Let's Talk $$$ // Part Two

A couple weeks ago, we started this series with PART ONE, talking about calculating + setting your rate as a freelancer. I promised we'd be back with more... and here we are!

Ok, so you've figured out your rate, and it seems to be working. But if you're like me, you're curious- what do other people charge? How do they handle low offers? Are they comfortable negotiating? Basically all the questions you ask yourself to figure out your own rate- I rounded up a small group of my favorite freelance creatives and asked them these very questions (and more)!

I have to add- I am such a fan of all four of these ladies (and lucky to consider them friends)! They are all SO creative and talented and are creating their own dream careers with a lot of hard work, a little inner magic, and some really great lipstick (seriously tho). So thank you to Leslie, Lizzie, Jenna + Cort for all your insight + inspiration. :)

PART TWO, here we go...


We're chatting with:

1. HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOB/WORK? (I.E. CONTENT CREATOR, BLOGGER, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, ETC)

LESLIE: I would say I'm more of a content creator. That's how I make my income. 

JENNA + CORT: We are bloggers/content creators/influencers.

LIZZIE: Content creator + Photographer

NATASHA: Photographer + Content Creator

2. IS THIS YOUR FULL-TIME JOB/ SOURCE OF INCOME?

LESLIE: Yes!

JENNA + CORT: It is not yet our full-time job...but we're getting there!

LIZZIE: Yep!

NATASHA: Yes

3. IF NOT, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?

JENNA + CORT: We are both Bridal Stylist at Anthro's bridal company, BHLDN, (also where we met!). We took our hours down from full-time to part-time as the blog grew!

4. WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED GETTING WORK, IN WHAT KIND OF $$$ RANGE WAS YOUR RATE?

LESLIE: Hmm, I would say when I first started (and when I still had a day job) I would ask for $150 per post. Or around that range. 

JENNA + CORT: We charged $100 for IG and $300 for a blog post. We had NO idea what to charge...this was just a shot in the dark!

LIZZIE: In the very beginning I charged $100 per photo, and gave a “bulk” discount of $50 a photo if the client wanted more than 3 (eek 🙈)

NATASHA: When I first started, it was low, around $100/ per image, but slowly realized the work that went into them was worth more...

5. WITH YOUR CURRENT RATE, WHAT KIND OF FACTORS DO YOU CONSIDER WHEN SETTING IT? OR IS IT LESS SCIENTIFIC THAN THAT? (I.E. FLEXIBLE DEPENDING ON WHAT THE JOB IS)

LESLIE: Definitely flexible depending on the job and depending how LARGE the deliverables are. I first factor if the job works with my lifestyle and can be incorporated into my brand/aesthetic. I've said no to large offers simply because it isn't genuine to myself and my following. After I decide if it's something I want to pursue i base my rate on the deliverables they're asking for. (Example: how many images, posts, videos, boomerangs, etc). 

JENNA + CORT: Several factors are considered: 1). Are they a huge company who you know has a big budget? 2). Are they small, but you believe in their company/product? 3). Are they nice? 4). Does this fit naturally with your feed/brand? 5). Will you have to work harder/buy more supplies to make it more organic? These are just a few. Honestly, we go with our gut. We say no to a lot of people if we don't vibe.

LIZZIE: I have a standard base rate that I give out and add to that sometimes based on unique circumstances, i.e. they need a super quick turnaround, more expensive props are required, or lots of editing will be involved.

NATASHA: I have a standard rate, that varies based on quantity of images, and the size/scope of the project. I try to schedule a meeting or phone call with prospective new clients, to get a little more detail on what they're looking for, so I can make sure to price fairly.

6. IS YOUR RATE FIXED OR VARIED DEPENDING ON THE JOB?

LESLIE: Definitely varied on the job (how many deliverables they're asking for as I said previously).

JENNA + CORT: Definitely varied. We have a starting rate, but if we love the product or would actually use it in our daily lives, we are definitely flexible if they're willing to work with us.

LIZZIE: Varied.

NATASHA: Varied.

