5 Basic Email Templates for Freelancers Negotiating Higher Rates

5 Basic Email Templates for Freelancers Negotiating Higher Rates

You deserve to be paid more! Ask for the rates you deserve with these templates.

Time to talk about one of my favorite subjects: negotiating a higher rate. As freelancers, we’re business owners, and it’s on us to value our work, time, and skill set. The reality is, you don’t get what you don’t ask for. And if you’re not asking for more money, you’re never going to get it.

Every freelancer needs to regularly raise their rates, but this is especially true for women. In 2019, HoneyBook found that female entrepreneurs are making 26 percent less per project. Men are 4.5 times more likely to earn $150,000 compared to women; comparatively, And Co discovered in the same study that most women surveyed make less than $25,000 a year.

I find negotiating rates easier over email, and that’s easier to do when you’ve got templates to turn to.

1. Negotiating rates on the first assignment

I prefer to not quote a rate because then it’s a game of mind-reading bingo. What if I don’t ask for enough? Would the client find this low or high? Instead, I put the ball back in the client’s court to see what they say.

Hello!

I’m excited to take on this [project/article]. Is there any room in the budget for a higher rate?

Thanks,

[Your name]

2. Negotiating a higher rate for regular assignments

Sometimes you need to revisit the rate on a regular column or writing assignment. Every few months, or after a few articles, ask your editor for a higher rate. Also, make sure that you’re keeping your editor happy by meeting deadlines with clean copy and having good communication with them.

Hi [Editor],

I love [working on this assignment/writing this column]. So far, I’ve done [examples]. I was wondering, is there any room in your budget for a higher rate?

Thanks so much! I love working with you.

[your name]

And I love this one from Tim Herrera:

“Thanks again for this assignment! I just wanted to ask: We’ve done X, Y, and Z stories together, and I’m wondering if with this new assignment we could revisit my rate? I’d love to be at around [rate]. Thanks!”

3. Negotiating a lower scope of work 

Sometimes a client doesn’t have the budget to raise the rate. If you’re still interested in working with them, you can try negotiating a lower scope of work instead. But only do this if you really want to work with them — otherwise, say no to any assignments with them.

Hi there!

I would love to work with you, but that rate is below my fee. I’d like the rate to be around [price]. 

If that’s not possible, I would be happy to connect you with another freelancer who can accomplish this work.

Thank you,

[Your name]

Note: When you have a good client who isn’t paying enough, it’s time to let them go and refer them to another freelancer. If it’s a bad client who isn’t paying enough, throw them into the abyss.

4. Raising your rate because the scope of work has risen

Sometimes an assignment will exceed the scope of work you’ve agreed on. Don’t give them free labor.

Hello!

I’m confident I can accomplish your goals, but this is outside of the scope of work previously agreed on. As per our [contract/email], I will deliver [x] per [date]. I can do [requested scope], but as it is outside of the contract, there will be budget changes. Are you okay paying more for the [outcome]?

Thanks,

[Your name]

5. Raising your rate because it’s time, quarterly, or at a specific time of year

Hi [name],

I adjust my rates every so often to account for market inflation and new skills, which also allows me to provide you with better service! As of [date, my rate will be [price].

If this new rate doesn’t work for you, let me know. I can connect you with another freelancer who can complete this work for you.

Thank you,

[Your name]

Your Next Steps

Negotiation is a skill that takes practice. It takes time to get comfortable talking about money But you have to start somewhere. The next time you take on an assignment, ask for more. The next time a client or editor reaches out with more work, ask for more. You are running a business, not a contestant on The Price is Right.

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Find Sources with 50+ Free Diverse Source Databases

These databases make finding sources from underrepresented backgrounds easier.

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

You’re probably not quoting enough marginalized voices. This disparity in reporting undermines journalists’ credibility and underestimates the complexity of any subject. These databases will help you diversify your sources.

If you’re worried about getting started, audit your published work for the past 3-6 months. Keep track of the races and genders you’re including. Don’t be intimidated or discouraged. The Atlantic’s Ed Yong spent two years trying to fix the gender imbalance in his stories. You’re not alone.

1. General expert databases

2. Science, health, food, and environment

3. Writers, journalists, and marketing

4. Photographers

5. Designers, illustrators, and filmmakers

6. Business

My content is always free, but you can help support my work by buying me a coffee. Thank you for your support. I appreciate every penny.

13 Newsletters Every Freelancer Should Subscribe to That Compile Calls for Pitches and Writing Opportunities

One of the hardest parts of being a freelancer is finding publications to pitch. These newsletters help.

Photo: Unsplash

It’s frustrating to spend hours trying to place a pitch or trying to find consistent clients. Thankfully, other freelancers know your struggle and have created helpful newsletters that take the guesswork out of searching for leads!

1. Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of the Week

Can you call yourself a freelancer if you don’t subscribe to Sonia Weiser’s biweekly newsletter? It’s the most in-depth newsletter listing links to paying calls for pitches and often includes exclusive opportunities directly from editors you won’t find elsewhere. Sonia adds extra details regarding pay rates and other details when possible — and it’s a great way to discover what editors are searching for without searching Twitter endlessly. Basically, there’s no excuse for not subscribing to this newsletter.

Cost: Sonia suggests $3 a month but you can pay $1 to $3 via her Patreon. If you can’t afford that, email Sonia at sonia.weiser@oppsoftheweek.com for a sponsored slot. If you can afford it, pay to sponsor a spot!

2. Write At Home

UK-based freelance writer and journalists Alasdair curates journalism calls-for-pitches, journalism jobs, and full- and part-time content writing positions from across job boards and social media. Alasdair does a great job highlighting well-paying opportunities and always lists rates transparently.

Cost: Ranges from free to £33.80 a year.

3. Kat Boogaard’s newsletter

Kat’s newsletter is always packed with helpful tips for freelancers but she also includes about ten writing gigs found through LinkedIn and Twitter every week. I’ve discovered quite a few gigs there not listed elsewhere! If you’re looking for freelance opps outside of writing (design, social media management, etc.), she’s got you covered there too. 

Cost: Free!

4. One More Question

Britany Robinson’s newsletter features opportunities for writers and pitch calls. She also regularly shares recommendations for articles to read and tools to use. I love her Q&As with other freelancers.

Cost: Ranges from free to $60 a year.

5. Funds for Writers

Hope Clark was writing newsletters before they were cool. Receiving her newsletter is like sitting down for a cup of joe with a writer friend. Clark includes competitions for nonfiction and fiction people, grants and fellowships, publications looking for freelancers with information about their subject and rates.

Cost: Free!

6. Where to Pitch

This occasional newsletter doesn’t list a ton of calls for pitches but often lists financial resources for freelancers. Written by Susan Shain, who also runs a personal newsletter,  

Cost: Free!

7. Journalism Jobs and a Photo of My Dog

Mandy Hofmockel compiles a weekly list of journalism jobs across the country (including remote opportunities). Her newsletter doesn’t have calls for pitches, but Hofmockel includes fellowships and funds that self-employed people can take advantage of. I particularly enjoy her Q&As with journalists, career advice, and of course photos of Maggie the dog.

Cost: Ranges from free to $75 a year

8. The Freelance Beat

Tatiana Walk-Morris sends out a weekly newsletter complete with journalism news and gigs. She also shares her hard-earned freelance knowledge in her blog.

Cost: Free!

9. The Writer’s Job Newsletter

This newly launched newsletter (it’s only had 10 editions so far!) is jam-packed with full- and part-time jobs, calls for writers, and writer competitions. They’re UK-based but include only remote opportunities.

Cost: Free!

10. Freedom with Writing

Freedom with Writing sends out newsletters compiling their blog posts with calls for pitches in different niches and pay ranges, along with lists for full-time jobs and fiction markets. I like to peruse their newsletters every so often, but you can get this content just by visiting the website.

Cost: Free!

11. PitchWhiz

PitchWhiz is more than a newsletter: it’s a database where editors can list calls for pitches and writers get access to editorial contacts. Personally, I rarely check the service and just tune into the weekly newsletter listing new opportunities.

Cost: Free!

12. Journo Resources

This massive UK-based newsletter is organized by entry-level positions, “next step” jobs, and freelance gigs.

Cost: Free with suggested donation of £3.50

13. Freelance Writing Jobs

Sian Meades-Williams shares only UK-based paying freelance opportunities and part-time writing jobs in her weekly Wednesday newsletter.

Cost: Free!

My content is always free, but you can help support my work by buying me a coffee. Thank you for your support. I appreciate every penny.

How to Help Freelance Clients Find You

Generating passive marketing can help you land clients

Gaining clients is one of the never ending tasks of being a freelancer. Regardless of where you’re at in your freelance business, it’s important to have a strategy in place to help clients find you. These steps are a good place to start.

1. Build authority and experience 

Building a solid reputation is the backbone of your freelance business. A strong reputation will help you eliminate competition, charge higher rates, and gain referrals.

Gaining authority and a solid reputation is easier than you think. Over-deliver. Aim to be remembered as someone who completes quality work on time, every time. Being a freelancer means knowing how to execute your craft and how to run a professional business. In addition to delivering good work on time, you also need to communicate with your clients and set boundaries.

