Charging A Lot Of Money For Your Freelance Service… and Still Making More
Let’s assume you are a typical freelancer who starts from the bottom, charging basement prices and gradually working your way up the ranks.
Eventually, you’ll wonder what life is like on the other side, and tales of freelancers in your field earning thousands a day and getting retainer payments that are more than you earn in a month for doing nothing will reach your ears.
At that point, you’ll have a choice; forget it and realise the pauper’s life is for you (which I don’t recommend) or you’ll start to wonder if you too could get away with those prices.
If you’re like a certain copywriter, you’ll nerd out and split test the whole thing. You’ll create a separate entity and start charging way-out there prices that are similar to what you read about in the guru guides.
Sometimes, that will work and you’ll start charging a lot more. It’s weird when you charge $50 for something and then $200 for the same thing a day later.
Now, there are a lot of guru types who’ll say you should start at the top; go out there having quit your job and moved to Cambodia or whatever, and immediately cold call American companies saying, “I charge 10k a day, give me your money!”
I don’t recommend this approach. You’re going to be a fish out of water and you probably aren’t quite sure what you’re doing. If you are charging a lot and not very good at doing it, then that’s a one-way ticket to not getting any work and annoying people.
Still, let’s assume you work in the trenches and build a decent business and you’ve got the expertise. You start charging a lot of money.
Here’s what the guru’s don’t tell you…
Most of your money-making opportunities disappear when you put a high price on your services. It’s a common sense thing, but I’ve seen plenty of bloggers, watched plenty of videos and taken plenty of courses where the instructor will say “Go up to local businesses and offer your services as a copywriter and charge $5k per job.”
The majority of businesses are never going to pay you the high wages. It’s inevitable. You need highly targeted funnels to find the big money. Most companies aren’t “big money.”
Now, when we get into the reality of it; high ticket clients are hard to come by and you need to have an angle to hit them with, the picture becomes a little less rosy.
The above isn’t to dissuade you; if you’ve got a quality service that people will pay a lot for, then the obvious choice is to sell that service. Absolutely.
But the fact still remains that 90% of everyone you chase or everyone who is exposed to your business will not become your customer.
Should you leave them to go somewhere else?
Unless you’re so absolutely busy you can’t follow the advice below… then there’s no way you should be letting 90% of your potential business slip away.
Forget the guys who parrot the Pareto Principle “go for the 20% of your clients that pay 80% of your money and forget the rest!”
Pretty much no big company actually does that. Big companies simply split their brands into luxury/commodity. That’s exactly what you should do.
How To Work With All Market Segments
Let’s say you charge several thousand dollars for a sales letter. As we discussed above, you realise that most companies aren’t able or willing to give some random freelancer $5k per sales letter. You take the ones that are as they come and even set up specific funnels deliberately to do so, but what do you do when the following happens:
– A new copywriter asks for advice
– A mom-and-pop-shop asks you to write their website’s homepage
– Some acquaintance here’s you’re a copywriter and he approaches you without knowing your prices.
A lot of people freeze at these; especially the last one. You don’t want to freeze, turn away the business or appear rude. So what do you do?
You ascertain the budget the person has and then funnel them down.
On the internet, the easiest way to do this is to create products which don’t require your time. You could also hire help, (for people who can’t afford you specifically, get a junior copywriter and take a small percentage) or you could offer a reduced service.
Either way, you should segment your audience and address their needs in a way that’s useful for both of you.
There’s absolutely nothing to stop you from hitting everyone from the people looking for free advice through to people spending hundreds and thousands.
Everything is a potential upsell – and also a potential “down sell.” Not all lead magnets need to be free either – some leads are easier services designed for the lower income rungs in your funnel.
Look at Tony Robbins. He offers everything from free books through to paid books, paid seminars and everything up to “Elite $60,000 Tropical Mastermind” events.
There’s no reason that whatever your business is can’t hit every single price point. And it should.
The answer for most of the questions I’ve talked about over the last couple of articles basically comes down to setting up decent funnels. But on a more elementary level than that, you have to understand your audiences. Most people who give business advice talk about “your customer” but they rarely talk about the fact you’re going to have multiple customers with varying needs and budgets.
A person who needs an hour of your time to go through a very specific problem is very different to the corporate company which requires a legal signature giving away your soul before they’ll even tell you what they want you to do.
You should plan accordingly. As a general rule:
– Free stuff. There are tons of options.
– People with next-to-no income; books that cost $10.
– Professionals; courses, bootcamps and other stuff like that.
– Companies – your actual service; enough for you to live on and not starve to death.
– The big Fish… always have a big fish option. The $60,000 Tropical MBA program.
The above list isn’t prescriptive – it’s merely to highlight that you can hit all segments of a market; and you should, otherwise you’re leaving money on the table.