October 1, 2020
The question of whether freelancers and writers should lower their freelance rates or take lower-paying assignments during this pandemic was posed to me by a freelance online writing course student of mine. She said that some potential clients balked at her rates when she was pitching ideas, applying to freelance jobs and marketing her freelance services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Should I lower my freelance rates due to COVID?” she asked. In short, my answer to her was, “If you feel you need to lower your freelance rates right now because you need the money and work, then mention that to the client that this is lower than your usual rate and you’d like to revisit the rate after working for them for a few months.”
I also mentioned that my lowest-paying clients tended to be the biggest pains in the butts. Not all of them, but it’s something to be mindful of. If a client questions your worth and value now based on your freelance rates, I have found through past experiences they tend to be a lot harder to work with in general.
It’s no secret that many of us have lost a lot of work from freelance clients and some freelancers have lost all of their freelance journalism jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. While some of that work may be on pause until companies are able to financially recover, it’s hard to say whether those companies will still have the budgets to allocate to writing and content marketing once they are back up and running.
So to answer the question of whether you should lower your freelance rates during the pandemic, and whether I’m taking on lower-paying assignments at this time, I say, “It depends.”
If you need the money to pay your rent or mortgage, put food on the table, pay utilities and health insurance and these lower-rate assignments are the only money you have coming in right now, then yes, you probably should take on some of that work. Although if you need money that quickly, I think you’d be better off taking an essential worker job to get income in your bank account weekly. (And that’s totally okay! It doesn’t mean you’re done with writing forever.)
But, I suggest you don’t dedicate 40 hours a week to lower-paying freelance assignments due to COVID-19.
Make sure you’re still spending time finding higher-paying clients, reconnecting with previous clients, reaching out to former coworkers, and getting yourself primed and ready for the economy to turn around. (Here’s how to maximize productivity while working from home.)
Previous to this pandemic, I would tell freelance coaching clients and online course students that it’s occasionally okay to take on lower-paying freelance work. I suggest that freelancers take on lower-rate assignments when it fits any of the following parameters:
Remember, the more time you spend writing and working for a lower rate than you’d like to get, the less time you’ll have to find higher-paying, high-value clients.
Here is information on financial resources available to freelancers and writers during the coronavirus:
Government Relief for Freelancers
Resources for Writers in the Time of Coronavirus
How to Keep Writing and Making Money During the Coronavirus
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