How to raise your rates in 2013

Hi, I'm Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).

Back in corporate America, I used to have to ask for a raise when I wanted one. These days, I just give myself one. Much better, I think.

Yesterday on the CFC LinkedIn Group, Ilise asked, Are you sheepishly asking for a raise? She posed the questions: 

• Should we ask our clients for a raise?
• Or should we tell them we are raising our rates?

Here’s my take:

I’ve been continually raising my rates all year. The more I grow to understand what a particular project requires of me (for example, finding a brand’s voice and writing content for a 10 page website), the more I understand the amount of work required. This usually means I need to charge more. So the next time I do that project, I take the variables into consideration, and I quote a range that will work for me. This range might be higher than the last time I did a similar project.

I always quote in ranges so it allows some wiggle room.

Before writing an official estimate, I always ask my prospects if this range feels comfortable for them. If they say yes, perfect. If they say no, I might be able to accommodate their range by adjusting the project a bit.

My ongoing clients usually pay well (they’ve been doing this for longer and often understand the value of my work better than I do!) But when I do need to raise rates for an ongoing client, I just estimate the project a little higher, tell them I’m doing so, and ask if the estimate works for them.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Marketing Mentor, it’s this: Don’t be afraid to talk candidly about money. It’s only currency. Seems like only when we disconnect the emotions surrounding money can we really price properly. It’s a journey! But the great thing about self-employment is that we never have to get stuck getting paid less than we should. We are the decision makers. We always have the freedom to charge more or find better paying clients.

One more thing: If you’re afraid to talk about money or to raise your rates, you’re probably the person who most needs to. (I’ve been there.)