How to Ask For a Salary Increase as a Freelance Digital Business Manager

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Alright – let’s get into the nitty-gritty of asking for a raise as a freelancer.

In the past 5 years as a freelancer working online, I’ve asked for raises a whole lot of times and I have very luckily – not once been rejected by an ask for a raise.

This is part 2 of a 2 part series, breaking down how to ask for raises as a freelance digital business manager – that entire process – as well as what to prepare for a salary chat and some of my tips.

Part 1 was about, why you should be asking for raises when to ask for raises as well as how much to ask for.

Make sure to check out part 1 if you haven’t read that yet! Or, you can watch it here:

YouTube video

What to Prepare Before Asking for a Salary Increase:

Okay – so here’s the full list of what to prepare for a salary reevaluation.

  1. ACCOMPLISHMENTS

All of your accomplishments + goals achieved in the past ‘x time period’ working with the client.

  1. RESULTS

A list of specific results + metrics to share from your work together – aka numbers – pull out as many numbers as you possibly can.

  1. DEVELOPMENT

List of training + development you’ve done in the meantime that benefits the client – so any courses, events you’ve attended, tools or skill upgrades, etc.

  1. COMPLIMENTS

1-2 specific compliments for the client and your work together – don’t forget to come prepared with something nice to write about how much you enjoyed collaborating with them and how much you respect them for ‘xyz reasons’.

  1. SCOPE CHANGES

How your job scope has increased/changed to benefit the client – is your job different in any way? Has your client added more and more to your plate? Are you doing higher-level tasks?

  1. FUTURE PLANS

How you plan to bring even more value in the coming 6-12 months to the client – how you can’t wait to help them with ‘XYZ’, and help them see and get excited for the future of continuing to work with you.

  1. TIME FRAME

The ideal time frame of the raise if you have one – like ‘I’m looking to increase my rates latest by March 1st.

  1. IDEAL INCREASE

Ideal increase based on market/industry research – so this is what you ideally want that’s fair. This can be a secret number or you can write it into the email like ‘I’m looking ideally for an increase up to $42/hr.

  1. MINIMUM INCREASE

Minimum increase based on market/industry research – and this is what you at a minimum need to want to continue working with them.

This should be a secret number if you’re giving an ideal number because otherwise, they’ll just give you your minimum.

This is an optional number – it depends on how much you want the raise vs. how much you want the client.

  1. GOOD ATTITUDE

And finally, a good attitude and willingness to talk openly with this client.

How to Ask For a Raise as a Freelance Digital Business Manager

Alright now, let’s dive into how to ask for the raise itself.

So first up, before you even get around to the salary raise you HAVE to ask yourself this very important question:

And that question is: How okay are you with potentially losing this client?

If the answer is – ‘I’m okay with it, they’re seriously underpaying me, it’s not worth it to me anymore unless they raise my rates.’

Then you tell them your rates are going up – you don’t ask them.

You’re raising your rates as of ‘X date’ and you’re letting them know that this is happening.

Obviously, draft it in a friendly manner but the point here is you inform them, you’re not asking for permission.

However, If the answer to that question – how okay are you with potentially losing the client isI don’t want to lose them. I don’t want to risk it at all” – then you ask them for a raise and open it up for discussion.

Alright, then the next step is to consider the timing of the salary reevaluation discussion.

Make sure it’s not a stressful time for your client – that they’re not dealing with a list of 2393 things and everyone is upset at them and there is financial stress or it’s tax season etc.

The best timing is probably after a successful project wraps that you were really helpful on – for example, as a freelance digital business manager, I liked to time my raises for after successful launches – there’s cash flow… the client is happy… the client sees how useful I am.

Bam. Good timing.

Now, it’s recommended to open up the salary increase discussion over email first because giving the client more time to read and think about it rather than opening the discussion up live on a call.

That’s catching someone off guard and they probably need time to think + crunch numbers anyway.

So it’s less confrontational via email.

Send the email first to share all the items you prepared to “persuade” the client on your salary increase, as mentioned at the beginning of the blog – the whole checklist.

And then add that you would like to discuss it via a call in more detail to hear any thoughts they have.

If instead, you’re informing them that you are increasing your rates instead of asking – ALWAYS give them at least 2 months notice upfront.

The salary reevaluation email template that I personally use is linked here for $7 if you want to grab that and copy and paste.

Otherwise, you can definitely just use the checklist to craft a message yourself.

