• Advice

The bad freelancer’s guide to asking for raises

There comes an awkward, irritating point in almost every freelancer’s working life – wherein you must ask a client for a raise, or inform them that your rates are going up. The good news is that a few simple tips can make this process much simpler, and guarantee that you’ll be bringing home the big bucks!*

*That, or clearing out your desk. Don’t forget to steal a stapler!

Don’t ask

Don’t ask. Instead, get your rates raised by telepathically beaming the request into your supervisor’s skull! Hold your breath every time you open a check; hope for accounting errors that double your pay. When no extra money materializes, become furiously resentful. Begin telepathically beaming revenge fantasies, instead.

Ask immediately

Like, the day you start.


Listen, it’s a war out there! It’s not a time to play Ms. Nice Freelancer! March into that office, fix ‘em with a gimlet-eyed stare, and demand your dollars! Be sure to think up a few pointed threats, in case they waffle. They don’t want to pay up, they can KISS THEIR SNAPPY TWITTER CONTENT GOODBYE!

Don’t have a definite goal in mind

Improvise! Your yoga teacher is always telling you to live in the moment, right? That’s twice as true during negotiations. Gauge how much money you should ask for by “reading the room.” You’d like… twice as much money. No, your client’s eyelid twitched! You’d like, um, 50% more money! His eyebrow went up! You’d like… 10% more? WHAT WAS THAT NOISE? IS THIS PLACE BUGGED AND WHY ARE YOU SWEATING SO MUCH?

You’d like a 5% raise and the chance to forget this ever happened.


You’re sorry for asking for more money. You’re sorry if your work isn’t 100000% perfect, all the time. You’re sorry for taking up their valuable time. You’re sorry for: ingrown toenails, car alarms, muffled subway announcements, junk mail, dust bunnies, unibrows, that beep-beep-beep sound the stove keeps making for no reasons, and the DMV – in no particular order. You're sorry about breathing.

… you’ll see yourself out.

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Explain. Then explain again. Then again, and again…

Concise requests are for the birds. Write your client a novella, justifying your request! Chances are they’ll just get exhausted on page 45 and throw money at you.

You need a raise because once upon a time, in a state far, far away, you were born at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. You were a precocious baby, able to discern shapes and colors at an astonishingly young age; something which led to your current career in graphic design, for which you deserve a raise. You became potty-trained at only one year old – an example of your inborn drive for greatness, for which you deserve a raise. And THEN….

It goes without saying that you should not follow Bad Freelancer’s advice. That is why she is evil and bad. Do the opposite of these things.

Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.