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How to price your services as a freelancer or an employee

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3 min read

TL;DR: when you are young and unemployed, it’s better to have a job where you are learning, and underpaid, than to chase a high salary and keep getting rejected.

This will allow you to build much needed credibility while learning how things work in the real world all the while building a strong foundation of work experience for you.

If you're a freelancer, then you should read this. Knowing and internalizing the content of this post can help you make more money than you've ever imagined.

One of the most common challenges that freelancers face is Pricing. Most freelancers don't know how much to charge without feeling underpaid or greedy, when to ask for an increased pay rate, and what percentage to increase it by.

A lot of freelancers have priced themselves out of the market because they don't know the secrets I'm about to share.

1. Employers/Recruiters are not charities with unlimited money and resources..

You don't just call ridiculous rates for your services hoping you'll get paid or have a chance to negotiate. Most employers won't even reply to you again after that.

Do your research focusing on your **skills and experience level **and the average industry price obtainable for someone at your level. Give your rate based on your research.

2. When sharing your rates, and you feel it’s time to raise your price, ask for not more than a 20% increase of your current rate at a time.

Most serious employers know market rates for various roles and various seniority levels. Increasing your rates ridiculously will be an instant turn-off.

3. You'll always feel underpriced if you keep comparing yourself to others.

There's always “someone somewhere” earning a ridiculous amount for the same service you do. Sometimes, It may be justifiable, other times not.

You don't know the full story. They may have worked their way to that amount one step at a time. Don’t compare yourself to others, even if you feel the situation is “similar”. Always compare yourself and your rates to what you have now and how you progressed over time.

4. It's better to be “inexperienced and humble, honest about it” than “inexperienced and overconfident”

As a beginner freelancer, when you ask for a rate that's extremely higher than what's obtainable in the market and your experience level, most employers see you as inexperienced and overconfident. This is an instant turn-off for most employers.

5. Get a stable gig, maybe a little less than what you expect

Once you've confirmed that a gig is stable and presents learning and development opportunities, embrace it as a newbie freelancer.

When starting you should focus on learning, growing, building your portfolio, gaining experience, rather than on getting “rich”. However, make sure you are earning enough to make ends meet.

Once a job can provide these things, it's a good place to start. On the job, you can start asking for a bit more (10-20% formula) periodically.

Thanks to @gee_swill for starting this post!

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