How often do you ask for what you want from clients, whether it’s an extra assignment or a rate increase?
This month, asking for extra work helped take my income to $6,500, my highest ever.
Here’s the roundup for August. This month, it’s impressive:
Completed Pieces: 70
Work Billed: $6,513.00
Earnings Received: $6,649.30
I wrote just over 54,000 words, with an average per-piece earning of $93.
That’s significantly higher than July’s per-piece earning of $69, and a lot of it came from the two highest-paying pieces I wrote this month: one that brought in $1,039, and one that paid $953.
That second piece, the $953 one, was the one I asked for.
Ask and ye shall receive
Remember how last month I worried that I wasn’t going to earn much over $5,000?
I was planning to take a week to visit my sister and her husband and be a featured guest at Intervention, and — as I wrote in this very space a month ago — “Traveling always means taking an income hit, even if you work on the plane.”
But I asked myself: what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if I asked my best-paying client for a second assignment, to cover the income gap that came from taking a few days off? The worst possible scenario would be a polite “No, we have enough pieces for this month,” so I asked — and my client said yes.
It’s great for two reasons. First, it added $953 to my monthly income total, and second, it set a precedent. Now my client and I both know that I can complete two pieces in a month, which means I am going to pitch two pieces this month. Next month, I might pitch three.
Sometimes I forget that I can ask my clients if they want more work from me. This month, I’m glad I remembered.
The power of the pageview bonus
The $953 piece took me from $5,000 to $6,000 last month.
What pushed me over $6,500? A $500 bonus for an article on The Penny Hoarder about getting paid for junk mail. This article received more than 250,000 pageviews, which meant I earned an extra $500. This is the second time I’ve received a bonus on this piece, which I wrote in January 2015. I’m delighted that it still resonates with so many readers.
I love pageview bonuses, because I get paid without having to do any extra work. I always do my part to increase pageviews by sharing my articles on social media (and responding to Facebook comments and Twitter replies), but that doesn’t feel like “extra” work. I’m not able to track my own pageviews with this client, so I don’t know when I am getting close to a bonus, but I am always glad when I get one.
This type of pageview bonus is also great for me because it comes on top of a competitive base pay. Some publications prefer to offer low base pay and structure more of their compensation through bonuses. I prefer high base pay and the occasional bonus — after all, I can’t really control how many people view my articles!
One of my other clients gives writers bonuses for being active in the comments section, which I also appreciate. Any time a client offers me a low-effort way to make a little extra money, I know that client values its writers and the work we do.
Crowdfunding still doesn’t beat client work
Last month, I announced that I’m writing a novel titled The Biographies of Ordinary People and crowdfunding the process through Patreon.
I’ve been posting two chapters of my novel every week, and have received a lot of amazing feedback from readers, including a reader who tweeted, “This is maybe the most beautiful book I’ve read in a long time — thanks!”
However, the crowdfunding initiative has not grown to the point where I can consider dropping — or even seriously cutting back on — any of my current freelancing clients.
As of this writing, my Patreon brings me $350 per month in crowdsourced pledges. That’s more than many of Patreon’s featured writers bring in, so I feel like my project is successful, but it’s not enough to make a significant difference in my freelancing life aside from the fact that I’m developing a community of readers who are invested in this novel.
That community of readers makes the whole Patreon project worth it. But crowdfunding still doesn’t beat client work financially, at least not for me. I like knowing roughly how much income I’ll earn every month, and I also like knowing I can increase my client income just by asking.
When was the last time you asked a regular client for extra work? Did they say yes?