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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Rates: What Do Beginner's Charge?
by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications and Associates

Commercial freelance writers who have recently gathered enough experience to write for businesses and industries usually charge their first clients between $25 and $35+ per hour for their time and from that point slowly and steadily increase their salary, seeking bigger and better projects and clients.

Rarely do they and absolutely should not charge less for their time or work for free once they commit themselves as being established commercial freelance writers.

But what if you're a beginner to commercial freelance writing and you have not yet gotten a client? Everything in this area is new to you. How can you possibly go after a client and charge $25 or more per hour for your time? Most likely you can't and it's because you're a beginner.

A beginner is someone who has little experience freelance writing for the commercial industry (and probably has never done it before) and is not sure what type of writing services to offer, what to charge, and how to get his or her first client. If you're new to commercial freelance writing, you're probably frustrated, bewildered, and anxious to get started. But to get to the point of getting your first client and being able to charge $25 an hour, there are two steps that you must follow.

The two steps are:

1) to get experience and 2) to establish connections.
The good news is that you can get experience and establish connections at the same time and all of this can be done in your hometown. Getting experience will help increase your skills and awareness about what writing services you'd like to offer, what you're specialty will be, working with clients, meeting deadlines, developing writing skills to create various types of copy, and running a business. As a beginner, you will probably work for free as you gather experience. There is nothing wrong with this. I always say, "Experience is the solid foundation on which you'll build your successful business upon."

Establishing connections will help you meet other people who might be interested in your writing services or know people who would be. For example, by doing free volunteer work for an organization (as I had first done), you'll not only gather samples and credentials, but you'll also be networking with other people who may have an interest in your talents.

Beginner's Luck Or What?
Freelance writer Joseph Kessler got his first client as a result of volunteering his time writing press releases and creating brochures for a local organization. His volunteer work helped flesh out his writing talents, work with people, meet deadlines, and find solutions to problems.

The director of the organization was impressed with his work and, after a couple of months, she happily referred him to her corporate boss. Kessler's first paying assignment was to provide copy for an eight panel brochure (an overwhelming project at that time, he says) that would be used to promote a new health spa.

He charged a low-level beginner's rate of $15 an hour. Looking back on the experience, he says he should have charged at least $35 an hour or better yet, $650 for the entire project. After this project, he committed himself to charging no less than $25 for his time. That was five years ago. What does he charge today? $50 an hour. "It's what my time is worth," he says.

The most common way a beginning freelance writer gets his first client is via networking; that is, establishing connections. You can already guess how most beginners get their second clients: as a referral from their first clients. If this sounds so simplistic, it's because it is!

Brian Konradt is the owner and operator of FreelanceWriting.Com (http://www.freelancewriting.com), a web site dedicated to help writers master the business and creative sides of freelance writing. Mr. Konradt is also the principal of BSK Communications & Associates, a communications/publishing business in New Jersey, which he established in 1992.










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