Can This Heartfelt Emotion Guide You to Better Freelance Clients?

Carol Tice

Couple in loveIf you’ve been stuck working for peanuts for freelance clients you can’t stand, you’re going to love this.

It’s a way to find better clients by tuning into your own feelings.

The fun thing is, your main guide to additional freelance success can be an emotion you might not associate with business that much. But it’s one we all really enjoy feeling.

Have you guessed what it is?

A few hints:

“Do what you ___ and the money will follow.”

“All you need is ____.”

“God is _____.”

That’s right. Could it be that simple? Yes, it can.

How to love your way to higher rates

I recently encountered the theme of employing love in your business twice in the past few weeks. Which was enough repetition to finally bring it home to me what a road to riches this emotion can be.

First, my pal Linda Formichelli sent me a chapter of entrepreneur and Sufi teacher Mark Silver’s book, Unveiling the Heart of Your Business. The chapter was on how to raise your prices using your heartfelt feelings as your guide.

When you think about a range of prices, sense your level of discomfort. If you tune into it, Silver says, you can discover the point where you feel love and harmony when talking about a price — and that’s where your rates should be.

Forget about market research and what competitors are doing. What feels right at heart? Where you can radiate positivity and love when you say that price? That’s the right price for you.

Try saying your proposed prices aloud and notice what happens with your body. Too low, and you’ll feel uncomfortable. Same with too high.

Open a loving heart to what you deserve to be paid, and you’ll see what to charge.

The formula for freelance love

Next, I headed to SOBCon, where one of the speakers was someone I’ve enjoyed learning from before — leadership expert Steve Farber, author of The Radical Leap Re-Energized.

Steve teaches people how to be bold and fully actualized in their careers.

One of his core sayings was a theme of SOBCon this year. It’s a simple formula for skyrocketing your freelance earnings and your job satisfaction level, too. It goes like this:

“Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.”

I don’t know any better way to describe how to end up making a great living as a freelance writer doing projects you’re thrilled to write.

This formula has two sides. First, you need to figure out what types of paid writing you enjoy most.

Then, you look for people who truly appreciate your talents, and will pay you well as a result. When you get the love going both ways, you have a terrific project — one that will create a great sample, get you a glowing testimonial, and be a pleasure to work on.

That tends to lead to more work you love with other great clients. If you haven’t noticed, the good ones tend to talk to each other and will refer you.

How to make the leap from losers to lovers

If you’re stuck doing assignments you dread for clients you loathe right now, you’ve got to make some changes to your formula to grow your income.

It can seem impossible to turn this around. But you can.

Start by changing one side of the formula. Maybe you just start working only for clients who appreciate you more and drop the whiners and boundary-pushers.

Or you only write about topics you adore.

Gradually, get these two to line up. Find the clients who love your work in your favorite type of writing. And boom! You’re there.

My freelance client love story

Here’s the story of a client love affair I had once that shows what can happen when you live Steve’s credo.

This client approached me (which I always love!) through LinkedIn. They were a Fortune 500 company I happened to know and adore. Obviously, they had a marketing budget to spend on editorial.

I shop their stores and had covered the company in the past as a reporter. They were big fans of my more recent magazine articles on business topics. I thought their CEO had the highest ethics and admired how the company treated its employees.

They wanted me to write newsletter articles for their business clients about some of their services, the sort of business-writing challenge I enjoy. I’d get to talk to their customers and managers to write the stories, something I also find fun.

Then they asked me to bid it. I said it sounded like $1 a word.

They thought about it and got back to me and said, “That’s not enough. We think it should pay $2 a word.” And they did.

Find the writing you love. Find clients who love how you do it.

Not only will your income explode, but you’ll find yourself loving your freelance writing life, too.

Are you doing what you love for people who love what you do? Leave a comment and describe how it’s working — or what you’re doing to move in that direction.

33 Comments

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  2. Hermine

    Hi Carol,

    I really like this perspective to determining your rates. Though I’m coming up on a year in my freelance writing career this reminds me of when I was designing bathrooms as an interior designer. The clients who trusted in me 100% and truly valued my talents were always the ones that ended up the most satisfied with the finished product, they were also the ones I enjoyed working with the most.

    I’m learning how to get into that space now with my writing as I start approaching higher quality clients and marketing myself instead of relying on bidding sites and job boards.

    I think a lot of us who have come from content mills and more so, bidding sites, have a hard time internalizing that we DESERVE to get paid what we are worth. We spent so much time trying to justify a low rate just to win a project that getting out into the world and hearing people say things like “I want to make sure that I compensate you accordingly for your time and effort” is sort of a shocker.

    I actually have an opportunity to try this out this week, so I’ll be paying attention to my emotions as I put my pricing together for a new client this weekend.

    • Carol Tice

      Cool — let us know how it goes!

  3. Don Wallace

    I think most of us with any kind of career experience whatsoever tend to integrate some extremely negative and destructive narratives into our own self-talk that get drummed into us from past co-workers and employers:

    “You don’t get paid for having fun”

    “it’s called work for a reason”

    “sometimes you have to deal with despicable people that you absolutely hate for good reasons who happen to be leaders, to get ahead, and that’s just the way it is, and just shut up if you don’t like it.”

    Also the local culture can be a strong influence. People in the inner Midwest where I live (Ohio) tend to live non-intense lives under the radar and are scared to death of standing out. And most people here tend to be pretty depressed all the time (I recently saw a statistic that pegged Ohio as one of the top states for *swearing*.)

    Also there is a bitter survivor’s culture with the usual low-fee online freelancer hangouts like Odesk, Craigslist, Elance, etc. Virtually every job I find in these three places has some aspect written all over it that screams “only for those who want to be abused”. I never enjoy contact with “prospects” from these places. They are always looking for something ill advised or stupid.

    Negativism, whether self induced, or from a cheap or stupid or outright evil client, kills my own creative process.

    The point is that self-denial – which employers generally either preach or infuse into the workplace as a precondition of permanent employment – will absolutely kill your business, if your business is related closely to a creative process.

    Taking on lousy clients and not going after good clients because you are underconfident is a type of self denial. Not standing up for yourself is self denial.

    Timely advice in this article.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Don —

      I never would have guessed that about Ohio…as a west coaster who’s visited the Midwest quite a bit for business I think of the region as a place of bedrock American values rather than scared and depressed people. 😉 Less show-offy, sure…but that can be good in a writer.

      When every job you find on a particular platform seems to come with a guarantee it won’t be something you love for people who love what you’re doing…at the risk of stating the obvious, it’s time to find other places to look for gigs.

  4. Lindsay Woolman

    Hi Carol — I’ve been really wanting to hear more about the emotional/mental from you. I love that you teach very practical skills for writers, but I feel like this stuff — the mental side — is what gets people to change what they’re doing and attract new clients and opportunities. Would be an interesting topic for the Den, if you haven’t covered it there. Like, just on getting your mind into a higher frequency (love) to draw in others who are on your frequency. After all, they say that money is just energy. Understanding that your mental state and thoughts can attract better clients is a FACT in my opinion.

    • Carol Tice

      Well, glad you enjoyed this one!

  5. Carla Cano

    Well I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said already but I was really inspired by your post. Of course I am usually inspired by your posts. Thanks from a new freelancer!

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