was delighted with my freelance living in 2007. Others were telling me
what a "bad year" it was for them - less work, less money, and
hard times. With my "portfolio career" of seven different part-time
careers, I was always busy and making enough money to cover expenses -
so busy that I even quit one of my part-time jobs. I enjoyed everything
I did and everyday so much that I felt like a success.
was until the woman who prepares my taxes pointed out that, on paper,
I had not made a profit - again. This happened because with all
of the different careers, I spent most of what I earned on business expenses.
She correctly pointed out that it is time for me to make a profit - and
not by reducing my expenses, but by increasing my fees. In the following
article, I will address the area of fees - what and how I am learning
about earning enough - for free agents, independent professionals and
Even if we love what we do, we need to earn a living. As I mentioned
in the introduction, I was delighted with 2007- I loved what I did and
was comfortable. I realize now, however, to get ahead - and not to have
the IRS think that what I am doing is a "hobby" - I need to
re-evaluate my fee structure. As Dana Cassell writes in her excellent
to Set Your Fees as a Freelancer or Independent Consultant, "One
of the most important questions you'll face as a freelancer or consultant
is how much to charge for your work. Too high, and you could price yourself
out of business; too low, and you'll be cheating yourself. This clearly
requires some thought." In her informative book, veteran freelancer
Cassell gives you the benefit of her experience, packing pricing formulas
and strategies, tips, and live links to additional resources in this concise
yet indispensable guide to help arm you with the information and insider
wisdom you'll need to maximize your earning potential. I have purchased
this immediately downloadable book, and have revised my pricing already.
You are worth more than you think you are! These are the words my
tax preparer said, and I am sure that it is probably true of many free
agents, independent professionals and freelancers. I feel that we often
don't appreciate how "good" we are at what we do. We don't consider
our background experience, our education and the time we have taken to
get to our level of expertise. We are afraid that when we tell a prospective
client what we charge, they will gasp and run the other way. Some will,
but I have actually found that many feel that, "You get what you
pay for." If we price our services too low, we may be downgrading
our credibility. A lot of freelancers I know who have started charging
more than before, because of time constraints, have found that they are
hired even more often after the fee hike. We all just need the courage
to "do it."
There are many different ways to figure how to set our fees. When
we are setting fees there are several different approaches, from hourly
rates, project rates and one time fees (for example: for a workshop, presentation,
special report, e-book or tele-seminar). And, if you have several different
careers as I do, you may set different levels for the different types
of jobs. For example, I can charge quite a bit more for my web design
and development than for the fitness classes I teach and the storytelling
programs I do. In this case, I must consider the "going rate."
Unfortunately, as a speaker I can charge more than double what I do as
a storyteller - this is due to client perception and the type of client
who is doing the hiring. I always consider the client, especially in the
area of web design, desktop publishing and writing. If it is a group -
my niche market is small businesses and non-profits - that is struggling
and will give me great exposure and testimonials, I charge less than if
I were working with a huge corporation. This is an area where I need to
reconsider charging the smaller groups more and revise my whole fee structure.
Be strong enough to turn down a job even when you need the money.
We've all been there. Times are tough, and we aren't sure where the next
paycheck is coming from. We are offered a job that will be long on hours,
but short on pay. I know how hard it is to say, "No." But, all
I can say is that it is not a good idea to compromise yourself or your
fees in times of panic. If we are patient and believe that the work will
come (and, of course, we are constantly marketing ourselves so potential
clients know about us and what great stuff we do), it will. I know this
So, reconsider your fees. Charge what you are worth. And have a happy
tax preparer for your 2002 taxes. I plan to!
is now 2004 as I review and re-feature this article. Yes! I did make my
tax preparer happy by showing a profit in both 2002 and 2003 (and, even
though this means a payback to the government, I plan to have another
profitable year, this year).
P.S. Please send me questions and ideas for future articles. Or any
for that matter!
A brand new FREE eclectic e-newsletter, Career Success Planning, is on the way. I will be contacting former sbscribers to Portfolio Potpourri and all who have taken the Portfolio Career Self Test to subscribe to the new FREE e-newsletter. Use the form below to sign up!
When I started doing the research for this book, I knew that my own experience as a Portfolio Careerist (having more than one career at the same time) wasn’t going to be enough.
After all, those of us who love and maintain Portfolio Careers also love the variety and thrive on doing things our own way. So, I put out a call to those I knew have or have had Portfolio Careers and would be willing to answer a series of questions.
Thirteen Portfolio Careerists answered my call, so you will get the full story
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