Why You Need To Charge Low Rates As A Beginner Freelancer

It could be the start of your bright career

Zidni Ilman
3 min readJan 1, 2024
Photo by Igal Ness on Unsplash

Freelancing was part of my life back then when I was still unemployed. I would bid for every writing project I saw on Upwork. It was a great way to get recognized and if lucky, get a job from a client.

Writing was one of the skills I chose to offer. It is simple and doesn’t need much effort and tools. You only need the willingness to learn and the intention to write.

On Upwork, I’ve been writing for several clients, from Europe, the US, and China. I mostly wrote for US clients, since they filled most job listing proposals.

The Reality of Freelance Work Is Not As Fascinating As You Seen On Social Media

However, freelancing doesn’t always give you the dream income you imagine. Most clients only pay you with low rates. If you get one project with good pay, it usually needs a lot of work or months of work (I used to write for 5000 words or more to get good pay for one project).

Yeah, I know it sucks.

But don’t be pessimistic. Behind every struggle, there is a reward that’s waiting to be uncovered. Low rates at freelancing were one of those rewards in my life.

Lower rates don’t always mean you can’t get a bigger payment. There are lots of online work that are waiting for you to try. I would never expect that today I’ll work as an Amazon product sourcer that was coming last year.

When I asked my boss what the reason he chose me as his next long-term product-sourcing virtual assistant on Upwork, he came up with a short and direct answer, it’s because your freelancing rates are low.

He said he needed someone who had an excellent understanding of English and decent portfolios of work and that’s it, he got what he wanted. If I used to write 1000 words for 5 dollars, now I only research cheaper products outside of Amazon for $3 an hour of total 7 hours of work (bonuses not included).

You can customize your rates on the Upwork profile and by doing this, let’s say, a client who wants to search for a freelancer with a range of payment between $5-$10 will immediately show you as one of the top results for the work.

Make sure you list and write the skills that you offered on Upwork with concise and clear descriptions. Not forgetting the work portfolios you’ve done before, the algorithm on Upwork surely will take care of the rest and put you at the top of clients’ search results.


Whatever freelance work you do at that time or right now, you do not need to charge big rates — no need to rush for the money. See if there is a new opportunity you can approach and learn it well.

That new opportunity could be the next bright career you never expected from the start. It could be your new work and pays decent or even higher compared to your prior freelancing work.

Open up yourself with the avenue of every kind of work possibility that you’d never imagine you would work on. And from there, the magic will continue to happen throughout your life.



Zidni Ilman

Hello, I'm Zidni and I work as an Amazon product sourcer for a US private company.