“I Would Like An Estimate…”

"I Would Like An Estimate..."

I try to keep my initial complimentary consultation focused on the problems of my prospective clients, and the potential ways I can help. Questions about cost can bog the conversation down.

Business owners (and marketing managers eyeing their budgets) understandably feel they’re entering uncharted territory when they seek freelance writers or editors. Even in the Portland area, quotes vary wildly, and when out-of-state writer/editors enter the mix, the situation gets more complicated. I am sympathetic since I’m a business owner and hire professionals all the time (I prefer to keep my service providers local*). I believe that every project deserves a customized estimate that takes your scope, timeline, and feedback into careful account. I’ve touched on the concept of a market rate before, but I hope the following will shed light on what goes into my estimates and the value I propose.

It’s not really an hourly rate.

I think some folks automatically assume writers and editors are basing their fee just on hours, even for project rates.  Time certainly factors into my estimates, but not for the reason you think. I mainly work from home, my wife works from home, and we are the parents of an energetic toddler. If I need to look after my kid for an afternoon, I’m definitely not getting any work done! Multitasking has its place, but not when it comes to content creation or editing. When I send you regular updates, you’ll know that your project had my full attention because I scheduled time for it.

Value Proposition: I appreciate your time, and I am 100% focused when I work on your project.

Experience matters.

The excellent Breaking the Time Barrier by FreshBooks makes this argument eloquently. I’ve been a professional writer and editor in the Portland area since 2004. I’ve owned my own writing/editing/strategic consulting business since 2010. I’ve written thousands of words for blog posts, business plans, and marketing collateral.  I give my clients not only the benefit of my experience, but my intense desire to learn new concepts and implement new strategies based on the latest research.

Value Proposition: I’m invested in your success, and my years of proven expertise are at your disposal.

Editing isn’t just a typo hunt.

Laura Spencer, a working writer/editor I respect immensely, is accurate when she says editing is harder than people think, because editors have to read each word. She makes a a strong case that editing poor writing takes longer than writing new content. In my experience, editing requires a completely different mindset than writing.  The focus and discipline is somewhat at odds with the creativity necessary for content creation.

 Value Proposition: Editing is a disciplined, leadership role.  I analyze every sentence, every word, and every punctuation mark.

Great writing might be invisible, but it’s also verifiable

I think the entire point of effective writing is its invisibility.  People just know great writing when they see it.  That also makes it difficult to verify and susceptible to subjectivity.  These days, marketers have a wealth of ways to measure the effectiveness of content.  Google Analytics is one, and WordPress has plugins that can help assess SEO functions, and  e-mail programs can track click and open rates.  Plus, there are other creative ways I’ve learned to measure results.

Value Proposition: Writing is a strategic activity.  I can help you verify results from our marketing campaign.

Want to know more?  Feel free to contact me

If you’d like to weigh in below … how do you handle estimates for your business?

Image credit.

*Specifically Granite Point Tax Group and Bourke Design.  They are fantastic.