Unfortunately, today’s word won’t help you expand your vocabulary. However, its importance pretty much trumps everything for freelancers, so I don’t think you’ll mind me reaching into the vernacular for this one. G is for green.

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No, this isn’t a post about reducing the size of your carbon footprint (as admirable as that might be); it’s a post about money.

Moolah. Dough. Relish. Bread. Loot. Plaster. Clams.

I consider myself somewhat established in the world of freelance writing. No, I’m not independently wealthy yet. (That is, I have bills, a car payment, and a  mortgage payment like the rest of the working world.) But I’m not doing too bad for myself. (That is, I can actually pay those bills, car payments, and mortgage payments.) Therefore I deem myself qualified to give the following advice:

If you want to make more money, try charging less.

You’re going to hate this one. Hell, I hate this one. But it works.

No matter how long you’ve been at it, there will be times when you have to woo new clients. And I’m here to tell you, it ain’t always easy. People who are looking to hire freelance writers for the first time don’t always understand what goes into a professionally written web page or a blog post. When they balk at your initial quote, it’s usually because they hadn’t prepared themselves for the reality of hiring a professional. It’s not a personal assault on your intelligence, I swear.

So instead of turning someone away, why not try offering an introductory rate? For instance, I recently picked up a new client on a job site whose stated budget was about half of my standard rate. Despite the below normal wages, I gave the client my best work. He loved it (of course!) and promptly paid me. Then he asked me if I would like more work in the future.

When you’ve proven you’ve got what it takes, be clear about what you need in the future.

I gave it to him straight, letting him know that it was great to work with him, but that my standard wages were considerably higher. If my schedule permitted, I might be open to working with him again at this lower wage. But as a rule, it just wouldn’t be sustainable.

You know what he did? He asked me what I would normally charge.

You know what I did? I told him.

Then he remarked that those rates were not unreasonable considering the quality of my work, and he told me he looked forward to doing business with me again in the future. And any freelancer will tell you that clients with long-term projects and repeat business are the best clients to have.

Have you ever done something that seemed counter-intuitive in order to make more green?

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