How to Charge More Even If You’re Just a Newbie

Freelancing is an excellent alternative to the toxic and stress-laden world of corporate employment.

Imagine making money without leaving your family, spending hours in traffic, and dealing with the office politics and your micro-managing boss.

Therefore, a lot of people are joining the bandwagon and trying their luck to make money while working from home.

And indeed, some of these individuals are earning six to seven figures a month armed with only a laptop and a stable internet connection.

However, there is another side to the story.

While there are others who are earning a lot of money, there are also other Freelancers who are stuck with making $3 per hour, or worse.

And when you point out and try to discuss the situation, these Freelancers are quick to defend their position and explain using these reasons:

     a. It is to win the competition. If we charge more, then the clients will just go with Freelancers in their country.

     b. The cost of living in the Philippines is cheap.​

     c. We don’t have a choice. That’s the only way to get jobs.

I don’t know about you, but these reasons are all BS. Let me tell you why…

If you have a heart attack and needs a surgeon to fix you up, will you ask him these questions:

     a. How much is the cost of living in the place that you live?

     b. How much do you charge? My neighbor probably costs the same.

     c. There are a lot of surgeons out there, I think I consider them also     before getting you.

You see how silly those reasons are?

Here's the brutal truth my friend. Those Freelancers are charging far less and earning little because they allow it. They just accept it and then come up with reasons justifying their situation.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”

However, don’t fret. This blog post is not just to rant, it’s also about opening your eyes and giving you the tools that you need to charge more even if you’re just a newbie. Are you ready?

Here’s the key principle: The client will give you more money if you can give the solution to his problem. Sounds simple, right? But trust me, this principle eludes most people.

It’s not about the skills that you have.

It’s not about your cost of living, your nationality, or your experience.

If you can show to your client that you are the solution to his problem, then he will give you the money.

How can I say it? Because that’s how I’m closing high-ticket projects.

In a recent project, I ask the client to pay me 10x the amount of what is usually being paid to similar projects in Upwork. Did she object that I’m overpricing the project? Well, you decide. Here’s a screenshot of a Facebook status that she posted after closing our negotiation.

Instead of getting pissed that I’m asking a lot of money, she was thankful that I offer her my services.

How did I do it? Simple. I looked deeply into her problem, noting each detail, digging deeper and deeper, and then providing the solutions that she needs. That’s what I do – in a nutshell.

That’s how you can charge more even if you are just a newbie.

Now for the nitty-gritty details of how you can do it too. Just follow the tips that I will give below. But before we go to that, here are some caveats:

a. These tips can work whether you are working on Freelancing Platforms like Upwork or you are getting direct clients on Facebook.

b. I am writing on the assumption that you have already established the initial communication with your clients. It means that they have responded to your proposal in Upwork and regarding direct communication such as Facebook messenger, they are already in the process of considering your services.

With that caveats, let’s move on to the tips on how you can charge more even if you’re just a newbie.

1. Get Your Client into a Call

If you have been following my blog or even my Facebook page, then you probably know that I’m a great advocate of the principle that Freelancers are not employees, but online entrepreneurs.

With that mindset, then you should see yourself as co-equal of your clients. Therefore, you should never beg for them to give you jobs. And one way to affirm that co-equality is to schedule a call with them in order to discuss the details of the project.

The process of doing this looks something like this…

You: Hey, would you like to schedule a call with me so we can better discuss the project?

Client: Sure, why not. When?

You: I'm free by Monday, 7 pm CET. Is that alright with you?

Client: Alright. Let’s do it.

You: Ok. Talk to you on that day. Thanks!

Now, what if the client doesn't want to get on a call with you? Well, that's a clear sign that he's not worthy of your time. He doesn't acknowledge you as a co-equal, and he will just treat you as another employee.

Just politely end the conversation, then move on to find others. My friend, there are literally billions of people in the world.

Here’s how I did it with this client:

Here’s how I did it with another client in Upwork.

2. Take Control When Starting the Call

You get the client to a call, that’s good. Now, what you have to do is to take control of the call. You must be the one doing the interview and not the other way around.