7. DO YOU NEGOTIATE WITH CLIENTS FOR HIGHER RATES? IF SO, WHEN?

LESLIE: In my experience I rarely will have a potential client start off with an offer. They will usually always ask what my rate is for the requested job first. Then we negotiate from there.

JENNA + CORT: It's very important to know your worth. A lot of time and energy goes into these posts, and that's valuable. If someone low-balls you, it can be insulting...especially if you know they have the budget to pay you your rate. We will ask for a middle ground to meet at, but will turn it down if we can't compromise. 

LIZZIE: I’ll negotiate if their offer is really low but I still really want to work with them.

NATASHA: I do! If it's a brand that starts with a low offer, and I feel can offer more, I will try to negotiate. At times, I will also lower my rate if it's a project I'd love to work on and I know their budget is limited. 

8. DO YOU EVER TALK $$$ WITH YOUR FRIENDS/FELLOW CREATIVES?

LESLIE: Yes!! It is actually so helpful! Money can be such an awkward thing to discuss, but I am lucky to have a great supportive group of IG'ers where we are comfortable bouncing rates and feedback off each other. (Hallelujah)! 

JENNA + CORT: YES!! I think this is very important. The friends we've made on IG and met irl are awesome and very open about what they charge. This is how we formed our rates. As a group, I think creatives should be charging more. These companies are saving so much money by marketing this way instead of on billboards/commercials/etc. And the engagement is infinitely better. 

LIZZIE: I do! It’s always eye opening and helpful :)

NATASHA: Yes! I think a couple years ago, it was much harder to talk about this kind of thing because everyone was still sort of trying to figure it out. Now, it feels like there's more transparency and people want to help each other.

9. ANY TIPS FOR HELPING OTHERS SET + NEGOTIATE THEIR RATE?

LESLIE: First, figure out if you really want to do the job. Do not compensate for an inquiry that isn't genuine to your brand. Your followers will see right through that and will lose trust. Second, ask yourself what amount is this project worth to you? That will really help set a bar for when you're ready to state a rate and negotiate! Don't be afraid to go back and forth a bit with the brand/agency. Be confident and know what you do is VALUABLE!! Then go kill it! :) :) 

JENNA + CORT: It took us awhile to learn about photography, composition, and flow with our feed. For this reason, our rate grew very slow along with our confidence in our posts. Not that they were bad at all, we were just learning! So, for people starting out...set a lower rate, but be firm about it. Sometimes it's hard to pass up free product in exchange for a post. But you should always tell them your rate as well. Usually they do have the budget for it, but a lot of people will accept free product, so they don't always say it upfront. And once your confidence, skill, and following grows, up that rate!

LIZZIE: In your first few gigs, try to track all your hours you spend on the project with a time tracking app or just a spreadsheet. Make sure to include hours spent brainstorming, sketching, communicating with the client, prop shopping/prepping, all the way through styling and then editing the content. 
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time you’ll spend on a job, and once you see it all added up it will be easier to gauge how much to charge for future projects. Multiply the total hours by the amount you’d like to make hourly (I think the industry standard ranges from $50-$200/hour for photography depending on skill level/location) and be sure to add in cost of props to get a total rate to present to the client. (I like to give a project rate upfront instead of presenting the client an hourly rate because it makes things a lot simpler and easier to digest for both parties!)

NATASHA: Be honest with yourself about the amount of work a project entails! Try to cover that in your rate. Also, don't take a job you don't truly vibe with just for the money. Money is nice, but the most fulfilling projects are the ones you feel excited about AND are being paid fairly for. Don't be afraid to aim high (realistically high :) but be open to negotiation if the client asks you to come down a little. It's so motivating to do work you love and know that it's being valued!


I'd love to know your feedback- did you find this helpful? Is there anything you love to see covered in future posts? Send me a note or leave a comment below!

xx Natasha

AND a HUGE THANK YOU to these awesome ladies!! Make sure to go show them some love. :)

Leslie @splendid_rags

Jenna + Cortney @awhimsywonderland

Lizzie Darden  @lizzie_darden