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How	to	Calculate	Your	Freelance	Rate	
	
48	work	weeks	in	a	year		 	 	 	 		(You'll	need	the	vacation	and	sick	days)	
40	work	hours	in	a	week		 	 	 	 		(Do	you	want	to	work	more	than	this?)	
1920	work	hours	in	a	year	
	
Assume	40%	on	marketing,	networking,	professional	development,	keeping	records	
	
1152	hours	remaining	
96	hours	in	a	month	
24	hours	a	week	for	revenue	generating	work	
	
To	make	a	gross	income	of	$50,000,	you'll	need	to	bill	at	least	$43.40	an	hour	
To	make	a	gross	income	of	$75,000,	you'll	need	to	bill	at	least	$65.10	an	hour	
To	make	a	gross	income	of	$100,000,	you'll	need	to	bill	at	least	$86.80	an	hour	
To	make	a	gross	income	of	$150,000,	you'll	need	to	bill	at	least	$130.20	an	hour	
etc.	
	
Assumptions:	
• no	down	time	during	your	work	week		
• marketing	consumes	the	assumed	amount	of	time	
• your	clients	pay	on	time	and	in	full	
	
Don't	forget	about	taxes,	overhead,	health	insurance,	retirement!		
That	gross	income	must	stretch	further	than	a	salary	you	would	earn	as	an	employee.	
	
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------	
	
HANDY	TIPS	
	
• Stick	to	your	hourly	rate	or	range	–	unless	there’s	a	good	reason.	
• Don’t	be	distracted	by	the	per	word	rate.	
• Estimate	the	hours	needed	and	track	your	work.	(Use	checklist.)	
• Stop	working	when	you’ve	hit	the	budgeted	time.		
• Never	name	a	rate	over	the	phone	–	give	a	proposal.	
	
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------	
Prepared	for	Association	for	Health	Care	Journalists	convention	by	Katherine	Reynolds	Lewis	
Katherine@KatherineRLewis.com	*	www.KatherineRLewis.com	*	@KatherineLewis	
Writing	on	parenting,	education	and	work	for	Fortune,	NY	Times,	USA	Today,	Washington	Post,	others
Five	Tips	for	Freelance	Success	
	
1. Network	with	other	freelancers;	nobody	can	take	on	every	assignment	and	you'll	
benefit	from	comparing	marketing	and	negotiation	strategies	&	problem	clients.	
	
2. Turning	down	poor-paying	gigs	is	your	quickest	path	to	financial	success.	Become	
ruthlessly	efficient.	Your	time	is	your	most	valuable	resource.	
	
3. Don't	count	on	your	stable	of	clients	remaining	the	same.	Always	be	seeking	new	
clients	and	planning	for	the	possibility	of	losing	an	anchor	client.	
	
4. Everything	is	negotiable:	money,	time,	rights,	more	work.	
	
5. Understand	why	you're	taking	on	any	given	project	or	client:	Pay,	Prestige,	
Personal	fulfillment.	Keep	that	motive	in	forefront	of	your	mind.	
	
The	Anchor	Client	
	
• Writing	a	newsletter	or	column.	
• Part-time	editing	or	production	work.	
• Part-time	non-journalism	work	(receptionist,	security	guard,	bartender).	
• A	regular	blogging	gig.	
• Contributing	editor	position	or	writing	contract	guaranteeing	a	set	monthly	income.	
• A	book	contract	with	a	generous	advance.	
• To	get	you	started:	a	spouse	with	a	job,	a	severance	package	or	a	savings	cushion.	
• A	grant,	fellowship	or	Kickstarter	campaign.	
	
Protect	Yourself	
	
• Get	it	in	writing	
• Work	through	referrals	
• Understand	basic	copyright	terms,	libel	risks.	Red	flags:	work	for	hire,	indemnity.	
• (I’m	not	a	lawyer	–	this	isn’t	legal	advice)	
• Dream	big!	Could	this	be	your	Argo?	
• Find	supportive	networks,	stay	active,	take	breaks.	
	
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------	
Prepared	for	Association	for	Health	Care	Journalists	convention	by	Katherine	Reynolds	Lewis	
Katherine@KatherineRLewis.com	*	www.KatherineRLewis.com	*	@KatherineLewis	
Writing	on	parenting,	education	and	work	for	Fortune,	NY	Times,	USA	Today,	Washington	Post,	others
Checklist	for	a	New	Freelance	Client	
	
Signed	contract	containing:	
	
o The	scope	of	assignment	(word	count,	topic)	
	
o Deadline		
	
o Rate		
	
o Copyright	and	contract	terms	acceptable	to	you.	Red	flags:	"work	for	hire"	or	indemnity.	
	
o Payment	terms	
	
• Will	you	be	paid	on	delivery,	acceptance	or	publication?	
• If	the	piece	isn’t	used,	will	you	be	paid	the	full	amount	or	a	kill	fee?	
	
Written	documentation	of:	
	
o Agreed	upon	editorial	timeline	and	expected	number	of	revisions/edits.	
	
o Any	items	above	that	aren't	in	the	publication's	standard	contract.	
	
