4 Tips to create a powerful negotiation strategy for freelance writing beginners

Negotiation strategy for freelance writing beginners is something often overlooked. While starting out, freelancers are hungry for work and experience and hence, negotiation takes a back seat.

In today’s post, we are going to go over the four basic things which, if done right, can help you negotiate fairly with your first client. This will help in setting up a minimum rate for your services and save you from people who want quality work for cheap.

Things to know before building negotiation strategy for freelance writing

Why having a negotiation strategy is important?

When you get your first response from a client, you’re head over heels. It is a moment of great satisfaction and you start feeling good about yourself. Just when you are done rejoicing this first taste of success, you’re faced with a question – What are your charges?

Almost all the freelancers (especially in countries like India) start off with meager pays during their first days as a writer. The rates are generally lower than other more developed markets, with the minimum being as low as 10p/word in some cases.

While your first response to this would be – they’re newbies. They need experience before they can start charging higher. We beg to differ because of the fact that the payment levels are so low that it is actually sad.

That is where negotiation jumps in. Negotiation is important in every field. Even while giving an interview for a full time job, you’re supposed to negotiate well in order to draw a higher salary.

In the same way, negotiation in freelancing is important if you want better pay.

Now, the next question is – How do I create a negotiation strategy while starting out?

Well, that is where we come in. Today, we are going to give you tips that MUST be borne in your mind before you negotiate. These tips will help you start your journey with a respectable pay and get a better start than many.

Four tips for creating a strong negotiation strategy for freelance writing beginners

1. Decide how to charge your client

While there are three basic ways to charge your clients viz. 1.) Per Word 2.) Hourly and 3.) Project wise, our recommendation will be to have a per word rate since it is easier to invoice.

Another reason to go for per word rates is since the work is mostly done remotely, setting up a transparent channel to judge the hourly rates is not that feasible.

Per project rates are not that popular either since it takes away the flexibility from the writer to charge as per the complexity of the work involved.

However, per project rates can be considered if you have a long term project and the work is more or less of the same complexity.

You can read this insightful post by Tom Ewer where he talks in detail about the various ways of charging clients.

To sum up, we recommend beginners to go for the much simpler per word rates that will ensure that you’re getting paid fairly.

You can explore the other two ways of deciding your rates after you’ve gained some experience.

“Start with a per word rate when you begin”

2. Know the average rates in the market

This is the GO TO point when you are starting. As a content writing beginner you might be confused on what might be a higher price to charge and what might be too low.

Knowing the average rates prevalent in the market is the best way to set a benchmark. This is key part of the negotiation strategy for freelance writing since everything depends on how well you understand the market.

Now, there are no fixed minimum rates when it comes to freelancing. So, finding an authentic source of average rates can be a little difficult.

But, worry not. Based on our experience over time, we have put together a basic chart that can give you an idea about what to charge.

However, don’t just rely on our words. Do some research over the internet to get a more holistic view and then take a call.

Once you have an idea about what your skill sets can fetch, you can go ahead and fix a rate.

This will also ensure that you do not accept a project below the minimum price. As per our experience, rates for a starting freelance writer for blog posts requiring basic research should be a minimum of 25-30p/word.

“The bare minimum cost per word for a beginner in India should be between 25-30p”

Pro Tip: Don’t go by the rates mentioned on sites like Freelancer and WorknHire have to offer. The rates there are lower than the average and this is not what any writer deserves.

Check LinkedIn groups and talk to other freelancers to know the correct prices. There are Facebook groups like these that will also help you get the best rates and you must rely on the community of writers to help you out.

Negotiation Strategy for Freelance Writing Beginners

3. Pitch a service:

This is a very popular strategy that many content marketers recommend. Rather than being a content writer alone, pitch your clients a complete service package i.e. content marketing services.

For example: Instead of being a blog writer for a brand, pitch them value added services like keyword SEO, relevant images (with sources) and content research.

In this way, you can command a better pricing since you’re providing a complete service rather than just writing.

This will also benefit you as a writer since you will gain expertise in not only creating, but also marketing the content.

“Pitching a value added service is a win-win strategy for both the freelancers and clients”

Pro Tip: While this is a good strategy to command higher prices, do not over-promise at the start. Only commit to what you can actually deliver.

In order to be able to use this strategy, you need to up-skill yourself and learn about SEO, research, and image designing. These skills are in high demand for content creators and will help you go a long way.

4. Check authenticity of client

This is often overlooked while negotiating with a client – especially the first one.

While most of the clients you will come across will be genuine, there are quite a few that might try to dupe you.

These people create fake social accounts and contact writers (especially fresher) for their projects. They make them do the hard work and then disappear when it comes to payments.

So, an important part of the negotiation strategy for freelance writing should incorporate a methodology to check the authenticity of the client.

Though there is no predefined way to do this, we have a few handy tips that will flush out most of them:

  1. Check their social media profiles in order to see if they’re real or not. A profile having a few or no friends on Facebook is usually fake. Similarly on other platforms too, be wary of profiles that seem incomplete or fake.
  2. Ask for their contact number and discuss the requirements over a call. Usually, fake clients will shy away from contacting over the phone and prefer emails as it is easier to ignore.
  3. While negotiating, take the initial payment upfront. For example: If you’re getting into a contract for monthly blog writing, ask for the payment of the first blog right at the start. If the client is genuine, they won’t have a problem in paying you immediately.
    If they try to divert, do not work for them (in some cases the genuine clients might defer too, but usually it is the fake ones that will want to stall the payment as much as possible).

Clients who really understand the value of content will never dupe you and always pay you the correct price.

It might take some time to locate such clients, but once you do, your journey as a freelancer will be greatly enhanced.

“Always check the authenticity of the client before you begin the project”

Final Word

No matter whether you’re a content writer at UpWork or are trying to pitch clients through Facebook / LinkedIn, the above tips are sure to help you stay vigilant and get fairly paid.

So, before you negotiate with your first client, make sure you know how much you’re worth and if he is real or not. Do not let your hard work go unpaid, after all, your time is as precious as any other person’s.

We would love to know if these tips helped you in any way. We are also very keen to learn if you have any other suggestions that can help writers.

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Until next time!! Stay home stay safe!!

2 thoughts on “4 Tips to create a powerful negotiation strategy for freelance writing beginners”

  1. Thanks. I am just researching about content writing and pondering whether I can do it. Landed here through facebook and I found all your content very helpful.

    1. Hi Vandana,

      We are pleased to know that you liked our content!! It is our constant endeavor to ensure that we create content that is genuinely useful for our readers.

      It would be great if you can share this content with people you feel might benefit from it 🙂

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