The Bottom Line - Or How To Price Your Work [Copywriting Knowhow]

The Bottom Line – Or How To Price Your Work [Copywriting Knowhow]

In part 1 we stated ‘price’ is irrelevant (it’s all about value). In the last part (3) we said if we don’t know our price, we know nothing.

So here’s the point. To know our price IS to know our value. And that’s what this final part is about. Know Your Price.

Did you come to a conclusion about the question asked in the last part? (go here to start this series from part 1 if you’ve missed any of it):

All of us have overheads. It doesn’t matter if we’re in business or not. We need to eat, we need somewhere to sleep (and stay safe whilst we sleep), and we need some means to earn money to pay for it.

Look upon those costs as your bottom line. If you cross that line (in the wrong direction), you’re going to need to compromise in one or all of those three things (food, home, job).

None of these overheads take in our value to the world though. That can never be known until it happens (eg. someone sees enough value in us to pay us).

How much time do we have? Assuming we need to sleep for 8 hours a day, we have 16 left to do stuff. Of those 16, some time has to be put aside for eating and other daily chores we cannot avoid (maybe commuting etc.).

On top of that, we need some battery charging time (our 8 hours sleep keeps our body going, but sometimes we need more – particularly if we’re creative and use our brains more).

Eventually we arrive at a daily figure of time we have free to do something to enable us to survive.

Whatever that time is, we divide it by our overhead costs. Eg. if we figure we have 10 hours a day free, and our overheads are $100 a day, then we need to earn $10 an hour (which, by the way, is nowhere near the $480 an hour we’d need to earn if we wanted to earn 7 figures a year).

None of this takes into account not getting work in the first place (we have no control over that other than a concerted effort to get it). But it doesn’t matter. At least we KNOW our price. And that’s all that matters at this stage.

We can confidently go out and say to anyone who asks “I’m a professional copywriter, my fee is $xxxx [per period/project/retainer] and I’m ready to start today.”. That is confidence (or step 1 of getting work).

PS. Just remember the golden rule of negotiation – never state your price until you know the scope of work (because A: you may not be able to do what they want, B: you may not want to do what they want, or C – the most important of all – they don’t yet understand the value you bring to the table).

About the Author Quentin Pain

I've spent my working life starting and running a whole variety of businesses, from my first QPL Express Couriers where I travelled over 100,000 miles every year delivering packages on a motorcycle (along with a whole bunch of colleagues) to which made a major in-road in the UK, to ProofMEDIA my current business that focuses on Copywriting and the International Copywriters Association, which helps copywriters learn more about copywriting and the copywriting industry around the world.

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