I remember this time when one of my mentors told me about a deal he’d turned down.
This guy is, shall we say, an ‘influencer’ of sorts (though not the posing Instagram variety) — and a very shrewd businessman to boot.
And, he’d just been approached by the manufacturer of a certain notebook he always carried, with a generous offer:
The company wanted to create a ‘branded’ version of the notebook he used, with his brand imprinted in gold on the corner of the cover.
They sent through a picture of what it would look like (and honestly, it was freaking awesome). And, they said, they’d be willing — as a gift — to send him a free supply of them as well.
“Sweet deal — you love those notebooks,” I said. “So you’re going to do it, right?”
“No way in hell,” he replied.
And then he sagely shared with me me a line which stuck with me since:
“Beware the hidden cost of ‘free’.”
Basically it means that when you get something for free, it generally costs you in other ways.
Such as, it’s poor quality.
Or, it costs you time, because you have to work out how to do something yourself.
Or, like it was in this case: you end up owing a favour to whoever gave it to you.
Anyway, it’s advice worth keeping in mind.
Yet as a copywriter, I’d argue the opposite can be just as true:
“Beware the hidden cost of ‘expensive’”
Here’s what I mean:
For most copywriters, the dream is to charge as much money as possible.
Trust me, I’ve had my share of reasonably high-paying gigs: I’ve done jobs at $200/hr, and multiple sales pages that cost $6,000 (in each case the client was delighted with the work, by the way).
Work a few hours and make as much as some people make in a week! Living the dream, right?
Here’s what nobody else tells you about being really expensive:
It comes with a LOT of (justified) expectations.
For starters, you know that voice inside you that constantly makes you doubt yourself?
The one that says “You’re not really good at this, you’re just a faker who makes it all up … and this is the job where they’re going to figure it out, for SURE.”
Well, let me tell you that voice becomes 10x LOUDER when you’re working for a lot of money.
When I got on a video call to present my first $6,000 sales page to the client, even though I knew it was a solid page, there was a knot in my stomach the whole time.
(And if you’re working by the hour — which, I don’t care what anyone says, is an okay way to charge, and I do it often — it’s much harder on a higher rate. Can I even get up to make a coffee at $200/hr when that break costs my client $17?)
If you’re an ethical person charging high prices, you should feel a lot of pressure that some business owner is paying money that they could use to pay their staff, cover their overheads, or feed their family … and giving it to you instead.
(Note: if you aren’t a person who worries about such trifles, please do not respond to the CTA at the bottom of this email.)
So, am I saying you SHOULDN’T charge a lot?
There are so many reasons to charge a high price that you’d be a fool not to.
But at the same time, you need to be REALLY DARN GOOD at what you do — so you don’t need to feel bad about charging high prices, because boy, you bring the value.
And speaking of good copywriters:
Right now I’m turning down over 90% of the new leads I get and it bugs me.
The truth is I can only really fit a couple clients at once, so I’m always looking for other writers (at varying price points) who I can farm work out to (in exchange for a referral fee, of course).
The only qualification is that you’re decent at what you do, because it’s my reputation at stake. Which means that until now I’ve only had a few writers I can recommend.
If you’re interested, reply or hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org with what you do, what you charge, and a few samples of your best work.