A common objection that I've heard a whole bunch of times is that I charge too much. Perhaps that's the case, perhaps not.
But what's interesting is, that objection has come up consistently in connection to hourly contracts. I sat down and actually looked at all the conversations I've had with leads.
Now, I haven't actually charged hourly for well over a year. When asked, I would go to a default of mid-three-figures/h. It's a nice middle ground, where it's not too low, and not too high.
I'm not a master copywriter. I'm just very competent at research, and I have the unique ability of rapid learning. That's more than enough for 99.9% of businesses to not just improve, but skyrocket their revenue.
The reason why I switched to simple quotes is because I work fast. That means that for each bit of time I save, my hourly rate increases.
Conversely, if I charged hourly, my rate would remain the same, and I'd spend less time. On a financial level, I'd be incentivised and encouraged by my clients to work slower.
And that, friends, isn't acceptable.
It's not in my best interest, it's not in their best interest. All hourly pay means is that you're going to find yourself stretching out work to make ends meet.
Another issue that stems from this is that thinking time is difficult to track. If I spend half an hour in the shower, thinking about the new sales letter, campaign or emails… I should charge for it. It's still work.
But how do you track that? What if I'm out, walking, and suddenly an idea hits me? Do I charge for the entire walk, or just the minute it took me to jot down?
It's a confusing world when there aren't any solid lines to go by.
The solution is simple: set a fixed quote on projects, and add revenue share whenever possible. This avoids the above problems entirely.
First, I don't need to worry about how much I'll be paid. I can focus entirely on delivering top-quality work using my own process.
Second, I get incentivised to work fast. The faster I work, the more projects I can handle, and so the more $$$ I end up with.
A cynic might say that working fast and well are exclusive. Not so. The first stage of any working relationship is to research, learn, and immerse myself in all the materials clients have.
In fact, research is about 90% of the entirety of work I do. I collect notes on everything possible, and then use them to fill out one of my templates.
From there, I do several revisions with the client to make sure that the copy captures their brand, fits their message etc.
It's not a very complex process, but it's one that guarantees quality deliverables, and high degrees of compliance. Every claim made is supported by client-provided materials.
This is important because I very much rely on repeat business. I'm not interested in spending dozens of hours researching and studying new clients every week. I'd rather have a few clients, who know they can rely on me to set new standards in their business.
Third, when I do get revenue share, it's absolutely fantastic. This is a very important point I need to make. Getting commissions is critical. If my writing makes my client an additional $50k/mth, I want 10% of that. I'll quite readily drop my initial fee to get in on the action, because it's just that profitable.
And this is great not just for me, but the client as well – I get so much more incentive and interest in a project when I know that if I work on it, optimize it, make it better… I'll get paid more.
Which in turn gives me more leeway to work on it. And it creates a spiral where there's no reason for me to work on anything else.
Looking at pricing from this perspective, there's honestly no reason at all to charge per hour, unless you're able to solve these problems.
Whether you're a copywriter, designer or other creative, there's no reason in the slightest to charge per hour. If you were to continue doing that, you'd not only be doing yourself a disservice, but your clients, too.
It's a harmful system that isn't salvageable.
Start quoting properly, and write proper proposals.