How a Newbie Blogger Negotiated a 100 Percent Raise

Editor

Newbie Bloggers: Get a 100% RaiseIn early 2016, I landed my first freelance blogging client.

It was a big win for me, even though it wasn’t in my niche. The client reached out to me, after seeing some of my blog posts on Facebook.

But there was a problem. I had no idea what to charge — and the client wanted to know my rate.

I pored over everything I could find online, asked around, and finally settled on a rate of $50 per 500-750 word blog post. I sent the editor my rates, and voila — I had my first contract in place.

I jumped into writing awesome blog content for this client. But it didn’t take long to start second guessing my rate. Was I charging enough for this type of work? What were other writers charging for similar blog content? What would need to happen to raise my rates and keep this client?

If you’ve ever wondered about raising your rates, you’re not alone. I wondered what would happen if I told this blogging client I was raising my rates. Would I lose this steady source of work? Or was there a way I could propose a rate increase that would be accepted?

If I had a crystal ball to see how my client would react to a 100 percent raise increase, I probably would have asked for a raise a lot sooner. I was able to negotiate a 100-percent increase, to $100 per blog post, by following three simple rules:

1. Show up and do quality work

Initially I was nervous about producing quality content for my client. After all, I had only written a few posts for local, family-friendly blogs. Fortunately, the feedback was great on my first blog post.  Positive comments continued to roll in as I submitted more articles.

With consistent assignments, I was able to easily estimate my hourly rate. Each one took about two hours, so I was making around $25 per hour. But I knew pro writers were making $50 to $100 an hour or more, and I wanted to get there.

2. Learn about the landscape

While working with my first client, I continued to research writer pay rates. Based on multiple online sources (including this blog), I was making more than folks writing for the content mills, but I was at the low end of a handful of suggested hourly rates.

I also kept networking and landed two additional writing gigs, where I negotiated project fees at $60/hour. That was a confidence booster that helped me realized I had in-demand writings skills and could command higher rates.

3. Make the request

Ten blog posts in for my first client, I decided to ask for a higher rate. My rationalization was this: I came in at a lower rate as a novice and was able to prove myself as a quality writer who completes work on time.

And if the client says no?

I was going to be OK with it, even if that meant continuing to work at the lower rate, or losing the client to someone who charges less. If asking for a raise meant I would lose the client, I could still walk away happy with some great work experience writing blog posts.

After a lot of back-and-forth about pricing, I decided to propose a rate change to my client and charge 100 percent more.

Here’s the message I sent my client:

I hope this email finds you well. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to write for [client name]. I really appreciate the chance to build my portfolio as a beginner freelancer. Writing for your team has been a great learning experience, and a lot of fun!

Now that I’ve done a good number of blog posts for [client name], I have a much better idea of the time and effort it takes to write these posts than I did at the beginning. Based on this information, I will be raising my rate for blog posts to $100 per post, after I have completed 20 total posts.  

We’ve reached the halfway mark, as I’ve just completed post number 10, so I wanted to let you know in advance. I’d also like to offer you a discount of 10 percent with the purchase of 10 posts or more.

Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you again!”

My client responded promptly, and I couldn’t be happier with it:

I think this all sounds good and the advance notice is appreciated. I would definitely be interested in the specific terms regarding the 10-post purchase. Does this require an up-front payment? Is there a time-frame within which we have to request all 10 posts, etc.

We have a few writers that we use for this type of work and you are currently among our “more affordable” contributors. The described price hike would put you up there with our highest paid writers. So, before responding to this email, I checked in with [contact name] and the team that has been most involved with your blog posts to get feedback on your posts up to this point.

Their reviews of your work were very positive and felt that it warranted the price increase. They said you did a great job of taking a thoughtful approach to topics and required less editing than many of other writers.”

I asked if they could suggest any areas for improvement and the only thing they said was that I could focus on optimizing text for the provided keywords (and their synonyms) a bit better. So, you can take that for what it’s worth.

The response continued:

Anyway, we couldn’t be more pleased with what you’ve submitted so far and are happy to continue working with you at the new updated price. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. And please let me know the details of the 10-post pricing as soon as you can. Thanks for the good work.”

This is exactly the type of client I want. This client values quality work and is willing to pay for it.  My initial rate was just a starting point.  And even though I was afraid to ask, I’m glad I did. It was a lot easier to raise my rates by 100 percent than I thought it would be.

I still work with the first blogging client I landed and get paid well. Working through that experience as a newbie freelancer taught me a lot. I’ve been able to use those lessons learned to land more work and negotiate to get paid pro rates.

Have you negotiated a raise recently? Leave a comment and tell us how you did it.

Amy Hardison is a stay-at-home mom turned freelance writer with a penchant for competitive swing dancing. Visit her website to learn more.

44 Comments

  1. Michael D. Ozéh

    This is quite a motivational article Amy; thanks.

    Negotiations used to be really scary for me. I would go on and on in debate with myself like, “Is this the right time?” “Am I worth it?” “Are they happy enough with my work to accept a hike in my price?” “What if they decide to find themselves a cheaper freelancer instead?” and so on.

    So I decided on an experiment to discover just how good I am. After completing a project of 10 articles for a client, all ghost written, I designed a feedback form and sent my clients (I had only 2, being a beginner like yourself).

    I wasn’t sure of what I was expecting, but I did encourage them to be brutally honest with me to enable me serve them better.

    Their feedback made my day. I couldn’t believe my work was that valued. Yes, I have confidence in myself, my ability to produce quality work, etc, but I used to think such feedback belonged to superhero writers with magical keyboards and not for people who just started out this year, taking baby steps and charging ‘baby milk’ rates.

    Now I know better. When you got it, you got it. Writing is a talent and an art. It’s high time we started commanding rates that are commensurate to our talent.

    Now I’m no more as scared of demanding for higher rates as I used to be. Reading articles from Carol and others like Bamidele have taught me a lot too.

    And guess what just bolstered my confidence on this subject?

    Your article 😉

    • Carol Tice

      Michael, what a great idea, sending in a feedback form! That glowing review totally lays the groundwork for asking for that raise. 😉

  2. Natalia Aleynikova

    Amy, thank you for this great post! It can be really useful for beginners and even for experienced freelancers who are afraid of raising their rates. Your example shows that we just need a little more courage and right words explaining our credibility and value for the client.

  3. Amel

    I love that you were able to double your rate.

    In my opinion, being okay with a “no” is the key to success. If you are ready to walk away from the gig, then you have nothing to lose by asking for more.

    You were actually very generous by completing 20 articles for the initial rate!

    I recently committed to writing 4 trial articles for a client at a specific rate and immediately regretted that I did not make it 2 articles instead. The articles were a lot of work, which I explained to the client as soon as I realized what was involved. I told them that I would honor my commitment but that I would definitely have to charge more for any future articles.

    In this case, I was initially charging $185 per article, and the client could only raise the rate to $200. However, they cut the word count for each article by a significant amount, which means that the articles now require less time and research to complete. I am satisfied with this and feel that the client was extremely receptive to my feedback.

    So, if you’re working with a client with a set budget, don’t forget to negotiate things like word-count, deadlines, and other things that will increase your earnings. You can also double your rate by convincing a client that they only need (for example) 2 articles per month instead of 4 (but for the same price).

    I also would not be so quick to offer discounts, especially before the client has had the opportunity to react to your proposal. In many cases, these discounts are unnecessary and might also show that you are worried about your proposal being rejected.

    • Carol Tice

      You raise a great point — if the client can’t pay more, ask if they could see the value in more concise posts. 😉 Then your hourly rate still works out.

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