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Chapter
1

Understand the Pollen approach to pricing

One of the big benefits of freelancing is the freedom and flexibility to set your own rates — but in order to make your business successful, you’ll want to establish a rate that allows it to flourish. Unfortunately, knowing how much to charge isn’t always the most straightforward process. 

Many freelancers use different ways of pricing their services — including hourly rates or project rates. Some freelancers use more complex, value-based pricing strategies. Knowing all of your options can help you establish the right rate strategy for you.  

The Pollen approach to pricing 

We believe in a holistic approach to setting your rates—it shouldn’t be arbitrary. Your rate should be a number that takes into account a variety of factors around your experience and future business goals. Keep in mind that charging a higher rate doesn’t always go against your client’s needs — you need to set a price that keeps you focused and energized on your work. 

The purpose of this playbook is to help you understand all the factors that go into creating your own freelance rate, and will walk you through calculating your most effective unique hourly rate. 

Understand your pricing options 

There are many factors that go into how much you should charge as a freelancer, including:‍

  • Where you live

  • Your target clients 

  • How much experience you have

  • Your industry or market 

  • What your competitors are charging

  • How specialized your skills or niche is

  • Your expenses 

Setting the right rate is a balancing act — if you set your prices too low, you may not get the compensation you deserve. But if you set your prices too high, you may get passed over for someone charging less. While it’s important to have a baseline rate, setting your hourly rate is something you’ll need to revisit throughout your freelancing career, as the value you bring or the market conditions may change. 

Think big picture & start researching

Soon we’ll dive deeper into the nitty-gritty of determining your rates, but before we start, think big-picture about your current financial goals and what you want to accomplish as a freelancer. If you already have an annual number in mind, great! If not, no worries—this playbook is designed to bring you some clarity. It may help to do a bit of preliminary research to understand how much others are willing to pay for services like yours. Use the workbook to begin keeping track of what your research turns up. Freelance job websites like Upwork list out how much other freelancers bill for services, and there are many freelance community groups you can join online within your niche to compare rates. You can also reach out to friends or others in your network to understand what they’re charging. Make sure to take into account your own experience, skillset, and portfolio when comparing pricing.

You may see a wide range of prices for your services, and while this may feel overwhelming, don’t worry! Preliminary research is just that — preliminary. It’s designed to help you get a feel for what’s out there and see if what you charge is in line with what others are charging.‍

This kind of research will begin to help you find your unique number that works for your life and your set of skills. 

Ask yourself these questions before you start

Here are a couple of overarching questions to get you thinking about your potential pricing before we dive in. Use your workbook to write down your thoughts. 

  1. How much money do I need to support my current lifestyle? 

  2. What are some of my financial goals? 

  3. How much money would I make if I did this full-time?

  4. How much value do I bring to a client? ‍

Recap

  • You learned about the various factors that go into pricing options.

  • You researched what other freelancers are charging based on various factors. 

  • You brainstormed answers about your ideas on potential freelance pricing.

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