Unless you’re lucky, at some point in your freelancing career you’re going to have to ask for a raise in your pay. It’s something most of us can find off-putting, but why should we? If you worked a normal job it would be par for the course to request a raise (even if you thought you’d never get it), so why should it be different for freelancers?
There might be a number of reasons for wanting more cash, whether it be because the job has gotten bigger or that you took the job when you started out – there’s nothing wrong with asking for fair pay.
Prepare From The Start
The simplest way to get your raise is by doing a great job in the first place. In some cases you might ask for an increase and get it because you’ve already proven your worth. If you’re lucky enough to have a client like that then the rest of this piece won’t be much help to you.
Of course, as a good freelancer, you’ll be doing your best work throughout but what else can you do? If you can, without being creepy, become familiar with your client then that will help. While I’m not suggesting you aim to become best of friends and go on a drinking tour of Europe together – although that probably would help – I am saying that being on more friendlier terms than just business ones will do you wonders.
This all comes down to judgement though. If you only communicate through email, it’s hard to get a good fix on someone’s personality. Make the wrong joke or comment and your plan is scuppered from the off. Luckily, in this case, the internet makes a bit of light stalking accessible to anyone. Have a look at your clients’ social profiles, see what they’re into and what they’re like and discover if you’ve got something in common that you can drop into conversation.
A client is more likely to up your pay if they like you as a person. Are they into poorly-made taxidermy as much as you are? Mention it.
So, you’re best friends with your client and after your European drinking tour of taxidermy museums, you ask for a raise. Unfortunately, they’re still not convinced. They’re going to need more than shared interests, so how do you convince them?
It’s all about facts and figures in the end. Demonstrate to them how much work you have done, the time and effort you’ve put in, and best of all, the benefits you have brought your client. If you can cite how your copy improved clickthrough rate by 23% or how your website redesign improved sales by 33% then put that in a graph and show them. Show how you’re not just good at what you do but how valuable you are to them. You are asking for more money and you need to prove it makes sense for your client to increase their spend on you.
Dealing With A Firm No
In the end though, even if you’re planning a new taxidermy drinking tour around the Urals, you might still be getting a straightforward “no”. In this unfortunate situation there’s only one rule – don’t get angry and insulting. Going into a hissy fit is going to do you no favours and might even harm your reputation. You just have to make a choice: do you stay or go? Take your pick and stay civil.
Which you choose will be entirely down to your situation. If you’re struggling to pay your rent it’ll probably be worth taking what you can, whereas if another much higher paid new job comes along, you might be more easily inclined to leave your old one. Whatever the situation, weigh up your pros and cons like you would everything else. Just avoid making snap decisions because you’re not getting your way. There’s very few fans of bad taxidermy in this world.
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