Verbal	understanding	of:	
	
o The	story's	style	and	approach;	any	sidebars	you'll	need.	
	
o Whether	you'll	be	asked	to	help	to	create	artwork.	For	instance,	find	subjects	for	photos	
or	provide	data	for	graphics.	
	
o How	much	reporting	the	editor	expects,	such	as	number	and	types	of	sources.	How	
much	material	(if	any)	you	will	need	to	provide	for	the	publication	to	fact	check.	
	
o Whether	you	should	check	in	during	the	reporting	process	for	reshaping	the	piece.		
	
o The	best	way	and	times	to	communicate:	email	or	phone.	It's	good	to	know	whether	the	
editor	has	an	anticipated	busy	time	of	day/day	of	the	week/week	of	the	month.	
	
o Any	times	when	YOU	will	be	unavailable,	especially	if	the	deadline	is	close	to	a	planned	
vacation	or	other	big	project.		
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------	
Prepared	for	Association	for	Health	Care	Journalists	convention	by	Katherine	Reynolds	Lewis	
Katherine@KatherineRLewis.com	*	www.KatherineRLewis.com	*	@KatherineLewis	
Writing	on	parenting,	education	and	work	for	Fortune,	NY	Times,	USA	Today,	Washington	Post,	others

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Krl handout on freelance success

  • 1. How to Calculate Your Freelance Rate 48 work weeks in a year (You'll need the vacation and sick days) 40 work hours in a week (Do you want to work more than this?) 1920 work hours in a year Assume 40% on marketing, networking, professional development, keeping records 1152 hours remaining 96 hours in a month 24 hours a week for revenue generating work To make a gross income of $50,000, you'll need to bill at least $43.40 an hour To make a gross income of $75,000, you'll need to bill at least $65.10 an hour To make a gross income of $100,000, you'll need to bill at least $86.80 an hour To make a gross income of $150,000, you'll need to bill at least $130.20 an hour etc. Assumptions: • no down time during your work week • marketing consumes the assumed amount of time • your clients pay on time and in full Don't forget about taxes, overhead, health insurance, retirement! That gross income must stretch further than a salary you would earn as an employee. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HANDY TIPS • Stick to your hourly rate or range – unless there’s a good reason. • Don’t be distracted by the per word rate. • Estimate the hours needed and track your work. (Use checklist.) • Stop working when you’ve hit the budgeted time. • Never name a rate over the phone – give a proposal. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Prepared for Association for Health Care Journalists convention by Katherine Reynolds Lewis Katherine@KatherineRLewis.com * www.KatherineRLewis.com * @KatherineLewis Writing on parenting, education and work for Fortune, NY Times, USA Today, Washington Post, others
  • 2. Five Tips for Freelance Success 1. Network with other freelancers; nobody can take on every assignment and you'll benefit from comparing marketing and negotiation strategies & problem clients. 2. Turning down poor-paying gigs is your quickest path to financial success. Become ruthlessly efficient. Your time is your most valuable resource. 3. Don't count on your stable of clients remaining the same. Always be seeking new clients and planning for the possibility of losing an anchor client. 4. Everything is negotiable: money, time, rights, more work. 5. Understand why you're taking on any given project or client: Pay, Prestige, Personal fulfillment. Keep that motive in forefront of your mind. The Anchor Client • Writing a newsletter or column. • Part-time editing or production work. • Part-time non-journalism work (receptionist, security guard, bartender). • A regular blogging gig. • Contributing editor position or writing contract guaranteeing a set monthly income. • A book contract with a generous advance. • To get you started: a spouse with a job, a severance package or a savings cushion. • A grant, fellowship or Kickstarter campaign. Protect Yourself • Get it in writing • Work through referrals • Understand basic copyright terms, libel risks. Red flags: work for hire, indemnity. • (I’m not a lawyer – this isn’t legal advice) • Dream big! Could this be your Argo? • Find supportive networks, stay active, take breaks. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Prepared for Association for Health Care Journalists convention by Katherine Reynolds Lewis Katherine@KatherineRLewis.com * www.KatherineRLewis.com * @KatherineLewis Writing on parenting, education and work for Fortune, NY Times, USA Today, Washington Post, others
  • 3. Checklist for a New Freelance Client Signed contract containing: o The scope of assignment (word count, topic) o Deadline o Rate o Copyright and contract terms acceptable to you. Red flags: "work for hire" or indemnity. o Payment terms • Will you be paid on delivery, acceptance or publication? • If the piece isn’t used, will you be paid the full amount or a kill fee? Written documentation of: o Agreed upon editorial timeline and expected number of revisions/edits. o Any items above that aren't in the publication's standard contract. Verbal understanding of: o The story's style and approach; any sidebars you'll need. o Whether you'll be asked to help to create artwork. For instance, find subjects for photos or provide data for graphics. o How much reporting the editor expects, such as number and types of sources. How much material (if any) you will need to provide for the publication to fact check. o Whether you should check in during the reporting process for reshaping the piece. o The best way and times to communicate: email or phone. It's good to know whether the editor has an anticipated busy time of day/day of the week/week of the month. o Any times when YOU will be unavailable, especially if the deadline is close to a planned vacation or other big project. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Prepared for Association for Health Care Journalists convention by Katherine Reynolds Lewis Katherine@KatherineRLewis.com * www.KatherineRLewis.com * @KatherineLewis Writing on parenting, education and work for Fortune, NY Times, USA Today, Washington Post, others