Then at your next call, discuss your request for a salary increase once they’ve had time to think about it.

3 Possible Scenarios on the Call:

Scenario #1: YES!

They say yes. Woohoo! Awesome. High five.

Scenario #2: Maybe!

They say maybe – if they say maybe, find a compromise.

Work with them...

See what their hesitations are and problem solve it with the client – Can you increase your rates a little less than you ideally wanted to for now and reevaluate again in 6 months?

Can you push the salary increase back 1-2 months to wait for more cash flow for the business?

Can you take on more responsibility and essentially promote yourself to be more valuable to the business owner to justify the raise?

Scenario #3: NO!

If they say no, try to figure out the underlying reason.

Ask them for feedback on what you can do to better so that you can address a raise again in the future.

Be genuine about it – Don’t be salty.

You can be salty in private. 😉

But you WANT to know why and how to get better genuinely.

If it’s fair feedback that they are giving you and you recognize you could be doing better to deserve a raise, then work on those things seriously, show them you are putting in the work, and circle back in 3-6 months again.

If they say no because financially, now is a bad time, be empathetic to that – it is a stressful time for any business owner – then ask them for a date in the future to talk about this again – ‘I totally hear you. Would we be able to revisit this again in 3 months instead?’

6 Tips for Raising Your Rates as a Freelance Digital Business Manager

Alright – let’s wrap up with a few tips for raising your rates as a freelancer.

  1. Do it one client at a time

Don’t ask for a salary increase across all clients at the same time.

We want to play it safe, right? We want to test rates slowly. We want to lower our risk as a freelancer so make sure you go slow.

Increase your rates with the clients that are less important to your stability first then slowly move all clients over to your new rates.
  1. What’s in it for them?

Make sure when you’re listing out reasons for your raise – that you’re listing out things that are beneficial for the client.

Don’t talk about how you need a raise for personal XYZ because even though that’s what you might be using your raise for – it’s not what the client is thinking about.

They’re thinking about: “what will I get out of giving you a raise?

  1. Track your time

This one I like to do internally because it gives me a better understanding of how much time each client REALLY takes.

We are not great at estimating how much time we work on specific clients, especially if you context switch a lot and work on all clients instead of time blocking for clients.

Track your time to figure out really which clients should be paying you more because they do take up way more time than others do.

  1. GIVE A DISCOUNT

Give existing clients a discount when raising rates.

I like to do this because it gives existing clients this hint of ‘you’re getting something special because you’re a current client‘ and who doesn’t like a discount and a good deal?

So as an example, you might say – ‘I’m increasing my rates to $50/hr as of X date, but seeing as you’re a current client and we’ve worked together for so long, I’m more than happy to offer you a discounted rate of $45/hr.

They now know publicly what your rates are and that they’re getting a secret private little deal. Score.

  1. ADJUST YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE

Understand if someone is too cheap to pay you what you deserve – they’re probably not your target audience anymore.

Again, pricing is relative – what’s expensive for one person is cheap for another.

A solopreneur that’s pre-revenue and using their savings to start their business has a completely different budget than an established 7-figure online business with a team of 30 and external funding.

So do your research, give context as to why you’re pricing this amount, and if they’re not able to match what is fair for you to be paid, then move on and find clients that make more sense for what you’re trying to charge.
  1. WORK ON YOUR MONEY MINDSET

Finally, pricing is interwoven with mindset more so than anything else I have seen as a freelancer.

Money mindset determines so much of how you see money, your relationship with it, of the thought process you go through when you think about charging X amount or asking for a raise.

If you notice there are a lot of negative connotations that come up for you when you think about charging more, do some homework on that.

Read up on a money mindset, understand where those preconceived notions come from and how to dismantle those so they don’t hold you back anymore.

If you’re looking for help on when to ask for a salary increase, how much to ask for, or why you should be regularly asking for raises then make sure to check out show part 1 which I’m linking here.

Alright – I hope that was useful. If this helps you ask for a raise, let me know below because I want to cheer you on in your journey to making that cash money as a freelancer.

Want ALL the juicy details on how to work online as a digital business manager?

Check out my FREE intro class which goes over what exactly a digital business manager does day-to-day, how much I make as a DBM, my 5-step plan to get you started and more!

What's in this post?

Want ALL the juicy details on how to work online as a digital business manager?

Check out my FREE intro class which goes over what exactly a digital business manager does day-to-day, how much I make as a DBM, my 5-step plan to get you started and more!