“Time is money” is a saying most people have probably heard. It’s something I’ve found to be true over and over again. And now that I’m freelancing, I’ve kept it in mind nearly every day.
Most of my clients pay per word or per project, only one pays an hourly rate. (They pay well, too, but it’s pretty sporadic.) To track how much time I spend on a project, article or story, I use Toggl. I’m using it now to track how much time I spend writing this blog post, too. It’s all career-connected, right?
One of the most recent stories I finished probably set a personal record. It was about the 50th anniversary of a Colorado municipality. Since the records were from 1969, there were very few facts to find online. Naturally. So I had to do a lot of leg work, visiting the local library to spend about an hour and a half trying to see old newspaper stories on microfilm (those who have done research using this format know it’s not a fun time!), historical society (which turned out to be closed on the day I thought I had an appointment to review records) and the county archivist office (which was a very good source).
I’m not complaining, though, since I love these types of stories. Digging into history and finding out what was going on at the time and how people were living is something I enjoy. But when I totaled up the time involved — more than 16 hours — it was kind of discouraging from a time-and-money view.
This client pays per word, a fairly decent rate, and they do allow me to write longer than the assignment, if needed. My writing also seems to be much appreciated. But if I look at it from an employee standpoint, what I earned from this story doesn’t really measure up.
As part of this freelance journey, I realize not every client I agree to work with will pay the kind of money I’d like to earn. You know, you do a project because you have a personal interest in the subject, company or owners or believe it can lead to more — and hopefully more lucrative — projects down the road.
I want to continue to work with this client for the reasons I mentioned and know they are not likely in a financial position to afford a rate hike on my part. I have read advice about asking for more money by stressing your strengths and what you bring to the table to show your worth. Just like a job interview. So there’s that viewpoint.
And there probably isn’t a downside to asking this particular client. Like I mentioned, my skills seem to be highly appreciated. So I’ll give some thought to how to try to even out the time I’m investing in a story to what I get on the financial end.
At the first of the year, one of my goals was to review my freelance rates, so this would move me in that direction, too. So it goes…