for taxes and time spent emailing your client back and forth to figure out what the hell they actually want.
Account for admin time, account for time spent researching, account for taxes. And SAVE for tax season.
Think your days of networking are over because you went freelance?
I’m only laughing maniacally because when I envisioned my freelance career, it was me in my home surrounded by my animals working whenever I wanted.
In my vision, I certainly wasn’t spending hours interacting with potential clients in Facebook Groups, going to Freelancer Union SPARK events to commandeer the agenda and ask a million Q’s, attending in-person mastermind retreats, and strategizing with other female business owners in vibey coffee shops.
But, as life has it, that’s exactly what happened.
A freelancer’s currency is connections and social capital.
If you’re a new freelancer or considering taking the leap to become one, I want you to know that hiding behind a laptop won’t get you what you want.
Going out into the world and forming connections — with the intention to simply connect, not gain a new client — is the bread and butter of our industry. It’s what leads to work, to referrals, to true friendships that make this whole freelance life a lil less lonely.
I hope you take these lessons or things I wish I’d known when I was first starting out to heart. There’s no reason for you to have to learn them the hard way when I did it for you.
But before you go, I want to leave you with one final lesson I learned only a few months ago…
Freelancing isn’t hard, it’s just new.