Asking for More Money: Or, How I Became a Freelancing Diva

If you're being asked to do more work, it makes sense to start asking for more money.

In the wonderful world of freelancing, you are sometimes asked to make revisions. Normally, this doesn't bother me. You make some adjustments to the work, and you move on. On two occasions, I even did complete rewrites. Mainly because I felt that I had misinterpreted the client's needs, and I felt that I should re-submit.

What's hard, though, is when a client starts asking you to add more here and there. Setting freelance rates is tricky enough, but when do you start raising the price? In the past, I used to add more detail as requested. Soon, though, I found that the additions that some clients wanted resulted in a post that was almost twice as long as the original. Through a little bit of sneaky “more detail here” and “please expand here”, some clients were getting the work of two posts for the price of one!

Last week, I decided that I'd had enough.

I became a diva.

Asking for More Money as a Freelancer

I was very clear about the word count range that constitutes a post, and what that word count costs, and when a client sent back a post for revision, I looked it over. Almost every request was one to the effect of: I want all the details about this thing. So I wrote back and said that I could re-work the post to have more details about one thing (this was a list-type post with a brief explanation of multiple items), but that adding all the details about all of the items being asked for would result in a post at least twice as long. I pointed out that what he was asking for couldn't be covered in a basic 500 – 650 word post. If he wanted a longer post, he would have to pay the price for a longer post. Or, we could break the post up into several related posts, each with a detailed description.

However, I made it clear that just adding on to the post, and doing the same amount of new writing for free was not an option. Does this make me difficult to work with? Maybe.

It's almost never easy to ask for more money as a freelancer. What if the client leaves? What if you end up not making any money at all? It's always tough to walk that line. And, to tell the truth, three years ago I would never have written back and laid out alternatives for the client. I would have been too worried about losing the client. One of the nice perks of building up your freelancing business is that, at some point, you have the ability to say: “This is how it is. Take it or leave it.” And you don't have to worry so much if they leave it.

I'm willing to work with clients, and compromise. I'm even willing to do a little extra (like submit to social media). But at some point you have to draw the line. At some point you have to stop being taken advantage of.

At some point, you have to start acting like a diva.

Image source: edgeplot via Flickr

0 thoughts on “Asking for More Money: Or, How I Became a Freelancing Diva”

  1. I wouldn’t call you a Diva. I would call you a good business woman. The conditions of the work contracted changed. In any other service industry you would be charged for additional work beyond the scope of the original project. Changes that include expansions should require an additional charge. Good for you for sticking to your guns.

  2. Attila Kovács (@TheSolopreneurM)

    Great move! Congratulations! I would suggest to save that mail as a template for later reuse. Also you can build it into your standard proposal as an example how to handle over/out of scope work. I second Kellyology, loose the diva, this is how normal service industry should operate.

  3. I couldn’t agree more (and also I don’t think you’re a diva). I think it’s good for freelancers to be flexible and open to re-working their projects based on the clients needs. However, becoming a doormat is not a good idea. I like to share as much details as possible, to what I will and won’t do as a freelancer. I also think from the clients point of view, it makes it easier to work with someone who is decisive.

  4. Miranda Marquit

    Thanks for the support! I agree that it’s good business, but sometimes I feel like I’m being more demanding than I should be, or that I’m being difficult to work with. It’s nice to know that I’m actually just being reasonable 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience! It’s important to be fair to yourself when clients add to the scope and amount of work. I lay out the initial scope in my proposals, and then, if the client starts to request additional work, I explain that I’ll send them a revised proposal to reflect the new expectations and pricing – or I ask them to agree to the added cost via email confirmation. Either way, I haven’t run into any push back. I’ve been fortunate to have clients who sincerely seem to respect my time and effort. 🙂

    1. Miranda Marquit

      The good news is that the client got back to me, and agreed to pay more. I describe the standard length of articles at the desired price point in our agreements, but I often neglect to add a “if I do more, you’ll pay more” type clause. But it’s a good idea to talk about a revised proposal, and mention possible changes. Thanks, Dawn!

  6. I can’t count the amount of times I have been in an equivalent situation in my graphics career. To be fair to the clients it is often hard for them to understand the amount of work it takes one to make the amendments / re-do that they ask for!

  7. If one of my clients does not feel that they should pay extra for the extra items they want, I describe it this way:
    If you take your car to the mechanic to get the oil changed and you call back later and say, hey, can you also change the air filter? You know you are going to have to pay for that. Freelancing works the same way. If you want extra over and above what was originally agreed upon, you have to pay for it.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      That’s great! So often people forget that we’re actually doing work. And providing a service, much like others do.

  8. Hi Miranda,

    Good advice – and thanks for including my link in your article! 🙂

    I think it’s important to tell a client beforehand when you’d charge more money. I think some contracts include a revision or two, but that’s it. It’s important to give a client a heads up that there are certain circumstances under which you may charge more for your services.

    Stay true to you,

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