When I first began freelance writing I was happy to earn money way possible. I was working full-time in a cubicle job and earning money to write was exciting. After about a year I decided to begin freelancing full-time, so accepting payments per project, per word, or per hour were all necessary. I gleefully downloaded the Elance and Odesk time recording software programs and took on jobs offering all types of payments.
My aversion to hourly payments began about a year and a half into my freelance writing career. I continued to do it and to this day I am still willing to do it for the right client. However, I avoid it whenever possible and I frequently work with clients to convince them hourly payments are a bad idea for both of us.
It was blogs just like mine that opened my eyes to the downside of hourly payments. I read something that really stuck with me, though I don’t remember the exact blog it came from:
People and businesses paying hourly rates for freelance work are paying more for inefficiency.
I have always been fast. I was usually the first kid in class finished with a test. The other night I finished dinner and painted my nails before my husband was halfway through his first serving (he’s a slow eater, so it wasn’t all my doing). Part of my speed is due to impatience and part of it is due to working efficiently. Sometimes I just get bored with things, so I need to rush through them before my interest wears off. This is the downside of working fast because it means I have to work hard to stay focused on details. However, even when I slow down a little to notice details, I’m still efficient and I still get things done.
So when I read the post about earning more money by being inefficient, it bothered me. If I could produce the same or better results in a shorter period of time, my clients would be happier and I should not be earning less than someone who takes a long time. However, with hourly rates, I would earn less.
Your Business, Your Choice
Do you feel the same way? Unless you are freelance writing for the fun of it, you probably should. The more efficiently you work the faster you can move onto new projects. Managing your time is an important part of owning and growing a business. As you gain experience, you will work faster because you have a better idea what to expect. Shouldn’t this make it possible to earn more, as opposed to less?
Now when I encounter clients requesting hourly work, I guide them toward per project or per word rates. Obviously, I don’t do this by telling them I can make more money. I point out the benefits they enjoy by paying me per project instead of hour. On Wednesday, I’ll share a few ideas you can use to guide your clients toward per project rates.