A few months ago, I published an article about how much freelance translators should charge.
In that article, I did not recommend charging X or Y. Instead, I explained that the right rate is the one that allows you to meet your needs.
Ideally, our goal as freelancers is to make as much money as possible by working as little as possible. To accomplish that, I provided a link to a spreadsheet that helps freelance translators determine their ideal rate(s).
I also explained that what works for me may not work for others. Although we all go through similar circumstances, we also live unique realities.
Still, I believe that undercharging for your services is a bad idea. Unless you have minimal expenses, I do not recommend charging less to get more work to start your career or have a steady workflow.
Not only will you be harming yourself physically, mentally, and financially by doing that, but you may also be harming other professionals by bringing prices down.
It can be a vicious cycle. When you do not value yourself, you attract people who do not value you either. I know this because I have experienced it!
LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE
My advice is not law — it's about what has worked best for me based on my 10+ years of experience as a freelancer.
Some people argue that "a little something is always better than nothing," but that may not always be true.
There can be times in our lives where the need to eat or pay bills may push us to accept jobs that pay less than desired.
However, this approach may set a dangerous precedent. It opens the door to lower-paying jobs.
Doing that sets you up to earn less per hour. While many of us may charge per word, the reality is that we are being paid for our time.
Therefore, when we charge low rates, we end up working more to make the money we need. That is a very limiting approach.
If you think you cannot raise your rates because clients want to keep cutting costs, that will be your reality.
You are what you believe and choose to do!
THE MINDSET FOR FREELANCERS
The good thing is that you can change your mindset to achieve different results.
Therefore, the next time someone suggests you try something different, give it a go before stating that it does not work. Do not rush to prove others wrong to defend yourself or prove yourself right.
If you keep doing the same while waiting for things to change, you may be waiting for too long. I know this because I made that mistake.
An essential ingredient to succeed as a freelancer is to know your value.
But, if you think you always have to say yes to everything others ask of you, freelancing may not be a good fit for you. If you are not comfortable negotiating with clients as a services provider, your best option is to find an employer.
This post is not meant to discourage others but to help them reassess their situation as freelance translators.
I'm here to talk if you genuinely want things to change!