Freelance writing must be more than just words. It is a business – and that business is me. I am selling myself. I am selling my ability to string together words to create an emotional response. I am selling a trust to the clients in my talents and skills.
I am my freelance writing product – not the words, the articles, or the content. It is me.
How to Determine the Value of a Freelance Writer
1. What is the overhead? I need to know how much it costs to do everything (and yes, that means everything) involved with my writing. In my case, I will be including the cost of my portion of household expenses for my in-home office – because I have an office now. I will also include all of my hosting fees or internet expenses. Office supplies should be included. Make your list and write out the actual cost for the past year and the anticipated cost for the upcoming year.
2. What is the going rate? I understand that freelance writing runs the gamut – from partial pennies to dollars per word. Look at writers that are in your field or have a similar experience in writing. If you have a relationship with that writer then ask him what he charges per word. Understanding the market will help you determine your asking price. Keep in mind that you are fixing a starting rate – circumstances often dictate adjustments.
3. What kind of profit would you like to make? Have a low end profit (like breaking even) and a sky high profit (aim high but attainable with a stretch). My personal goal is to pay all the household monthly bills. Although my overhead already includes a percentage of those expenses, I would consider a living wage enough to cover them all on top of that.
4. How many hours will you commit to the freelance writing work each day (or week, or month)? Remember, freelance writing IS a business. If you want to build up an income that reflects a successful business then you will have to invest some time. Knowing how long it takes to write the average articles (including research) can be critical for determining how much time you need to invest. Other jobs and obligations may also be a factor in determining your freelance writing time.
Factor out all of the different elements discussed in the questions above to calculate your true value (initial charge + overhead + profit). This is the amount you will be seeking out in your search for freelance writing jobs.