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I Increased My Blogging Rates

Discussion in 'Blogging & Content Marketing' started by Kevin Muldoon, Jul 22, 2014.

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  1. We have been discussing the issue of blogging rates over the last few weeks. We have also touched upon the issue of managing multiple clients effectively. I know we have some other freelance bloggers here, so I want to share with you my current situation about my rates :)

    Over the last few months, I had to turn down some clients as I did not have time to do work for them. In June I was approached by some new clients. Since I was no longer training for marathons (due to injury), I had more time to work. I therefore took on those additional clients.

    From an income point of view, it's obviously good to generate extra income by taking on extra work. Unfortunately, it has not worked out as well as I had hoped.

    I have been working seven days a week in order to maintain the schedule. One of the articles last week took three days to complete when I initially thought it would take a day and a half. And it still requires more edits to be complete.

    With my girlfriend returning to the UK, I cannot work seven days per week; nor do I want to. I need at least the weekend off to relax and recharge my batteries. My blog has suffered because of this schedule too. I had hoped that I could have used the extra income to hire some bloggers, but I have been so busy that I've not been able to search for one. The income through my blog should increase once I start writing for it more often.

    For around ten years, I usually worked full on from Monday to Thursday, worked a few hours on a Friday, and took Saturday and Sunday off. That is something I want to return to. I want to reduce my freelancing from seven days a week to three (four at most). This gives me a day or two to write articles for my blog and hang out here a bit more too.

    To achieve this, I am increasing my rate from $0.15 to $0.20 per word for all clients. This was not something that I wanted to do so soon, but all new clients have requested that I contribute one or two articles per week and I simply cannot do it. It will automatically increase my income by a third for articles I write.

    My hope is that increasing my rates will lose me some clients. It's quite a unique position I am in that I am trying to get rid of some clients.

    I am excited about decreasing my work for others and spending more time on my own blog. This will reduce the time I am spending emailing clients about work too; which can be quite time consuming.

    I still need to speak to all clients about my new rate. I could be in a position where no existing clients want to pay me the new rate or that all clients do (with the latter - I would have to just apologise and part ways). Another new client has already been taken on at the new rate, so I don't think everyone will reject it.

    I will let you all know how clients respond to this issue :)

    Kevin
     
    Brian Jackson likes this.
  2. Keep us posted as to how it goes. How long are your average posts at that rate? Do the clients often set word limits?

    My posts are usually in the 1500 to 2000 word range but most of them are still on the per post basis rather than per word. I always feel a bit guilty if a post goes long when I'm getting paid per word.

    If you get any clients who say no, feel free to send them my way at $0.15 a word!

    I know how you feel about freelance writing take over your life and some posts turning into monsters that never get finished.

    If I could get down to 50/50 freelance writing and my own projects I would be very pleased. At the moment its more like 90/10.

    Good luck.

    Also, have you thought any more about hiring ghost writers? There seems to be a lot more WordPress bloggers writing at the moment then there was a few months ago. Even if you just take one on you could save some time and still earn some money.
     
  3. @Kevin Muldoon If I was in the same position I would consider farming some of the work out like @Joe F says.

    Perhaps keep your long standing gigs because they will likely know your style and you already have a relationship with them. But, if you get approached by a new client maybe just take on the job and sub-contract it out to someone else to do.

    This way you will have extra income coming through while doing very little work on the project. Maybe charge the 15/20c per word and keep about 30% for yourself. The ghost writer will still appreciate getting a project that they would never have been considered for anyway.
     
  4. I now have one new client who has agreed to the new rate and the other new client has advised that they are discussing the issue with their team and will let me know soon. I will need to speak to my other regular clients within the next week. I want to wait until I have finished the existing articles I have scheduled for them before I do so. I will be sure to keep you in mind Joe.

    I am still unsure how ghost writing would work. I think it would be difficult to find a writer who would work at 6 cents per word and still submit great articles. Perhaps I could give them guidelines and recommendations etc, but in the end I could be better spending my time writing something myself.

    I guess the thing that is putting me off is the transition. If I do lose a few clients, I may be able to spend some time setting something like this up. As the administration time will increase, particularly if the submissions are poor.

    Also, it raises other types of problems:
    • What if a ghost writer is late with their submission?
    • What is the ghost writer submits the article on the last day, but then you find out the quality is poor. You would have to write it from scratch yourself.
    • What if a ghost writer doesn't email you back for a few days because they were sick. Does that mean you will have to complete their articles for them?
    • What if you wrote an article for a client from scratch because the ghost writer was sick, but the ghost writer had actually written most of the article already - Should they get compensated for an article that they did not submit.
    Most of these issues can be addressed by working with a good writer, however I envision there being a lot of headaches in the beginning.

