As every freelancer can appreciate, we get to do what we love but it helps if we can also get paid to do so! The creative side of copywriting may come easily to you but the business side, as a newbie freelancer, (of which pricing is an integral part), may not. This is a normal part of the learning curve we all embrace when first starting out. Rest assured that your critical ability to value your work to both yourself (in terms of both job satisfaction and adequate professional fee) and to your prospective clients (in terms of the level of genuine value for money you can offer) will naturally improve the more quotations you get to prepare, on client request.
As I have said before, timing is everything. Clear and transparent pricing principles are ones where you can objectively evidence just how long a copywriting piece will take to craft; accounting for all aspects of your preparation time, too. This is where your prospective client can help you to help them keep their own costs down. A comprehensive brief, containing all the critical information you may need to refer to, ahead of your scheduled writing time on a specific project, will enable you to both efficiently and effectively write to it and indeed to your carefully prepared quotation, now agreed.
When perfecting your pricing practice (see what I did there?… 😊) start small. Think about how long it take you to research and then write a single blog post. Use the time taken from at least three blog writing samples recently written plus the word counts achieved to find your average copy output per hour. Now that you know your average hourly copy output, you can set your hourly rate.
I will be honest. I believe this aspect of your pricing requires considerable research in order to get it right, first time. Think carefully about the qualifications, skills and professional experience you can uniquely bring to the role of freelance copywriter. Consider the business sectors you wish to attract your clients from as you will need to naturally create a ‘good fit’ between your particular expertise and their specific product and/or service offer to market. Don’t forget your transferable skillset consolidated from your previous in-house roles to see if they can logically add value to your overall freelancer proposition whenever you make a pitch for copywriting work. Finally, research the industry salary standards for a Junior Copywriter, a Midweight Copywriter, a Senior Copywriter and Head of Copy within this profession – so that you can clearly show how you benchmarked your own hourly rate if you are ever asked, by a prospective client.
I would also encourage a new freelancer to develop a healthy commercial appreciation of where copywriting sits within a business, today. As you know, the core skills of a company are those usually undertaken by colleagues who can either produce the product or deliver the service which they ultimately sell and by doing so generate their own profit margin. As copywriters, we advertise what the client can do by way of creating compelling copy as part of a content marketing strategy, complemented by visual media such as photographs and videos. We must show that we can provide credible value for money with our own work, (neither overvaluing or undervaluing what we do), but we still need to possess both the business acumen and the professional humility (a little tough love, here, reader..) to convey to our client that we know only too well that we are just part of the team, working alongside all our other departmental colleagues within the business, to get their message heard above the noise.
Consider securing a placement within a copywriting agency while you are still studying to be a copywriter or taking up the chance to work agency-side as a new freelancer to get the insight you need on just how pricing is done when working for multiple clients on various copy assignments to persuade people to buy product and/or service in a host of different industries, across the UK and internationally. A freelancer copywriter is still a business owner at heart, so when you reach the point in your freelance career when you get to experience equal levels of success within this dual aspect of the role; regularly showcasing what you can do with confidence, you can get to enjoy the creative and lifestyle freedoms which this independent way of working can really offer you, in the long-term.
Write, price and deliver well – even if it means working through the night to either hit a client deadline or complete your own company records for the end of the tax year (or both, at the same time – yup, we have all been there… get the coffee on… 😊)
Consider doing all these things consistently; continually striving to keep both your clients and your accountant happy – and yourself (obviously!) – and guess what happens…YOU HAVE GOT THIS!