Time is money

Talking about money is a bit crude, isn’t it? But now I work for myself, even with the cushion of redundancy money behind me, I see money in a whole different light.

I worked for it before, of course. But it just appeared in my bank account regular as clockwork. As long as I didn’t do anything crazily extravagant, the money was plenty. But now it doesn’t just appear, and I’m thinking about it in an entirely different way.

How much to charge for a job? How much for an hour? How much for a day? How do I quantify costs for social media support? Will I get travel expenses? How much should I charge for a retainer? What if I don’t do enough hours? What if I do too many?

I’m thinking about money an awful lot more than I used to. I don’t like thinking about money, but I realise it’s the only way.

I’m still charging hardly any more than a cleaner charges, but I’m gradually increasing the amounts. If I push it by another £5 an hour and it’s accepted, can I push it by another £5 on top of that? If somebody thinks I’m charging too much, will they say it’s too much and negotiate or will they just look for someone else to do their work?

My first two clients, who I’m pleased to say I’m still working for, are on ‘cleaner rate’. Newer clients who are just coming on board are on slightly more than cleaner rates. They’re still getting a damn good job done at a very competitive price.

PR firms often charge a lot to do a job – they’re covering salaries and the costs of an office after all. I’m charging as much as the cleaner and they’re getting 17 years’ experience, plus someone who works really flipping fast and gets the job done immediately because it’s currently not stacked up behind a big queue of other jobs (although I hope it soon will be).

My husband was shocked (in a good way) at how much work I’d done in 3 1/4 hours.

‘That’s not three and a quarter hours’ work!’

He thought I should charge more because my three and a quarter looks more like someone else’s five. But I’m not going to do that. It took me three and a quarter hours and I’m happy with my hourly rate. It’s money I didn’t have before I started the job.

Money, work, freelance. cash

I’ve had my first days working out of the ‘office’. What to charge? I worked on the day rate I’d given another firm. But what about food? Food costs money. It would cost me far less money to eat at home. So my husband taught me the noble art of ‘hide your subsistence allowance in your fee’. I really am learning new things every day.

I’m learning to use my blog to make money too, something I’ve never been comfortable with. There was a smattering of sponsored posts a couple of months back and not one, but two, wins of John Lewis vouchers for competitions (I never enter competitions normally). With those I bought the drawers my son needed for his bedroom. I’m training for another half marathon and my old trainers weren’t going to make it. I was going to splash out £90 on a new pair, but then I thought maybe I should just try one email? I’ve seen enough bloggers, who don’t run half marathons or even do regular exercise, get free trainers to review. I could work all day at cleaner rate to pay for my trainers, or I could just email a PR. So I did. I got free trainers.

This way of thinking really is alien to me and it still feels a bit wrong. But this is my life now. Time is money. I have to be brave, I have to step outside my comfort zone and I have to ask. Because someone saying no really is the worst that can happen.





Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Well done on making such a good start to your new way of life Sarah. It takes courage to break away from the workplace and go freelance. I’m not quite sure if I’m brave enough tbh, as we just can’t cope on hubby’s salary alone so there would be immense pressure to bring in an income… I’d love to though!!

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    • Thanks very much. There is still less work than I’d like, but I’m getting there slowly, but surely! I’m lucky that I have the redundancy money behind us and that my husband does earn enough to keep us going.

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  2. It sounds like a brilliant start and I would be the same, calculating all the time and thinking about spending and earning in a whole new way. I think you’re doing the right thing by bumping up your charges gradually. And maybe stick on half hour extra if you’re working at the speed of lightning.

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    • Thanks very much! My husband says to me if I’m only charging low I shouldn’t work quickly as well!

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  3. It’s so hard to know waht to charge! Sometimes I get recommended by my main client to another company and I can see their original email below the one that they send to me, and they have recommended me as “cheap”. Then I think I should charge more… 🙁

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    • The cheek of them! Maybe stick an extra fiver on your hourly rate and see what happens! I was scared the other day as I quoted for a job on my top rate and it took ages for them to say ‘yes’. I kept thinking, why didn’t they come back to me and I would have cut the rate by £5 an hour? But then I got the job on my top rate!

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  4. Well done on your clients so far, and I have no doubt more will arrive on a better rate for you soon. I have literally just gone freelance, although I suspect September will be the time I put a lot of focus into it.

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    • Good luck to you! Look forward to hearing how you’re getting on. I finished work just before the Easter holidays, so I let it drift a bit until afterwards. It’s not really possible to get it off the ground while the kids are under your feet!

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  5. Hi you’re doing brilliantly and using your skills well. That’s half the battle and why people give up. I would urge you to charge double, now. You are older (sorry) and have 17 years experience, you should not be paid a cleaner rate! I wouldn’t expect to pay you pennies as a client. I’ve learned the hard way too. Quote very cheap to win the work and four years later they won’t budge on fee and I resent it. I’ve even binned clients I quoted too cheaply for in the first place. It might help now to see a fee quid come in but it becomes not viable eventually and then you’ll end up wasting your time on jobs that don’t pay as well as others. Also clients DO take you seriously if you charge more. It shows you know your stuff, which you do, and you are far more likely to win work by charging more than less. If a buisness wants me to charge stupidly low fees I tell them to go find an amateur (ooo harsh). Only yesterday a new client said he’d been quoted one price for a small job. I quoted him more and thanks to my more professional approach and confidence I won the work. Clients trust expensive suppliers just not rip off merchants. X

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    • Thank you, that’s such good advice. I always really appreciate your words of wisdom because you really know what you’re talking about. My top rate is heading for double my ‘cleaner rate’ and I’ve managed to get two clients at that rate so far. You’re right, it’s nice to see the money coming in on the lower rate, as it’s better than no money at all, but I know I don’t want to be stuck on that rate forever. Don’t apologise for saying I’m older – I’m proud of being older. I know that if I’m up against ‘proper’ PR firms they will most likely have a 23 year old graduate on the job and if you look at the quality of work there’s no competition! Plus they’ll still cost more than me anyway!

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  6. Good for you lovely! I’m so glad to hear it’s all beginning to take off 😉 and it must be so lovely to have the freedom and independence to work for yourself xxx I actually miss having my own money, my own little pot that I earned now that I’m full time at home… it’s taken me ages to get used to it and I feel a pang of jealousy and wanting a little bit of that myself sometimes you know! Who knows – perhaps I’ll do something down the line… for now I’ll juts concentrate on growing a new WallyBubba lol xx

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    • Thanks very much. The independence is great and the money will get there! I don’t have anything like my own pot of money, but I’m just pleased to see that I can earn money for myself and people do want the services I provide.
      Good luck with the new WallyBubba! What will this one be called – WallyBubba2? WallyBrutha? WallySista?

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  7. Great to hear you’re off to a good start, and just as importantly that you’re feeling positive about the experience. It’s inspiring to know that it can be done by someone with ability and a willingness to work hard at it rather than expect it overnight. Keep going!

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    • Thanks very much. It’s a slow process and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without redundancy money and a supportive husband earning decent money behind me, but hoping to match my previous salary within the year, then exceed it the following year!
      Feeling positive is a brilliant thing. I am so much happier for doing it.

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  8. It is very hard first of all, but little by little it becomes normal and you value yourself more and more, which means other people will too, and before you know it people will be throwing money at you for your expertise 🙂 Good luck with it all! x

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    • Thanks very much, what a lovely thing to say! I have days when I feel like I’m really flying and days where I wonder where the next job/ £ is going to come from! But I’m definitely feeling positive about it – and nobody has been put off by my rates yet! x

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