2. Optimize your social profiles

Every social media profile is a marketing tool. Your social media bios should include a call to action. You should have a link to your portfolio on every professional social media profile.

On Twitter, you can pin tweets to the top of your timeline. You can use this feature to promote your work. Create a pinned tweet that includes an elevator pitch and a link to your website.

On Instagram, skip using a third-party for your link in bio. Manage links on your Instagram bio by creating a dedicated landing page on your website for Instagram. This will save you time from manually updating your link in bio every time you have a new link to promote.

Since your name is easily searchable on Instagram, make sure the name you share on Instagram is your name, not your Instagram username. Since Instagram users also search for keywords, adding a keyword to your name helps your chances of being found.

Your Instagram bio should also include a call to action that leads people to click your link. This could be as simple as “Check out my portfolio” or “Work with me.”

3. Create an updated portfolio

Your portfolio is more powerful than your resume: it’s a marketing tool that can showcase your talents, skills, and past work experience. 

Your portfolio should have the following:

  • An “About” page that has a small bio about you.
  • Work samples, published work, and/or case studies.
  • A “Contact” page that has easy-to-locate contact info. This is typically your email or a contact form (never your phone number).
  • If you’ve won awards, feature them on your homepage or “About” page.
  • Links to your social media profiles that you use exclusively for professional reasons.
  • Clearly define your services on your website. People can’t hire you if they don’t know what you offer! You can include this information on your homepage, “About” page, or create a “Services” page.
  • Testimonials from previous clients, coworkers, bosses, etc. If you don’t have them, ask!

Don’t just make a nice portfolio to showcase your work: promote it too! Link to it on your social media profiles. Whenever you comment about your services, or tweet that you’re available for work, include a link to your website.

4. Update your LinkedIn profile

Hiring managers, editors, and recruiters search on LinkedIn to hire and will sometimes post job opportunities there. LinkedIn profiles also tend to rank high when people Google your name (which you should expect all recruiters and employers do). An outdated LinkedIn won’t help your chances of getting hired. 

Your LinkedIn should have the following:

  • A summary that addresses your most important and relevant skills and the kind of work you’re interested in pursuing
  • A link to your portfolio
  • A professional profile photo
  • Recommendations from former employers and coworkers (If you don’t have recommendations, ask for them!)

If you’re a freelancer working with multiple brands, there are two ways of listing your experience on your LinkedIn:

  • Option 1: If you freelance for multiple brands, add a work experience section with your title (Freelance Writer, Freelance Designer, etc.). Then list the brands you’ve worked with and your accomplishments.
  • Option 2: If you have freelanced with a specific brand for a long time, then you can add specific work experience sections with the specific brand. Don’t add separate work experiences for one-off assignments.

5. Network online and in-person

Relationship building is a cornerstone of freelancing. You never know where people will go, or who will be looking for freelance talent now or in the future. Even if you live in a remote area, you can connect with other people in your field! Networking is a scary, intimidating word, but it basically means just being yourself.

Attend local events in your area (obviously Zoom for now, but also in-person events in future non-COVID times). If you live in a city, there’s probably lots of networking events available. But even small towns have events, just on a smaller scale.

Since we began living in a pandemic, there are even more ways to connect with people on a local and national scale. Many organizations, including business organizations, libraries, and freelancing groups, are hosting virtual events.

Joining Slack groups or Facebook groups is a low-key way to make professional connections. Even just participating in Twitter chats is a great way to connect with people. There’s a Twitter chat for just about every field. I personally recommend Michelle Garrett’s #FreelanceChat.

Part of networking is also maintaining connections. This can be as simple as reaching out with a holiday card 

6. Talk to your network

People trust people, and a personal recommendation from a coworker or friend will go a long way. Let people know that you’re available for freelance work.

Do good work for your existing clients. Turn in your work on time, every time. Establish a great reputation and build trust. These clients can then refer you to other clients or provide testimonials.

7. Blogging

Blogging on your own website can drive traffic to it. Writing about topics that are relevant to your field gives you the chance to showcase your expertise. You should write articles that the people who want to hire you will read. Blogging is a passive marketing tool, but one you’ll need to be consistent and strategic with.

However, if you want to blog about a subject unrelated to your portfolio, you may want to consider using Medium instead. It’s really easy to set up a Medium, and if you don’t have a lot of writing clips, these blog posts can act as your writing samples.

Your Next Steps

Regardless of if you’re starting to freelance while working full-time, or trying to expand your existing client base, these tips should help you level-up! Finding freelance opportunities and landing recurring clients takes time — there’s no overnight success story. The easiest place to begin is with optimizing your social profiles.

My content is always free, but you can help support my work by buying me a coffee. Thank you for your support. I appreciate every penny.