“What do you charge?” Good question.

I am excited to announce that in addition to providing typical editorial services, I will be consulting on a super-part-time-basis with an ed tech start up. This is all thanks to the recommendation of a friend of a friend, whose thesis I helped edit over a year ago. This is another instance that proves to me that the act of saying yes—when the timing feels right—can pay off in the most unexpected of ways. Not only did it increase my confidence to offer the service again (“why yes, I’d be happy to review your doctorate-level dissertation!”), but it brought me, quite unexpectedly, to what I hope will be an ongoing side-hustle that can allow me to bring back aspects of my life that I’ve done without (read: a car). If you must know, my now-husband has been shuttling me back and forth between Framingham and Lincoln to the commuter rail for OVER A YEAR and I would love to give him some of his life back.

So, when faced with the question, “What do you charge?”, knowing there is the possibility of a really great partnership on the other end of the correct answer, I’ll deliberate. A lot.

Common advice says that you get what you ask for (or don’t ask for), start high and then negotiate to something that’s more realistic, etc. etc. I know from experience that when you don’t have much experience, you take whatever they offer to pay you, and happily. It’s pretty likely that the rate I’m working for with at least one company is lower than I should be charging, but I know they’re a reliable source of work so I haven’t rocked the boat. This is my decision and may not be yours. Something that gives me greater flexibility when setting my rates: I am not a full-time freelancer.

On the other hand, I’ve been doing this for a handful of years now and I know what the industry standard rates are. My advice to others doing similar work: Know what you’re worth, do your research, and then do some self-reflection. What do you want and how does that compare with what you need? Where are you at in your professional life and what do you need to elevate yourself? Is there a middle ground between what you’d like to earn and what you need to earn? Is there an added benefit that isn’t monetary and immediate, but might be beneficial long term?

If you’re at a large company (former Pearson Education EA over here; I know large companies), I’ll know you take quite a while to cut POs but I’ll trust the process and will get started as soon as possible. If you’re reading this, you’re more likely NOT a large company and fall into the second category.

So I’ll end with this: If you’re amazing and have incredible work that needs to get out into the world to change a life, I’ll look at your writing. If you’re broke, we’ll figure something out, because I believe we should all be in the business of helping each other out.

Happy Friday, friends!

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