Here at Men with Pens, we’re working SMART:
• Agreed Upon
If you’re not sure what each of those means, check out my first post in the series, the introduction to SMART freelancing.
And if you missed last week’s post on how to be Specific, just click that link to read. Our very own James admitted having trouble being specific with his team members. After all, they are a tight group. Surely they can read James’ mind!
James has changed his ways. And not just because I whack him about the head, either. He is now more specific in his instructions, communication and delivery dates, which helps his whole team better manage their own schedule and workload.
Clients are happy. Business is flooding. James is rolling in dough.
“Oh, I always knew his poor starving arTEESTe speech was fake. Whiner.”
“Me! Me! I want to roll in dough like James!”
“Hey, how do I get some of that action?”
By doing the math.
“Math. Here we go. Clearly she doesn’t get her target audience.”
“We’re writers, for crying out loud!”
“Hello? Words! Not numbers!”
Even words are measurable. And making your business more measurable is the next step in becoming a SMART freelance business owner. Welcome to the next installment of working SMARTer.
Let’s use an example that many of you freelancers struggle with: setting flat-fee package prices for your writing.
Most likely, you started up your business by doing a bit of research, checking out some of the competition’s prices, rolling the dice, and picking a price for your words. Hey, we all start out that way. I started out that way. James started out that way.
Clients buy our packages. Lots of our packages. We are rolling in dough.
You may be wailing, “I’m not rolling in dough!”
So you decide you need to up your prices. You do a bit of research, you check out some of the competition’s prices, you roll the dice, you …
STOP! Not so fast, there, sonny. Answer these questions:
How long does it take you to research a 500-word article or a 350-word page of website content?
How long does it take you to write that article or website content?
How long does it take you to proofread and refine that article or content?
I bet right now, most of you know the answers. What are you thinking? An hour? Three hours? 30 minutes? You’re just guessing.
You need to stop guessing and start knowing. Precisely. Exactly. With absolute confidence. And you do this by taking measurements. Not just once. Not twice. But several times, because you may find that the results of your measuring varies – and the results may not at all be what you think.
You might discover that, when all factors have been measured, it takes you 5 hours to complete the job. The next day, it takes you 6 hours (you were slower that day). Two days later, it’s 5 hours, and then the following day, 4 hours. (Woot! Rockin’!) The week after, 7 hours. (Late night. Need coffee.) Then 3 hours.
On average, you discover that it actually takes you 5 hours to produce that 500-word article or 350-word page of website content. That means that the fee you were charging is bogus and you can now set your proper fee according to your measured results.
Keep in mind, your rates are averages. On the days it takes you 7 hours, you lose. But the days it takes you 3 or 4 hours, you win. And it all makes up for a nice, even income at the end.
Oh, by the way – you should be measuring and tracking like this for each and every one of the services you offer.
More money in the bank at the end of the day? Yes.
On your way to rolling in dough? Yes.
SMARTen up. Take the time to really, properly, exactly find out the cost of doing business – because there is a cost for every dollar you make. Discover that cost, make everything you do measurable, and look at those cold, hard numbers.
Adjust your prices. Then go forth and start rolling in that dough.