How much should I charge for copywriting?

If you’re looking to address the fact that you’re worried that customers might think you’re too expensive, or you’re not entirely sure what you’re supposed to charge, or if you’ve got no idea where to start, I’m going to show how to create a fair and justifiable pricing strategy using a really simple calculator that I’ve got as well as some of the stuff that I’ve learned from my experience from scratch about charging for copywriting.

You need to have confidence to charge a crazy high price

The problem is that you need to have the confidence to charge a crazy high price. At least that’s the perception.

I understand that when you are selling copywriting services, you might be caught between wanting to charge not a crazily high amount to make sure that you get customers but also not charged super low so that you can actually make some money.

I’m going to share my process for actually understanding how much you need to charge and give you empirical proof about what you should charge.

Charging by the word or the hour

A lot of copywriters tend to charge by the word or by the hour and this will kill your business.

The first thing I want you to do is absolutely stay away from charging by the hour or by the word.

I’ve never really understood that because it’s like saying to someone, “Look, I want three hours’ worth of art. I want three hours’ worth of marketing from you.”

It just doesn’t work like that. Your copywriting needs to be packaged, processed, and set in a way that you make sure that you’re getting paid for the value that you bring rather than just being a set number of hours.

What do you want to make per year?

The first thing you need to do is work out how much you want to make per year.

That’s absolutely critical in order to understand how much you want to charge your customers.

You need to first understand how much do you want to make per year. What are your financial goals?

This might actually end up being more than you think it might be.

Not everyone watching this wants to be a multimillionaire. Not everyone wants to be fearlessly wealthy but to have a decent standard of living.

You probably want to pull in something yourself like a $100,000.

Now, if you’re a freelancer, $100,000 is your income. However, I don’t think you should be a freelancer.

I think you should try and run a business allocating time to working on your own marketing, your own brand building, making sure you have enough time to spend with family and friends, and doing hobbies and stuff.

There’s no point just working 12 hours per day if you’re only going to earn $100,000.

You’re better off thinking, “Actually, I need to earn more than that in order to give me the time and freedom to do the things that I want to do.”

It’s better to be upfront and honest, you might not get those customers straight away.

You might not get the high ticket customers straight away but having a plan in place to understand how much you want to charge from the get-go is going to rely on you knowing what your financial goals are.

I want you to allocate time for doing the work attracting customers in the first place, spending time with family, doing admin in the business, resting and whatever that number is, deal with it.

Skipping ahead a little bit. Most businesses need to pull in around $300,000 a year in order to be sustainable.

If you want to have a business yourself and pay yourself a decent salary, that’s roughly how much it’s going to cost. It sounds a lot. I know it sounds crazy. It’s actually not a huge amount. That’s only 10 customers at $30,000.

Remember, you’re going to have someone help you with admin and marketing, and delivery.

As I said, you might not get there from the get-go. I don’t think that the customer’s price of it or what the customer thinks is expensive should affect your living situation. Your price is your price.

The first thing you need to understand is how much do you need to survive and live and have a decent income. What would be your financial goal?

What would you give someone who HAD to give you $25,000?

The second exercise I’d like you to do is force yourself to write out a list of things that you would deliver if someone gave you $25,000.

Let’s say I give you $25,000. I want you to list out everything that you would deliver for that $25,000.

I know it’s scary but just imagine, just grab a piece of paper and write out $25,000 at the top and just start listing out all the things that you would give me.

Would you give me discovery calls and qualification calls and consulting calls? Would you read my content and buy my books and take my courses?

Would you write sales pages? Would you do emails? Would you do adverts? Would you do some coaching?

What would you do for that $25,000 or who else would you employ to deliver $25,000 worth of value?

The reason I like this question is that it begins to breach the idea that you should be working by yourself. It might be that you think for $25,000, I would write your sales letters and your emails and we do some advertising tests.

But I would actually hire someone to do the actual campaign building, Facebook ads, and YouTube, for example. I’d actually hire someone to do the video, for example.

It allows you to think if you had that kind of budget, what would you do?

When you start thinking about the budget, you then start thinking about how does that affect your yearly revenue goal.

If it’s just me working with the customer and I have a goal of $100,000, four $25,000 customers are going to get me to that $100,000 but it means I need to do all the work.

Ten $25,000 customers might mean that you don’t need to do any of the work and you go to $250,000 or £250,000.

It’s really important to start understanding some of these numbers.

The first thing is, what do you want to make per year?

The second thing is, write out what you would deliver if I gave you $25,000 and you couldn’t return it.

