Infographic: How to Calculate Your Freelance Hourly Rate

how much to charge as a freelancer

Here’s a hard question: What is your time really worth?

When you’re a freelancer, it can be really hard to tell. As a full-time employee, your salary also takes into consideration business costs like health care, licensing, taxes, and other business essentials, but when you work for yourself, you’ve got to cover all of that and more.

This is a serious consideration if you’re thinking of quitting your job in pursuit of leading a more fulfilling, self-employed career. To start, you need to feel confident when you enter a room and state your price. For a more stress-free way of testing your way into entrepreneurship, whether you’re still looking for the best side business idea that can eventually become a scalable enterprise, or you know you want to go freelance full-time, I’d recommend starting your freelance career while you’re still working your day job.

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That way, you have the opportunity to build up your side income, put away some savings, and bring on a few consistent clients that’ll help you justify making the leap to self-employment once you’re ready.

Often, in the interest of netting new clients and seeming like a more attractive hire, freelancers will charge as little as possible, hoping to make up for your low rates by sheer volume. This kind of pricing, which photographer Sue Bryce calls a “survival rate,” is extremely risky, because it doesn’t take into account the ebb and flow of work, nor does it allow you to grow your business by expanding markets or investing in marketing. This way of thinking is also a major point of contention with Ariana Orland, who teaches Becoming a Successful Freelancer here on CreativeLive.


When you charge enough to not only survive, but thrive, says Sue, “you find better prospects and clients. It is that simple.”

“You find people who can pay what you need to earn…then you ask them for it,” she explains.

But how do you find out how much is enough to really grow your business? What’s your thriving rate?

We’ve created a handy graphic to help you figure it out. (Click to expand).

How to Calculate Your Freelance Hourly Rate Infographic by CreativeLive Final

Looking for more resources that’ll help you launch a successful freelance career? See what our friends at Freelancer’s Union are up to, and check out the Freelance Hourly Rate Calculator by MotivApp to see all the incredible free resources they have to offer freelancers, both new and experienced.

Whether you’re just launching your freelance career, or you’re ready to take your business to the next level, download our free eBook on Launching a Successful Freelance Career.


This infographic was designed by Rachel Frankel. Architected by Ryan Robinson.

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Content marketing consultant to the world's top experts and growing startups. Online educator at where I share business advice and teach entrepreneurs how to start a blog and other side businesses. Check out my post on the best business ideas, read about how I validated a business idea in just 30 days, get my recommendations for the best business books, and check out my favorite motivational quotes.