The freelance writing rate calculator here at All Freelance Writing was designed to help freelancers calculate their base rates. These would be the minimum rates you need to charge to cover the bare basics. Then you would figure out a premium based on your credentials and experience.
There's another way you can use this free tool however. And it can help you reach your ideal income and even set up a raise schedule.
What's Your Ideal Income?
When you use the freelance rate calculator to determine your base rates, you use it in advanced mode by clicking the "Advanced Freelance Rate Calculator" link near the top of the tool. Then you enter your current living expenses and business expenses to figure out the minimum amount you need to charge to make ends meet.
You can figure out your ideal freelance writing income (and the rates you need to charge to reach it) in very much the same way.
This time, start by picturing your ideal situation.
Do you want to be in a different home with a different mortgage or rent amount? Do you wish you could take a big vacation every year that you can't afford right now? Do you want to be able to hire help (either for your business or around your house)? Do you wish you had more paid time off or that you could work fewer hours without losing income? Do you wish you had more to set aside in savings? Do you wish you had more money to invest?
When you go through the freelance writing rate calculator in its advanced mode, plug in these new numbers instead.
That's all there is to it. The tool will let you know how much you need to earn in gross income each year through your freelancing, and it will let you know how much you have to charge per billable hour to reach that goal.
Converting Your Ideal Rates Into a Raise Schedule
Don't panic if your ideal income equals a much higher hourly rate. You don't have to make a huge leap from a current rate of $50 per hour to a higher rate of $150 per hour for example. What matters is that you know your end goal.
Decide how long you're willing to wait to reach that goal. Be realistic here. If you've only been in business for a year, your experience probably won't justify a $100 per hour raise hike yet. Focus on things that make your writing worth more to clients -- more experience in your specialty niche, improved credentials or education if it makes sense, etc.
Once you have a timeline in place, figure out how much you would need to raise rates each year (or however often you normally adjust your rates) to reach your goal in your ideal time frame. So, for example, if you wanted to increase your rates by another $100 per hour over five years, you might add a $20 per hour rate increase at the start of each year.
You can make more drastic changes if necessary. Just know that doing so can mean targeting a very different market. Prepare early for it, and you can make it happen.
Now is the perfect time to start evaluating your current situation to decide if you should raise your freelance writing rates in the New Year. Are you satisfied with your current earnings? Or is it time to make a change?