    At the moment, I can ensure that the articles I deliver are always good and I can ensure they always deliver on time. Plus, I can invest income back into my blog. For me, outside of freelancing, my main focus is my personal blog and Rise Forums.

    I am not someone who is scared to take risks, but when I consider launching a writing service or hiring ghost writers, all I can see is the problems that could arise. It's because I don't have experience in this area. I have worked with bloggers for many years, but there is a big difference in quality in the articles I accept for my websites and the one I deliver to clients.

    @Mark McCann I think you are 100% right that it could be better to do this for new clients. I could even be up front about it from the start. Perhaps the best way for me to handle this would be to launch the writing service as a separate entity and continue freelancing myself in the mean time. Then, once I have ironed out all the problems associated with ghost writing etc, I could offer the service to my current clients.
     
  5. @Kevin Muldoon It's always hard to take the plunge and delegate things to other people.

    It's not exactly the same issue as you face but I had a similar problem a couple of years ago when i hired an assistant to help me with all of my admin. It was actually a big learning curve for me at the time and it actually took about 9 months and 3 PA's to get it right. Now I could never go back to working on my own.

    My income also increased as well. My gross income actually doubled but then 50% of the increase went to pay the PA. That still worked as I earned a lot more money and I was also able to spend more of my time on actual "Dollar Productive" tasks instead of doing lots of admin which is necessary but not high income producing.

    In your instance I would give it a go with one client. Just pick a new client and see how it goes. They don't really have an expectation of what you would produce or how you are to work with. If you have 10 days to produce the article then you tell your ghost writer that they only have 5 days to write the article. This way if they don't finish in time you still have some extra time up your sleeve to write the article yourself. If they do finish on time you still have plenty of time to check and make any changes to give it the final polish.

    Also, I would suggest you give them 70% of the money and you keep around 30%. This way you are paying a bit more and you should get someone who is capable of writing better copy. If you keep the lions share of the money then the ghost writer may not give their best and therefore you may end up having to spend more of your time micro managing them and you may not be happy with what they produce.
     
  6. Yeah I definitely need to look into hiring more staff. Without doubt. It is something I have kept putting in the back burner as I have been busy.

    I know that once I am in a position to step back from freelancing and have a good budget every month, I can develop some profitable websites fairly quickly. I did it for years and know what I need to do. I just want to increase my income from other sources first so that I can do it financially.

    I'll let you know how it all goes. As the traffic to my personal blog grows, income should increase too. I want that to be the hub of most of my online activity.

    I'd love to know more about your personal assistants. What tasks do you assign to them? Do they handle all emails and administrative jobs?
     
  7. @Kevin Muldoon

    I think I'm in a different boat to most users on this forum. I work offline for my income. I list and sell houses and only want the website to try and raise my profile in my area and therefore hopefully I will get people calling me when they want to sell their house because I'm seen as an active professional in my area.

    I've been in the industry for close to a decade and most of that time I was working on my own. I've always worked within a brand but I still had to do pretty much everything by myself. In my industry this would be things like:
    • Prospecting on the phone
    • Meeting people at their home and listing their property
    • Meeting buyers at properties and trying to getting them to buy the property
    • Negotiating deals between buyer and seller and also ensuring that once agreed both parties continue with the sale
    The above are things that I would classify as income producing. Each of those activities is something that only I can do in my business and it's where the money comes from.

    Other things which are also necessary but not specifically income producing:
    • Going to a property with a photographer and taking pictures of the house for marketing purposes
    • Writing marketing copy for the websites, print media etc.
    • Writing and posting marketing letters
    • Preparing reports to take on my listing appointments
    • Organising my database and ensuring everything is up to date
    • Meeting building inspectors at a property so they can do a report on the quality and any issues a home may have
    • More recently I've also started writing blog posts for my website.
    This is just some of the necessary things that go on on a daily basis and are generally done by the agent.

    As of almost 2 years ago I decided to hire someone to take over all the things on the bottom list and concentrate specifically on the top list myself. This makes me much more effective in generating and converting business because I can ensure that at the point of the client making a decision I am fully present and available.

    I don't know that this is exactly relevant for yourself but I'm sure you could think of a way to translate it to your business. Think of what you need to be doing to generate an income and what you can pass on to someone else.

    I'm a member at elegant themes and have been for many years. Nick seems to be running a great business and I'm sure he's making a lot of money but, I'm not sure how much time he actually spends in the business himself. He originally would have started out doing everything himself but throughout the years he has hired other professionals to design, code, market etc... This way he can take a holistic overview of his business and just do the things that are necessary for him and have people like yourself do things to increase the awareness of the business and therefore the income of business.