Remember, you are the expert and the specialist, the client called you because they want solutions for their problem.

Think about this: When you go to a clinic as a patient, are you the one asking questions to the physician? See? That’s basically the same when doing a client call with a prospect.

Here’s how you do it: After 30 seconds to a minute of small talk, say something like this:

Alright Jake, let's get started. Before that, I want you to know that I'll be asking you a lot of questions about you and your business. This is to get a wider perspective of how we should approach the project. Some of this questions might be personal or some might sound nonsense, but believe me that it will give me the picture that I want to see. Is that alright with you?"

Wait for the client to say “Yes.” If not and instead the client started to display his dominance, then, just politely end the conversation, then move on to others.

3. During the Call, Focus on Knowing the Problem of Your Client

Remember this: You don’t have to prove anything during the call. You don’t have to show off by highlighting your achievements and experience (which you don’t have if you’re a newbie) or by displaying your wisdom by giving advice. Don’t do that.

There’s one thing that you need to focus on: What’s the pressing problem of my client?

That’s it. So ask a lot of questions. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What’s your specific reason why you schedule this call?
  • What’s the biggest challenge in your business right now?
  • How are you getting clients for your business?
  • What is the direction that you want to go to regarding your business?
  • How much does a lead worth to you?
  • If we end up working together and getting results, where do you see yourself six months from now?

After getting all the information that you need, you can now end the call. But before that, you need to inform the client of what will happen next.

You can just say, “Alright. After this call, I will draft a proposal along with my offer then I’ll send it to you.” Then, thank the client for his time and end the call.

4. Writing Your Proposal

Here’s the magic will happen. This is where you charge more for your Freelance jobs even if you are a newbie. Here’s where you can show off your expertise which you withhold during the call.

If you are using a Freelancing Platform like Upwork, I want to clarify that this proposal is different from what you sent to the client when applying for the project. This is the Proposal/Offer which must include the following:

  • Problems of the client as discussed with the call
  • Your proposed solutions and strategy to solve the problem
  • Timeline of the project
  • The amount that the client should pay you.

When creating this kind of proposal, I will advise you to get detailed as possible.

IMPORTANT! If you want to receive a template in crafting this type of proposal, you can sign up in this Google Form, and I will send it directly to your email address.

5. Quoting Your Price

If you do the job of providing a solid solution to the problems of your client, then he should be more than willing to give you the money that you will ask.

The rule of thumb that I used when it comes to quoting the price is to base the price on the possible amount of revenue that your client will generate because of your services.

So if through your services, the client can make $10,000, then don’t be afraid to ask for 5% to 10% of it. This principle can be discussed in a separate blog.

At this point, I believe I should tell you the reality that some skills can make more money than others. It must be obvious at first, but I need to say it so you won’t have unrealistic expectations.

For instance, a Data Entry job cannot earn thousands of dollar no matter how good your presentation is. Why? Because there are no technical and creative skills involve by just typing information into the database.

However, this technique is useful if you have skills such as writing, social media management, email marketing, and anything that is related to increasing the revenue of your clients.

To Charge More, Give More

I know that these tips might be entirely new for you. And you might be thinking, "Man, you're asking us to do a lot!" Well, yes, it will require you to make some effort on your part to think of solutions for the problems of the client.

And there's also the reality that not every customer will go with the project.

However, that's also the reality of life. Those people who give more, are the same individuals who receive more.

Whether the client will hire you or not, the important thing is you were able to add value to him.

Money is important, but some things are more essential than that.

Don’t be afraid to give. And that’s how you can charge more even if you’re just a newbie.

About the Author Rom Rulida

Rom Rulida is a CPA, University professor, and an aspiring motivational speaker. He is the founder of Team Infopreneur, a website that aims to help individuals to leverage their knowledge and information in order to create a lifestyle that is truly rewarding. He believes that the best way to succeed is through continuous personal development and growth. He loves to read and to share what he learns through his blogs. Rom’s vision is to help every person that he meets to become the best version of themselves by discovering their purpose and unleashing their potentials.

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