What Is Your Rate?

I had a friend recently ask me what my rate was for guest coaching a choir.

It depends, is the answer.

It seems to me that freelance work comes down to one big question and two followups.

Do I need the work?

If yes, take the work and charge whatever you think is an appropriate value for your time.

If you don’t need the work (you’ve got a full-time job, you’ve got plenty of clients already) then you need to ask two questions to help determine price:

1. Is it work I will love doing?

2. Is it sufficiently compensated?

These two factors have to balance out or your will be unhappy with the experience.

There will be jobs you will love so much you would do them for free. And there will be those jobs you can do well, but bring you no joy. You should price yourself accordingly: in order to weed out the work you don’t love and to bring yourself more of the work you do. (Because your last gig leads to the next one.).

Seth Godin doesn’t like cross-country travel, so his speaking fees are three times higher in Los Angeles than in New York. He will take an LA gig, of course, but he needs to be paid more to balance those two questions above. For me, there are certain vocal styles I love more than others: my rates for vocal jazz and Barbershop coaching aren’t the same – nor should they be.

Or: I have never sought a church job because the time restrictions and requirements for the job couldn’t possibly be compensated well enough to balance for me. For other friends, to lead a choir on Sundays brings them so much joy they would do it for next to nothing.

What is your rate? I don’t have one. I have a multitude of rates.