Learning how to negotiate freelance rates and chase the worth you deserve is a must for every freelancer.

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In fact, it’s part of the business. Effective negotiation is a skill that will bring you financial and professional growth. Negotiation helps build healthier relationships between you and your clients. Your ability to communicate your value and your skills shows how comfortable you are with them.

If you find it hard to negotiate with your clients, then it’s time to change that mindset.

Why should you negotiate?

Negotiating shows that you know your worth. It means that you’re comfortable and confident with your skills. It will also give you an edge on your next gigs because your current rate will likely dictate your future offers.

Most importantly, you wouldn’t get a raise if you wouldn’t ask for it.

When to ask for a raise

Timing is everything. It’s important to know first if your time has come to raise your rates. Here are the signs that you should ask for an increase.

Upgraded skills and experiences

Upgrading your skills ensure that you are providing high-quality services to your clients. When the value of your work goes up, your pay should also be in sync with it.

You also need to consider the experiences you have accumulated over time.  What you learned along the way also contributes to the quality of work you produce for your clients. This also opens other opportunities for you and your client to work on other projects in the future, and even get recommended to their network.

Notable performance and milestones for the client

A good way to analyze your performance is by looking at the feedback you receive. You can also check the milestones you brought to your client’s business. Did the sales increase because of your awesome strategies? Did the website gain more traffic? Or did your articles go viral?

Turning down new gigs

Are you rejecting high-paying clients to focus on your existing projects? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to renegotiate your rates with your current client. Attracting high-paying jobs means your value is increasing.

If your employer loves working with you, he’ll be more than happy to keep you and recognize your worth.

Your rate is lower than other freelancers

This is the mother of all signs. If you see fellow freelancers with the same tasks but are earning more, then you are underpaid.

How to ask for a raise

Price vs. Value

Keep in mind that it’s all about how you communicate your message. Even the purest intentions can turn disastrous if handled incorrectly.

Make sure that you keep it professional if you want to get what you think you deserve.

Value-based pricing is the best approach

When you negotiate, focus on the value and high-quality services you give to your clients.

While it’s easy to tell your client that you’ve got bills to pay, doing so would make it seem that you’re just in it for the money. Instead, focus on your desire to improve the process and bring your plans into action.

Transparency is the key, and communicating your value is the best way to get the rate that you want.

Don’t be afraid to share new ideas that can help the business. If you came up with a strategy that can boost sales or leads, inform your client. If you think a process can be improved, share your thoughts. This way, your client will know that you are not only investing in yourself but also in the business.

Show your achievements

It’s best to back up your proposal with the work you’ve done and its results. It can be a higher website traffic or gaining more loyal readers.

Choose your channel wisely

If you’re more confident to negotiate via video call, set a time for it. If writing it down makes you more comfortable, then send your client an email. Whichever channel you choose, keep in mind that you have to sound and appear professional. Be polite, and explain your side with clarity.

Consider asking for other benefits

While a raise sounds great, you can ask for other benefits that can improve your skills. You can ask for unlimited access to e-books, an online course, or permission to use premium tools. This kind of benefits will sharpen your expertise and add rich value to your profile.

Tips for improving your negotiation skills

  • Make it an annual habit to do a self-inventory and review your business. Analyze your growth and improvement, then raise your rate based on your observation.
  • Don’t forget to tweak your profile. Update your portfolio, showcase your achievements, and add the skills you learned. This way, your new clients will easily understand your rate and value.
  • Determine your minimum rate. Set the lowest amount you can work with and stick with it. This will make negotiating easier
  • Ask for your client’s budget. It will paint a clear picture about your employer’s financial position if he can afford your rate or not.
  • Charge the extra work. Notice how phone plans add extra price when you ask for additional features? You can do that, too. This will prevent work overload. Some clients like to give heaps of tasks without paying more.
  • Build your value and trust. Improve your craft and deliver what you promised. This will earn you recommendations, and clients won’t question your rates.
  • Just ask for it. Talk to your client. Yes, it can be scary, especially if it’s your first time. There’s a chance that you’ll get a rejection, but hey, at least you said it. It’s better than resenting your client in silence or being unhappy in your job.
  • Know when to walk away. If all the efforts aren’t working and your client doesn’t see your worth, then it’s time to leave. Make sure to exit politely. Then pick yourself up and look for other clients that will value your worth.

No one will pay you what you think you are worth. But the good thing is, you can always learn how to ask for it.

Do you have more tips to share on how to negotiate for your worth? Share it below.

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Rose Tornandeso is a freelance writer from Manila, Philippines. She spends her time as the Editor and Content Creator for NextStep Hub. When she's not chasing deadlines, she visits art galleries, writes fictions, and plays legos with her son.