Can Charging Too Little Hurt Your Freelance Marketing Career?3/7/2012 12:26 PM By Artisan
Freelance marketing careers don’t just happen. They come as the result of a combination of hard work and smart decisions. If you’ve got the hard work part down but could use a little help on making more intelligent business decisions, begin by asking yourself this: Are you charging too little for your services?
The first step to being able to answer that question is in knowing your worth, which comes not only from a process of introspection but also by looking outward. Find out what others of your caliber in your industry are earning. Using this as a comparison, determine how you stack up. Are you a cheap freelance marketing consultant or are you overpricing your services? Being on either end of the extreme is a bad thing, but what can really be harmful to your reputation is by asking too little for your work.
It may seem logical to want to price your services lower so you’ll attract the attention of new clients. But there are some significant drawbacks to taking this approach that you may not have considered:
Clients won’t take you seriously as a freelance marketing professional if you charge too little. Think about it. Clients who really know the value of your work and are interested in hiring the best person for the job will view rates that seem too good to be true as precisely that. In the end, you run the risk of being judged not by the quality of your work but by what you yourself think you’re worth. A low asking rate insinuates that you aren’t experienced enough or desperate and will lead others to assume the same without even seeing evidence of your abilities. This is one of the greatest pitfalls to those seeking to carve out freelance marketing careers for themselves.
Likes attract likes. If your desire is to work as a freelance marketing consultant for high-level, high-paying clients, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot by lowballing your prices. Doing that, you’ll attract a far lower tier and caliber of clients.
Once you go low, it’s hard to go high. Entering into a business relationship with a client that agrees to pay you rock bottom rates can be an inescapable trap because it makes it almost impossible to ask for greater pay later on. If you let potential clients know ahead of time what you expect to be paid, you’ll never have to face the nightmare of haggling and negotiating for more money.
If anything, you should consider pricing your services as a freelance marketing consultant a bit on the high end. While this may cause some clients to decide not to work with you, it will ultimately work out better for you in the long run. Not only does it chase cheap clients away, but it also gives serious clients an indication of the quality of your work and helps build your reputation.
Vince F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.