Sometimes the Answer Is Simple

I admit it. For a long time, figuring out rates and providing quotes was a weak area for me. It took time, practice, and hard lessons to arrive at the point where I can confidently and calmly provide a quote. Before, I’d be figuratively biting my nails as I submitted my quotes and second-guessing myself.

John Hewitt has the answer I wish I had when I started freelancing as a writer. It works for every freelancing career. Well, except the per word part. Just remove that or substitute with “per page,” “per design,” etc.

  1. Start at $20 an hour or $.20 a word. This is a fairly low level. Feel free to start higher.
  2. Increase your fee by 5 ($25 an hour $.25 a word) with each successful gig.
  3. When your prospects start telling you that you charge too much, don’t raise your rates for six months.
  4. Try raising it again.

Too simple and sometimes the best answer is the simplest one. The day before a state-wide math assessment test, my husband asked our oldest who takes algebra, “Do you remember how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide?”

She responded, “I don’t know. When I do a math problem now… if the answer is simple, I think it’s wrong because it has to be more complicated than that.”

Uh oh. Her mind is starting to work like an adult’s. We forget the answer can still be simple. It reminded me of a riddle I read years ago where kindergarteners (five and six-year-olds) easily answered the riddle while educated adults struggled or didn’t get it. I thought it was this one:

Question: What is greater than God? What is eviler than the devil? The poor have it. The rich need it, if you eat it you will die. What is it?

Answer: Nothing

But research says it was this one where the kids outscored the adults.

I turn polar bears white.
And I will make you cry.
I make guys have to pee
And girls comb their hair.
I make celebrities look stupid.
And normal people look like celebrities.
I turn pancakes brown
And make your champagne bubble.
If you squeeze me, I’ll pop.
If you look at me, you’ll pop.
Can you guess the riddle?

Answer: No.

True or not — the point is clear… we sometimes overlook the obvious.

Simple Doesn’t Come to the Rescue

I’m working on a quote for a client. The problem is I can’t determine how many articles I can write per week. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. Charge by article? Well, that wouldn’t work either as it could be 300 one time, 700 another.

Charge by the hour? I try to avoid that. What would you do?

2 thoughts on “Sometimes the Answer Is Simple”

  1. Thanks for sharing John’s article– great advice for freelancers who are starting out. I’ve always struggled with the amount to charge as well. It doesn’t help that some of my projects are paying a flat rate per article and very low rates at that– I consider those projects my lunch money. 🙂


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