Why I Write For $5: An Explanation Of Charging Low Rates
If you want to get freelancers riled up, spark a debate about charging low rates.
One of the biggest challenges many freelancers face, especially those on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, is competing against people who are willing to work at insanely cheap prices.
You may wonder how it’s even possible to survive if you’re only charging pennies per word or a few dollars per project.
But the first thing freelancers need to understand is “low rates” are relative to who you are and the circumstances you’re in [There’s a great explanation about that here]. And one factor that makes a big difference is location.
Many low-bidding freelancers live in developing nations, and most of us in the US, UK, or Canada cannot afford to compete against them, at least not long-term.
But it may help to understand where they’re coming from and how they operate. So, I connected with Huzaifa Gaba, a freelancer based in Karachi, Pakistan.
Gaba says he working on a master’s in Mass Communication. He has 5 years’ experience in digital and print media. And he has three gigs listed on Fiverr.
- To proofread and rewrite a 500-word article
- To write an original, SEO-optimized 500-word article
- To create a social media post, cover, banner, etc.
For each of these gigs, he charges $5.
And here’s what he has to say…
What can $5 buy where you are?
Actually only a hamburger.
Do you have a house or rent an apartment?
I live in my house.
Please provide an idea of your living expenses?
My monthly expense is around $500. That includes traveling expenses, bills, and study fees.
What made you select a $5 rate price?
I am new to Fiverr, so I am offering my basic gig for $5. However, for bigger projects, I do charge more accordingly.
How long do you normally spend working on a $5 gig?
About 2 hours with a 24-hour turnaround time.
Besides Fiverr, how else do you find freelance clients?
Where are your freelance clients generally located?
US, UK, and Pakistan
Have you worked with any major companies or brands?
Is it your goal to intentionally charge lower rates than freelancers in places like the US or UK?
No. Nobody likes to work for cheaper rates.
Do you think your rates are comparable to freelancers in the US or UK? And if you know think they’re making more, why don’t you charge more?
I don’t think people charge more according to their country. Rather, the rates are according to quality of work and experience.
How long have you been freelancing? And what made you start?
About 2 years. I was tired of having a 9-to-5 job.
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