Do you track both your income from writing and how much time you put into it? If you do, do you have a minimum hourly rate that you target?
I cast and interpret Astrology charts, and it is hard to decide how much to charge. I spend about 10 hours on a chart, so think $10 an hour is fair, but most people don't understand how much work it entails, and so I charge a little less than that. I don't do that from here, my following comes from my blog.
The same for Tarot readings, those are quick and I can write up an interpretation and spend an hour on it, so I charge a flat fee of $25.00 for that, the same as I would get reading out of a business (though I would usually get a tip in a business setting). If the person wants more info, I charge for another reading. I don't know if that helps you, but I hope it does. Best wishes.
Hi Jean: I have been to a few psychics in the Atlanta area that use cards or what ever to predict your future. They charge $85.00 per hour here. I don't know your market, but you might be able to up your pricing model for the tarot card readings. Astrological charts may bring more in my area; it's a long time since my friend had one done. Seems like it was $85.00 20 years ago.
The market has changed a lot in the NJ/NY area. Fifteen years ago I could have charged $125.00 for an Astrology chart, now people balk at $85.00. Tarot readings go for $25.00 for 15 minutes and $50.00 for a half hour, and usually you charge more per minute if the person keeps asking questions. But then they get crabby when it comes time to pay, even though they come into the readings knowing the terms.
Online it's a little harder. Some people really make a mess out of my PayPal account, I guess they never used it before. I have longer to think about online readings, so I like that. But I also put more time into them too. Also, there seems to be a conservative trend in my area, and some people seem to think Tarot cards are "tools of the devil" and used to cast spells. This is strange, as it's a liberal area. They are used to help a person reach their higher self, and only for readings to find the best for the person. I try to send them away feeling more positive about their future possibilities.
But I will think about raising my rates! Thanks.
A good hourly rate is whatever you require to make a living wage for where you live.
Since my clients are diverse and no two pieces seem to take exactly the same amount of research or time to write, I gave up on trying to figure out how much I earned per hour except as a yearly average. It's also complicated by the fact that I write for pleasure and self-expression as well as for profit and for charity and don't track what I write for my own enjoyment. That wouldn't confuse things except that I started posting some of what I wrote for enjoyment, catharsis, or self-expression online about nine years ago and it developed into its own income stream.
Instead, I shoot for at least ten cents per word and enough words per month to reach a monthly minimum amount. Some months I make it, other months I don't. I may work twice as many hours in a month wherein I don't reach my minimum as in a month wherein I greatly surpass it.
I haven't figured out how to make freelancing pay uniformly. If you do, you can make a fortune selling your secret.
I do track my income to some extent, as I published an e-book on Amazon some time ago. The return for the many hours that I spent writing was minimal - but I write for pleasure and it was a thrill to publish for the first time. I eventually unpublished when I was no longer getting monthly sales.
Your question does not make clear whether you are looking at income from Hubpages, own web sites, etc or income from paying clients. If the latter, I would absolutely look at per word rates (or rates per 1000 words as these are often used), because these give the client an upfront figure to work with and protect you from arguments about whether the x hours you billed justified the end result. The ratio between the per word rate you charge and the hourly rate you earn will obviously vary due to personal factors that affect your efficacy, familiarity with the topic, amount of research required etc. I face similar issues as a translator and find it really is a matter of you lose some and you win some, but as long as the overall income makes me feel happy that I chose this way of life rather than being a wage slave then all is good.
As far as per word rates go, if I wished to consider writing as a serious source of income, I would be looking at my ability to achieve rates matching those cited by professional associations of journalists in my country. As I'm in the UK, I'd look at the freelance rates recommended by the National Union of Journalists. They suggest, for example, that you should be aiming at getting approximately £160 per day (approx. US$ 250) and break that down to £250-375 per 1000 words (approx. $430-550 per 1000 words), depending on the amount of research required.
I must say I find it surprising that they imply it takes 1.5 to 2 days to produce 1000 words of original text. However, the suggested daily income of £160 ($250) is about the minimum I expect to earn for a fair day's work translating, There are days I don't reach it because of various glitches and difficulties, but these are balanced by other days when I earn 50-100% more because the work is easy and output is mainly limited by my typing speed.
Regarding the OP - I consider that if I spend a day researching and writing an article, and it earns $200.00 through Amazon sales over 4 months; that was a good days work. Especially if it continues to earn for years to come.
Must remember that a lot of writing in English is done in India. So the competition is enormous. Still, the rate one charges is accorded to one's reputation and references. And that is built slowly.
When I do freelance work I do not just look at the rate per word - I look at what it is that I feel I can earn per hour.
Someone may offer me $75 or even more for a specialized article that may take me 5 to 6 hours to research and write so maybe I will earn $12-$15 per hour. These articles are also harder to find and can take some time to apply for and win the contract.
Some of the other work that I get pays just 2c a word but is so easy that I can earn $20 - $25 an hour without any stress or real research. These articles are also far easier to find and work can be very regular. That being said it can also be mind numbingly boring.........
Freelance writing is great if you need extra cash in a hurry or a little extra every month........ It is surprising how much you can really earn doing it... Certainly when I have needed to I have been able to earn a few thousand bucks a month.... I am doing one contract now that will earn me $750 and it will take me the next 3-4 days, around $30 an hour if I get my nose down...
Meanwhile, the pages that I put on my own sites will earn anything from 25c a month UPWARDS in adsense or affiliate sales and I do stress the upwards. The money that I earn through these sites is now enough for me to work full time online from home and enjoy a reasonable standard of living.
Excellent points. I also look at the average hourly rate because some projects produce more per hour and others produce less.
If I fill 30 hours a week at $30 an hour, I don't mind working another 10 hours even if I get $5 an hour. I'll take $5 at the end of a week rather than nothing at all, especially if it leads me to other projects.
Yes I do work out the hourly rate and I think it's something all writers should do. It's the main reason I no longer write on HubPages or any other online site, because it simply doesn't give me the hourly rate I need, even if I take into account long term earnings. It used to, and my old articles are still earning, but new articles don't.
I noticed some claiming that writers from India and other locations are driving down rates. I disagree. As a person who is a full time freelancer, I normally work for bare minimum $24 per hour. I am a fast writer, so I try to charge per word instead of hourly.
I don't believe it is outside writer driving down rates, it is uninformed freelancers who are. I just wrote a blog post about why you will not find me on Fiverr for that exact reason: Just see it at lancerlife . com
It is all about finding a steady client base and providing valuable material. I have had no issues keeping busy, and getting the pay I deserve.
I have hired many freelancers from other countries, and they often are willing to accept below minimum wage because minimum wage in their countries is a great rate there. I've even had people in the U.S. bid on projects at $3-5 an hour.
That said, there are connections between quality, expertise and hourly rate.
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