    Yes, he will have to share the income out between the other people in the business but I'm sure he will be making more money now even though he is employing lots of people, than he would have been making 5 years ago. And to be honest, I think his designs are getting better through time, and a year ago he didn't even really have a blog. He would only post his new themes and theme previews. Now, I check the site every day to see what the blog post is about to see if it's something I can benefit from.

    The most important thing in scaling a business is leverage which we get from delegating. If you don't learn how to delegate then you can never grow beyond a certain level as there are only so many hours in a day :D
     
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  8. Great post Mark. You are 100% right.

    I need to sit down and think about what I do that only I can do and what I do that others could help me with. When I break everything down, I realise that almost everything I do could be done by other people. What I should be doing is overseeing everything and ensuring it ticks over.

    I could hire people to help me:
    • Write articles
    • Build small content websites for me
    • Answer emails
    • Resolve technical issues
    The same principles could be applied to Rise Forums to help us expand. I have a lot of interesting ideas on how to do that :)

    One thing I was considering was hiring my girlfriend to handle some of my emails. The problem is that it would take some time to train her up and explain to her what needs done etc. Email is manageable at the moment but if I started getting too many emails, I could hire someone or adopt a ticket support system.

    You are right about scaling. In my current situation, there is only so far I can increase my income because everything is dependent on me And there is only one of me. I would happily half my income if it meant reducing my working hours considerably.
     
  9. Ah, but what if you could double or triple your income and reduce your hours. That's the goal mate.

    I was thinking that you are spending a lot of time on this site replying to posts and that would be very time consuming for you. Maybe at some point you can then get someone to take over the reigns and you can spend a lot less time on here. Don't get me wrong, I love it that you reply and give advice. I just think that you must be sucking up a lot of your time on this forum.

    Yes, it will take time to train your girlfriend to help you and you may lose income for a few weeks while she learns the ropes but once she knows what to do you will be so much happier. As the old saying goes, 1 step backward 3 steps forward...or something like that.
     
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  10. In the long term, that is something I obviously need to do. A quick look at the member list shows that I currently have 1,700 posts.

    I am trying to check all threads and respond to any questions that have not been answered etc. Forums are different. They need a more hands on approach at the beginning, particularly in this forum as I have wanted to set the tone of the forum.

    It is amazing how the owners of a forum can influence the environment of the forum by the rules they set and the way they deal with members. I am quite lucky that we have had good members sign up who have it in their nature to help others. I really didn't want a dog eat dog environment that is prevalent on other forums.

    At the moment, there are no moderators on the forum. That is something I will bring in later once it becomes too much for me.

    One thing I have been thinking about is hiring a news poster. Someone who can share relevant news and generate good discussions.

    Another thing I would love to do is hire technical people to provide support. Take WordPress, for example. Most of us use WordPress to build content websites. It would be great to have someone technical who can provide support to members on more technical issues.

    Regardless of who I hire or how I structure the website, I will still be active here when I can. I enjoy posting here. It's good chatting with fellow website owners and I get a lot of good ideas by looking at what others are going. And perhaps more importantly, how they are doing it.
     
  11. For your site one quick thing you could out source would be hitting someone to format and add images to your posts. For me this task adds quite a bit of time to the job of writing a new post.
     
  12. My girlfriend already does that for the list posts on my blog. But I could get her to help with images with other articles too.

    In general, I tend to use screenshots as I do a lot of reviews.
     
  13. I like the fact that you are on here a lot. It makes me feel valued. I've been on other forums and you can post something and not get a reply for days/weeks and then generally don't go back.

    I've also read through the warrior forums in the past and didn't really feel like anyone was there to help, just there to try and sell their products. Which is fine if that's their business but I think there's more chance of making money if you help people first and then offer them products.

    Also, @Brian Jackson has been really helpful too.

    When I get the time I'll sign up as a member to support your site. Just on a quick lunch break at the moment.
     
  14. Thanks Mark. The difficult task will be for us to retain a helpful and friendly environment once the forum grows. I am sure we will be able to do it if we can keep attracting good members :)
     
  15. I agree, Kevin, that you're doing a great job of setting a warm, friendly tone here, and that you have so many friendly members posting as well. That's the biggest thing that drew me in.

    So how is it going with the rate increase, or is it too early to tell? That seems like a wise decision.
     
  16. It's too early to say. I have a few clients on the new rate, but I still need to speak to my older clients.

    One scenario is that many clients turn down my new rates. This could actually be the best situation for me as it would free up a lot of time for me to write more articles for my own blog and oversee everything better. I should have a better picture of everything in a week :)
     
  17. I hope it works out that way. I bet it will.
     
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
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