How to Charge Higher Rates and Get Them Elance | Freelancing
Before you read this post, I highly recommend that you begin with the first three posts of this series. Introduction: How To Create A Winning Bid on Elance.com
I rolled my sleeve back up and carefully, started crafting proposals for a single page of web copy, just like the “Big Boys” Want to know my price tag? A cool $1k, who cares? Waiting for responses was another obstacle I never know could crop up. Like a hungry man watching over a pot of water try to boil, I just wanted to do one thing—jump out a window!
Just when I was about to go barking hard…one by one, clients began contacting me, like a drizzle landing softly on a beautiful lily pad. A professional copywriter wrote this on his blog, “If I can make a cool $1k on a single page of web copy on Elance, at least, there are chances you can do the same!
In his reply, one client wrote this, “You have nice samples but your price is too high!”
This time round, I was also about to jump not just out of the window, but out of my skin too, though, for good reasons! I was getting feedback one after the other. This is how most messages read:
“Great samples, but price thing…nope!”
“Your work looks good, but your price is way up there!”
“I’d really like to hire you…but why price too much???”
Ad. Nauseam! Freakin’.
Each time I saw a new message drop in, I felt wet below! Am sorry, I felt like a queen from Hamlet –they were like sharp arrows that pierced my eyes.” But that still didn’t make sense then.
My pesky nature and drive to excel was quickly overshadowed with a sinking feeling and depression. Defeatist thoughts washed over me…
What thing in this world would make me think I could easily get away with charging sooo much? Then, I thought, “Maybe I should respond to these mails with lower offers, if at all I’m to work this week!”
Wait, NO, they’ll sense desperation and grind me to zero!
I remember to have considered throwing in the towel on Elance, altogether!
My experiment had just capsized, and it just seemed to me as though the prevailing wisdom of not being able to charge”realistic” prices on Elance was dead after all.
I felt as though I was greedy and that my judgment was gradually turning me into an arrogant SOB. OMG! What was I thinking?
I was just about to close my laptop and go clear my head when a new message dropped in. That was a split second of hope and glimmer inside me…before I just realized it was more of the same as the previous ones…Oh, God!
“You have impressive samples over there, Mary. But your price scares me. Sorry.”
To me, that was the straw that broke a camel’s back! It came at the wrong time, when I badly needed a project!
As if failing to boost my income wasn’t injury in itself, I had actually lost more resources puzzling around, asking for higher rates. I felt as though I was a failure and that I had just hit my dead end. But then, I couldn’t help but notice a strange thing with this last message…in fact, almost all of them were. Can see spot it? Try to look closely.
All these rejections had compliments in them. That was weird, no! All these clients clearly admired my work to leave a message. I’d struck a chord with them.
And yet, not one of them would consider paying that premium price by hiring me? I knew in the back of my mind that I was missing something and there was just one way of finding out…
I signed in to Elance and sent the following message to that last client:
“What makes you think my rates are exaggerated?”
In less than a moment, he replied, “I tend to have a problem with your hourly rate. Your profile clearly states you charge $75/hour. In other words, you’re trying to say that you’d be billing me for a staggering 13 hours of work. I’m not sure it would take you that long to handle one page of web copy???”
I immediately wrapped my brain around before immediately realizing what was happening here!
Instead of looking at the total price I was quoting, almost all of these bounced clients—and this last one—seemed to be anchored on my hourly rate on my profile. I’m sure they didn’t notice the word minimum hourly rate.
(I used the word “anchoring” above. This is a real psychological effect. Try to Google it and use the scenarios provided against mine and see how it shapes human judgment.)
In simpler terms, these clients did not view my #$1k price tag as one thousand dollars. They instead saw it as 13 hours of Copywriting and honestly, that seemed too long to take for a single page of web copy.
I thought, “How about removing my hourly rate from my Elance profile entirely? I thought since there was not an hourly fee for these clients to mentally anchor their projects to, it could not work against me.
I went through a series of calculations and started to wonder whether I could actually make this anchoring effect work in my favor, instead.