“I don't work for chips and snacks.”
— Andrea Deckard, SavingsLifestyle.com and Digital CoLab.
The highlight of my year is attending the Financial Blogger Conference. Not only do I get to meet my PF blogging peers in person and have an amazing time (I act like I'm in college again), but I also learn from them.
One of my favorite sessions this year was a panel moderated by Luke Landes from Consumerism Commentary. It included Andrea Deckard from SavingsLifestyle.com, Toni Anderson from The Happy Housewife, and J.D. Roth, founder of Get Rich Slowly. The panel focused on answering questions about how to make money with blogs.
Honestly, making money with my blog, through affiliate sales (although there was some great advice that I should probably apply), advertising, and other means isn't a huge focus of mine. But I found the comments insightful and practical. Especially as they related to getting what you're worth.
Andrea Deckard pointed out that she doesn't work for free, and that working for perks like free food doesn't count as payment. “I don't work for chips and snacks.”
Too often, as a freelance writer, I forget that what I do has value. I provide a product (I try to position my writing as a product, rather than a service). Getting free stuff is nice, but it doesn't pay the mortgage. Plus, the value of the free stuff is rarely in line with what you could charge to write something in the first place.
What's the Value of Your Time, Reputation, and Expertise as a Freelance Writer?
I don't quote potential clients hourly rates. I hate hourly pricing. I work on a per-project or per-post basis. This is important because hourly pricing limits you. Your time is much more valuable than the limits you place on yourself through hourly pricing.
The panel I attended reminded me of that. Andrea and Toni talked about becoming brand ambassadors and brand spokespersons. They talked about contracts that make sense and value what they do. They talked about making sure that you are paid fairly for the value you bring to the table. Whether you bring an audience, your reputation, or an actual product to the table, you need to consider what you're worth as a freelance writer — or any type of expert.
Recently, someone made it clear that they wanted to be able to use Google Authorship in conjunction with my name. They wanted to be able to say I am an author on their site. I was blown away by this proposal. There are things you don't even think about monetizing that have value. Your willingness to promote posts on social media. Your Google Plus profile. The connections you have around the blogosphere. All of these are things you can leverage as a freelance writer. All of these are things with value that you should consider as you set your freelance rates.
Consider your time, effort, expertise, reputation, and other factors. Stop working for chips and snacks. Think about what you're worth, and ask for it.