Charging for what you love

Charging for what you love

One of the most difficult thing about Freelance work is getting paid. To begin with, quite often companies will offer work in exchange for exposure or experience, and this is quite commonly seen amongst people who are studying creative subjects at university going into voluntary apprenticeship programmes, but some studies have shown that this has very little effect on whether future employers will actually employ you, and in some cases, it actually has a negative effect, suggesting that knowing your worth before you start working portrays you as a confident and reliable person.

It is difficult to know where to start. There are no regulations, there are no rules, and everything feel likes a random guess. It is difficult to establish the balance between overcharging, which is likely to scare away potential employers, and undercharging, which undersells your abilities and can create financial problems and also problems with trying to earn more later as you may be pigeon-holed as a "cheap employee. It is important to remember that your skills are valuable, otherwise there would be no market for them, but it is also important to stay competitive.

Before quoting your price, there are a few things you should consider. It helps to do some research and to find out how much other freelancers working in the same industry and in the same field are charging for their services. It is also difficult when you are paid by the project instead of paid an hourly wage. Sometimes it helps to tally up how long you feel each piece of work will take and to figure out if the total wages you are receiving are reflective of the time you have put into it, but don't forget to include the time it takes for planning and all the other downtime included in producing the final product, because even if it is not productive time it still has to be accounted for. If you are working on a long project, maybe it is a good idea to add on an extra day or two on the end when you are making initial estimations as you never know what could happen to delay your finish, and this will leave you with slightly more flexibility and breathing space.

A good way to calculate a rate is to figure out how much a week you would expect to earn and how many hours you would expect to work to obtain that figure including all your downtime relating to the business. If you do some simple maths you can come up with an hourly rate which might start to point you in the right direction.

Sometimes you have to be flexible with how much you charge, but it is a good idea to start off charging high on the off chance that they accept that price, but be prepared to bring this price down, keeping in mind a reasonable absolute minimum that you are not prepared to work below. It is very easy for the company to push down your hourly rate, but very difficult for you to ask for more and to push this up, hence why it is a good idea to start at the top.

Another difficulty is sometimes getting paid. Once you have provided the finished product, the company has less motivation to send you the money, so sometimes it is a good idea to either charge before you start working, or, as is quite commonly seen these days, to charge for half or a proportion of it to work as a guarantee. Obviously if your client pays you up front, you are under more pressure to adhere to any strict deadlines to keep them happy and returning for more work.

It always pays to have a Paypal account set up, as many companies, particularly when you are working remotely, will opt to pay your wages this way instead of as a transaction to your bank account.

It is often frustrating trying to obtain your money, and it sometimes feels very rude to ask, but without wages you can't afford to pay your bills or put food on the table, and while it is often difficult, it'

Benefits of Freelancing

Benefits of Freelancing

Deciding to become a freelancer is quite a bold and scary move for anybody, but there are a number of benefits which make it a really excellent choice for a lot of people. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider handing in your notice and becoming your own boss.


- when you are a freelancer, you have more control over your own schedules. If you are working on projects that don't require you to progress with them at particular times, you can work at any time of the day that suits you, so if you have friends visiting for the weekend, or a social evening planned, or even just the desire to stay in bed a little longer every day, you can model your schedule around your personal needs. Just make sure you actually put aside some time to actually work though!

Creative work

- there is an increasing demand for creative work, and quite often in fields that are highly studied in college and university but with not much success of companies hiring on a standard hourly contract. Freelancing is a world where you can focus on your creative skills, such as writing, photography, graphic design, content producing and website creating which you thought you would never get paid for, and so you can work in a field that better suits your personality and allows you to express yourself a little more. You are also able to gain experience in fields that are traditionally difficult to get your foot in the door of, and so you can use a freelancing experience as a way to establish yourself and to work towards a big career move.

Working from home

- depending on the type of freelance work you can do, you may never actually have to leave your house, which eliminates the commute to work every day (unless you still count the distance between your desk and your computer inside your house). In fact, as long as you have a laptop computer and a strong internet connection, you can work from anywhere, including your favourite cafe, the library or even from a bench in town, and if you have a portable internet modem, you can actually work from anywhere with a signal. So, when the sun is out and you don't want to be stuck inside all day, you can set up a picnic blanket in the park and enjoy the good weather.


- while it is very difficult to start out as a freelancer, when you become established, there is not limit to how much you can earn. You become your own boss, so you can push yourself to improve and work your way into a better position, which of course can have very positive effects on your income. For those months when you are struggling to pay the bills, you have the flexibility to work as much or as little as you need. You also have the ability to negotiate your own rates, which can work both in favour or against you depending on your haggling skills.

Choosing your clients

- as you are in control of your work, you can be flexible with who you choose to work with. It does help to say yes a lot to begin with, but over time you can refine who you are working for and you can control your working relationships to create a nicer and more personalised professional world for you to make your money in.

There are, of course, some disadvantages to freelance work that shouldn't be overlooked when deciding to switch. Money can be difficult, and with no minimum wage, you have to be motivated and determined to start earning enough money to survive. There are also no traditional employment contracts, so when you become sick there is not likely to be sickness pay, there are not likely to be unions that support you, and there is of course no sympathy when it's your computer that is playing up. There is no steady income, as you are in control of this, and there is a lot less stability and rules like there are in a normal work contract, however, if you are willing to take a few risks, and to jump into the unknown, the rewards are there to be reaped.