Top 5 negotiation strategies for creative freelancers

Simply reading the word “negotiation” just connotes high-rise buildings and 80s shoulder pads, doesn’t it? For many of us, there can be something quite intimidating just thinking about having to negotiate with a client for our services…
However, as much we may despise the idea of asking for higher rates, it is crucial not to shy away from discussing money as you’ll probably miss out on an opportunity to charge more effectively and ultimately command a higher rate. The way around the intimidation aspect is to have a simply laid-out game plan prepared.
𝟭) 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘃𝗮𝗹𝘂𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸

Just because it includes the word “free” does NOT mean that clients should consider freelance careers as “hobby-ish” or not real work somehow. One of the primary goals of any potential first meeting with a client is to help them understand the value of your work. As a freelancer, use this opportunity to clearly affirm what you’re bringing to the table.

𝟮) 𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹, 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲!

This is where concentrating your energy on asking questions ahead of quoting your rate is key. Ensure to ask questions before you quote your rate. This way, through conversation and gentle guidance, your client can start to gauge how valuable your services could be for them.

𝟯) 𝗘𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝗮 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗺𝘂𝗺 𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝗺

There are several handy freelance rate calculators that take your desired annual salary, taxes, expenses, and even a little wiggle-room for time off and sick days into account, in order to calculate your ideal minimum rate. Remember, this job is your means of earning a living. Learn to say no to anyone who requests you charge lower than the bare minimum.

𝟰) 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲 𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗿

This has a number of advantages. Firstly, clients can view this positively, as they’re no longer concerned about how you’re filling each hour, they just get the desired product or service. Secondly, it allows you to focus on the problem you’re solving for them, and the value it provides, rather than simply trying to fill hours. You work on your own time.

𝟱) 𝗦𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀

Firstly, draft a terms agreement, which is a basic contract that anyone could read and quickly understand what the nature of your arrangement is. Always aim to get this signed by both parties ahead of undertaking any work. Be sure to include details of the payment schedule.

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