As I’ll be focusing on friendship this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about how freelancers can help each other out, particularly with raking in more moola. During my first full year of freelancing, my friends have been my bedrock. They’ve been there to commiserate about everything from assignments from hell to stressful times.
We also have a lot of fun. We get together to cowork and enjoy cheap eats at happy hour. And guess what? We’ve also helped each other boost our income.
Here are some ways freelancers can help each other make more money:
Refer Fellow Freelancers
If I feel as if they’re a solid fit, I’ve referred writers to publications I write for and they’ve also done so in kind. If you see a job opportunity that is up a friend’s alley, pass it along to them. It doesn’t take too much time to write a quick email and a few kind words about your freelancing colleague. I have a freelancer friend who created a spreadsheet to log her friends’ different types of expertise, in case a gig comes her way that she’s not a good fit for.
Be Transparent with Your Rates
This is crucial. The thing with freelancing is that rates can vary wildly. It’s not like being, say, a doctor or lawyer where there are standard rates and you can get legit numbers on how much you should get paid for things. And while there are some databases on freelancer rates such as the one from the Editorial Freelancers Association, but they’re super general. How much you get paid can depend on whether it’s a corporate client or a startup, how much experience you have underneath your belt, and your niche.
As I mainly write about money, I can’t compare the rates for writing for a fashion blog to say, an investment company. Any freelancer will tell you there’s really nothing worse than lowballing yourself. My fellow personal finance writing friends and I shoot the hay about what certain clients pay, how much to charge for X words, and so forth. There’s so much to consider when negotiating rates and it really helps you have friends who disclose what they know about rates and to give you their recommendations.
Don’t Lowball Yourself
Sure, we all have weak moments. We might have had a shitty month, and could use the money. But when you lowball yourself, you’re hurting fellow freelancers who work in your field. Think of it this way: if freelancing can be compared as a produce stand, and there are a bunch of oranges, which all look pretty similar.
Hire Fellow Freelancers
When building your business, you can hire fellow freelancers as virtual assistants (VAs), and to lend a hand with proofreading, researching, photography, and graphic design. I’ve hired my friends to design my business cards, help with photo research, and do fact-checking. This supports the gig economy, and help your friends sustain themselves.
Create an Anti-Feast or Famine Collective Work Group
This is an idea I’ve had for a while and have yet to implement. Along with hiring fellow freelancers, the gist is to help your freelancer friends get through the periods of famine. The concept is pretty simple: if you are slammed with work, and could use help with research, fact-checking, outlining and what have you, then you reach out to the group of fellow freelancers to see who is available.
You then suss out the details, such as the going rate, scope of the “helper assignment,” and how many hours you think it will roughly take. That way your periods of famine potentially won’t be as awful as it could be.
Give Them a Shoutout on Social Media
Share their posts, spread the word about a talk they’re giving or ecourse they’re creating. There’s nothing more powerful than what others say about you. It costs absolutely nothing to spread the love on social media. You can also buy their shit and vouch for its quality.
What are some ways you can help fellow freelancers earn more money?
Photo credit: Alexis Brown / Unsplash