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Starting out as a freelancer? What do you charge?

Rahoul Baruah
Freelance Rails developer who has learnt how to stop selling time for money
・1 min read

When you start out working for yourself, one of the first questions that crops up is "what should I charge?"

It seems like a natural place to start.

But it's the wrong question.

Sorry to make it hard for you, but there are a whole series of things you should be asking yourself first.

Who is my client?
What do they want?
Why do they want it?
What's it worth to them?
Why should they choose me?

You need to put yourself into your client's shoes.

They need an expert. Because they want to improve their business.

Ultimately that means they want to save money. Or make money.

Now think about what you do.

How much impact will you have on their business? Is it greater than money they are looking to make?

How much will it cost you to deliver that impact? And remember - time is a cost, change requests are a cost, grief and heartache and getting yelled at by an arsehole are a cost.

Now choose a price that's above your costs and below your impact. And show them why they should trust you.

Because price is just a number. Impact is what counts.

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