Determining How to Price Yourself and Which Jobs to Take

One of the hardest things to figure out is how to price yourself and what jobs to take.  It took me months to figure out my prices when I started and way longer to figure out my standards when it came to online work.

Which Jobs to Take

I get offered at least one staff writing position every couple of weeks, but I have a minimum that I will accept that helps weed out low ball offers.  I also am asked if I perform blog tasks like submitting to carnivals, but since I don’t enjoy that part of blogging either, I refer the carnival submitters that I know instead.  In short, I have come up with a few ways to determine which jobs to take.

Keeping that in mind, it is still hard to turn down money.  I like money enough that I sometimes really consider doing jobs I don’t even like.  Then I take a step back, look at whether I actually need the money or not, take a deep breath, and refer someone else.  But it is sooooo hard sometimes.

Your Prices

The first trick is figuring out how much you are worth per hour or task.  When I first started, I was making about $16 an hour at my day job before taxes and whatnot, so I was writing and doing freelance tasks for about $15 an hour.  Then I realized my writing was being recognized and I was undervaluing my services.  Over time, I inch my way up.  If I am ever turned down more than twice in a row, I know I’ve gone too high on my hourly rate.  I also use that same method with advertising. I slowly raise my prices until they are turned down more than a couple of times in a row.  It is all a balancing act.

If you are unsure of how to start, consider contacting someone else in the field.  I zoom in on every comment about pricing that I can find in the Yakezie, the blogging forum I love, and on other sites to make sure I am priced around the same rates as others.  When I first started blogging, simply being pointed in a general direction was amazing since I was like a fish out of water.  I had no idea what a normal rate was and was intimidated by the simplest decisions.

My Beginner Rates and Current Rates

In case any of you feel the same way, here are the rates I started at with myself and my main site, Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.  Please keep in mind that these are the rates I had just a couple of months after I started blogging and working online, so my site was still a PR0 with less than 50 readers a day and I was a complete online newbie myself:

  • My Hourly Rate for Freelance Tasks – $15
  • The rate I would accept for a sidebar ad – $35 a month and up depending on location
  • The rate for a sponsored post with a link for one year – $45-$60
  • The amount I was making with Adsense – Less than $1 a month

Here are the general rates I use now.  Budgeting in the Fun Stuff is now a PR3 with 400-600 readers a day and I have 18 months of online experience under my belt:

  • My Hourly Rate for Freelance Tasks – $20-$30 depending on the assignment
  • The rate I would accept for a sidebar ad – $50 a month minimum for annual placement in a low location, $60 minimum for 6 months or less in a low position, $80-$150 minimum a month for prime locations
  • Sponsored post for one link for one year - $85 minimum for group deals and I usually expect $100-$125
  • Adsense – $50-$100 a month

For those who have more experience, do those rates seem too low?  Any suggestions?  For the newer bloggers, feel free to email me with any questions at budgetingfunstuff *at* gmail *dot* com.

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15 comments to Determining How to Price Yourself and Which Jobs to Take

  • I don’t have any experience with this, but thanks for sharing since it gives me a good idea regarding the market.

  • @kidgas, glad I could help. :-)

  • Crystal, thanks for giving some direction on the job market.

  • Thanks Crystal! I’m still having a hard time pricing myself, and was wondering if I was overpricing or underpricing but now I know I’m in a pretty good range. Thanks for the tips!

  • I have been looking for a post like this for quite some time! Excellent to note. My partner and I have been putting off enquiring about advertising as we have focused on building our site. We are currently a PR1 with about 100-125 visits per day, 300K alexa rank, and we are climbing fairly quickly. By your calculations we should actually be able to look into some advertising opportunities.

  • @Super Frugalette, you are welcome!

    @20 and Engaged, yw!

    @My University Money, yep, just remember not to get into long contracts if you will be continuing to grow. :-)

  • [...] Determining How to Price Yourself and Which Jobs to Take: At Crystal’s other blog How to Make Money Blogging, she discussed how to price yourself as a freelancer. She touched on her rates when she first started and her rates now. This was definitely needed as I’m sort of still figuring out my worth. [...]

  • Thanks for sharing all of this!

    I am currently trying to get to a consisten 100 visits per day, have a PR of 4, and an Alexa rank of 366k. Not being super proactive about finding ads though – will the advertisers come to me, or do you have any suggestions on how to find advertisers?

  • @Kellen, the advertisers started coming to me, but now that I run the advertising for so many sites, we build up contacts way faster.

  • I’m curious to know what you define as prime location for text links and how many links did you actually sold at $80-150/month (not banner or widget, just link right?). I actually sell my links (on PR4 and 5) between $50-$75/month (paypal subscription) and I’m able to keep my advertising space full. However, I get several declines from advertisers telling me my rates are too low. This is why I’m curious about who did pay more than $100 for a link on a monthly basis. Do you have any?

    I think it’s more interesting to know how many links you can actually sold at $100/month+ rather than how much you ask. For example, I could ask $200/month for links and not get any on my page or sell 10-15 links at a lower rate.

    I must say that I am quite impressed by your progress since the first time I read your main blog! You are one of the very few blogger able to make some real money. congrats!

  • Thanks for sharing this Crystal! For those of us new to the blogging scene, this information is invaluable! I think I just gave you an idea for an ebook!

  • Anastasia

    I read this before and enjoyed it, but now I am really applying it. This week I got an easy job that I bid fairly on. Then later down the week I found a new client who wants to pay me less than fair. Nothing much on the horizon right now, it can be hard to stand firm. But my gut always knows when I say yes to a low paying job and then regret it later!

  • You can really make good money selling your skills online. The bidding system, however, is a very unsettling thing that you have to deal with as some employers haggle over price to save money. But once you get to establish your name and online presence, your chance of making a decent income is pretty much certain that clients will constantly come to you instead of you looking for them.

  • @The Financial Blogger, I just looked back and saw this. I have 10-20 sidebar ads total and they all fall within the $65-$110 range per month as of right now. In fact, I have more than 210 clients that range from PR0-PR6 and 90% of sidebar deals closed are between $40-$150 a month. 99% of those are between $50-$100.

    @Paul, glad to help!

    @Anastasia, good luck!

  • Nearly 20 years ago, I read one of Gerry Weinberg’s books on consulting, in which he advocated the 50% rule. That is, price yourself so that if you get the job, you’ll be 50% disappointed, and if you don’t get the job, you’ll be 50% glad. The title of the book is The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully. I checked, and it’s still available: http://sn.im/22g43wh

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