Ignore the market – there is no such thing as “middle ground”

The third thing to do is ignore the market. There’s no such thing as middle ground. Your price is your price.

When people say that’s too expensive, it’s absolute nonsense.

Don’t try to be middle of the market. Don’t try and say we’re cheaper than the most expensive, and that means we can undercut them, but we’re more expensive than the cheapest and that’s because we need to make money.

It doesn’t exist. The middle of the market does not exist.

The guys who are charging $150,000 for copywriting services, they’re not worried about someone charging $2,000. Their customers are completely different.

If you need to charge $150,000 per customer, then you need to be competing with those guys.

The higher point of the market, it’s the only part of the market that makes sense. There’s always going to be people coming in at the bottom, trying to scoop up the bottom of the barrel.

The only place where you’re going to make money is with a niche and finding out who is going to pay and who is willing to pay that kind of money.

You are going to have people say you’re way too expensive. You’re going to get that.

When I launched Five Figure Funnels at the time of recording, I think it is even still 99 cents for the ebook version.

I had people saying, “Have you got like a cheaper one or a free one?” I’m like, “It’s less than a dollar.”

You’re always going to have that but just because someone says it’s too expensive, that’s them, that’s too expensive for them. It’s got nothing to do with your price.

Your price is your price.

Let’s jump over to the calculator here:

It’s a free calculator tool and what you can do is find out exactly how much you should be charging for your copywriting services.

It’ll just tell you what you need to charge as well as a little bit about how many clients you have to go after and how many leads you can generate.

I want to say, I need to earn $350,000.

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The next question is then what is the ideal number of customers that I would work with? It’s better off underestimating this and saying, I’d rather only work with eight customers a year rather than saying I could probably work with ten customers a year or twelve or a hundred.

Because again, don’t think the increase in the number of customers that you can work with is a good way of lowering your prices because it’s not.

If I came to you and said here’s a hundred customers ready and willing to go. They’ve got the credit cards ready and they’re willing to buy from you. Would you be able to service all of those customers straight away? Probably not.

Therefore, it’s better off to scale that down drastically. I’m actually going to put eight in here and already it’s told us that the ideal price is $43,750.

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I like that price a lot, partly because it’s specific. When a price is specific, it shares that you know what you’re doing and you’ve been doing this a long time.

I would go back to that $25,000 exercise and I’d write $43,750. I’d say, “What do I need to offer? What would I give someone if they gave me $43,750?

Next up, this is a few other things within the kind of that customer area.

What’s your highest customer project price so far? Lets say its $3,000 at the time. How many proposals did I send in last month? Maybe five. How many of those convert into a sale?

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What this calculator also does is it says based on those conversion statistics, if you don’t change your price, you’ll need to have 117 customers to reach your yearly goal.

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Now, would you rather try and find 117 customers or would you rather try and find eight customers? I know which I’d rather go for.

If you don’t change your price, you’ll need to send 583 proposals.

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Even using my funnel proposal template, which you can find here:

That would still take you 100 or 200 hours to be able to get that much work done, which is crazy.

What’s also interesting is based on this current conversion rate, if you increase your price to $43,750, you’ll actually just need to send 40 proposals.

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That’s assuming that one out of five and that same conversion rate holds out. This just shows you that mathematically, you’re better off going for those higher price customers for your copywriting services.

It doesn’t have anything to do with trying to undercut people expensive as expenses.

It got nothing to do with experience, testimonials or guaranteed results

If anything, you should be more expensive when you start. Cheapness comes with systems and processes.

When you have a team involved and you’re able to release other products and scalable products, that’s when you can start reducing your price but right now you should be a premium service because they’re working with you.

You should be more expensive to start with. Look at any products and services that are released to market.

The first one’s, the first generation, when it’s starting out are the most expensive. It only becomes cheaper over time when you have those systems and processes in place.

Charge enough to get yourself where to want to be

You need to charge enough to get where you want to be. Be realistic and shoot for fewer customers and larger deals.

A $2,000 project is as much work as a $20,000 project.

It’s as much work to find the customer. It’s as much work to close them. It’s as much effort to work with them.

If anything, I’ve found the higher ticket customers are actually easier to work with because they understand this is a long-term investment.

People who have got a smaller budget tend to try and hold onto that budget, control it all the time because they’re terrified of losing it.

There was so much sense in going after higher ticket items for your copywriting services.

Remember, you can actually get hold of this calculator for free above.

That’ll send you a little report based on, or just give you the report on the screen based on what your numbers are.

Do you have an ideal price in mind? Have you used the calculator?

Let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to know what your magic number is to see how much you think you should charge for your copywriting services.

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Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.