The Freelance Rate Show

EP90: The Freelance Rate Show

The tools and resources I used to help me find my base freelance rate.

My exact process and calculate a freelance rate from start to finish with you.

What is a P&L Statement?

Today’s episode 90:
Take the first steps in figuring out your bottom line freelance rate, or the rate you need to charge in order to cover your expenses and reach your annual income target or goal.

Mike’s Personal Note:
I struggle with pricing and charging clients. Knowing how much to charge for creative freelance services and projects is really hard. I never do the same job twice and most projects require creative processes so it is hard to estimate time.

Pricing and rates are like everything else, it takes time, practice, experience and trial and error to figure it out.

Know your numbers
The most critical step in pricing is knowing the numbers of your business. How much do you spend and how much do you need to make to survive (and hopefully thrive).

How To Calculate Your Freelance Rate:

Tools I Used:

Freshbooks: for invoicing and expenses
GSuite & Google Sheets
Mint iOS App
Creative Live Freelance Calculator




Step 1:
How much do you want to make per year?

Step 2:
What is your CODB or Cost of Doing Business?

Office Rent
Web Hosting
Office Supplies
Project Mgt tools (Google Suite, Dropbox Pro)
Computer/Laptop maybe (every 2+ years-I wish)
Software & Subscriptions(Adobe CC, Freshbooks, Libsyn, Amazon Prime, Spotify?Skillshare?,)
Bad Debit or Accounts Payable hopefully not, but it happens (clients that don’t pay)
Accounting & Legal
Travel & Education

Step 3:
What are your personal expenses and cost of living expenses?

Cost of Living Expenses (Rent + Utilities)

Step 4:
Adjusted annual income = Income Goal + Expenses

Step 5:
Billable Hours (how many hours a day can you actually charge clients)

Step 6:
Freelance Rate = Adjusted Income/Billable Hours


Calculate Your Freelance Rate

Step1: How much do you want to make annually?

$100,000 (go big or go home)

Step 2: CODB (Cost of Doing Business)

Step 3: Personal Expenses

Step 4: Adjusted Target Income
+12,000 (CODB)
+18,000 (Personal)
=$130,000 (Adjusted Target Income)

Step 5: Billable Hours
Working Days (8 hours per day)
40 hrs/week * 52 weeks a year
= 2,080 total working hours

Vacation (3 Weeks Total):
15 weekdays in 3 weeks * 8 hours per day
= 120 hours for vacation days

Sick Days (5 days)
So 5 days at 8 hours/day
= 40 hours for sick days

Holidays (7 days)
7 days * 8 hours/day
=56 Holiday Hours

2080 Hours Per Year
–120 Vacation
–40 Hours Sick
–56 Holiday


Minus 25% to allow for Non-Billable Time (admin, marketing, networking…)

1864 x .75


Adjusted Target Income: $130,000
Billable Hours: 1398

Freelance Rate:

What is Profit & Loss Statement (P&L):

A report that shows income and expenses for a specific time period. A great way to get a snapshot of your net profit (are you making money!?)




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The Proposal Show

EP89: The Proposal Show

In today’s show I share my process for writing proposals and estimates and the tools I use to get the job done.

In Today’s episode 89:

How do I write freelance proposals?
How do I organize the proposal template?
What questions do I ask clients?
What tools do I use?

  1. My process for creating a freelance project proposal
  2. The tools I use.
  3. Key terms & definitions
  4. What questions to ask
  5. The proposal template (organization)
  6. Tips & Red Flag Warnings

Future Shows to cover:
Pricing & Contracts/Invoices

Key Terms:

Estimates are a ball-park figure of what it will cost the client for you to do the job.

Quotes are bottom line price of what you will do the job for. If a client accepts your quote, then that is the final price for the job.

Bids are competing with several other businesses all trying to get the same job. Bids are common in construction and trade jobs, etc.

Proposals are the complete package and a detailed document explaining the details of the project, what solutions you can offer, why you are best for the job and quotes and estimates and timelines for what it will take you to get the job done.

Proposals in short: What does the client need? How are you going to get the job done and for how much? And what makes you the best person for the job?

The Freelancer Proposal.

Writing a proposal or estimate is an art form and just like everything in life, it takes time and experience to master it.

My Proposal Process:

3 Questions I modified from Gary Vee:

How are you judging me?
What do I need to do in order to meet your expectations and consider my role a success? This helps me know if I am the right guy for the job and tells them that I care about their project and understand what my role is.

What results are you looking for from this project?
You can never assume you know what the people really want or why they want to do the project even if it seems obvious.

What are your struggles or obstacles are in their business?
This will help you create better solutions if you can pull out the real issues. Are sales down? or are they not getting traffic to their website? or any number of things.

Keys to a good proposal:
Asking questions, listening for obvious and underlying cues and then offering a solution or course of action that you can deliver on because you are the best person for the job and this is what hiring me is going to cost you


Phase 1: The Discovery Process/ Q&A

Step 1:
Gather contact information and create master folder.

Tools Used:
Google Forms
Google Drive


Step 2:
Set up a 30–60 minute phone or Skype call or an in-person meeting and make it all about making a connection, identifying the what and whys of the project and listening to their explanation of the project and asking as many questions as possible.

Tools Used:
Google Calendar

Tip: Take good notes

Tip & Red Flag Warning:
Trust your gut and instincts.

If the prospective client only wants to know the price and does not have the patience or time to give you the necessary information to prepare a proposal or estimate, say thank you, but you are not the person. Walk away. It’s scary especially if you are strapped for money, but it is the right thing to do sometimes.

Phase 2: My Proposal Template

Tool I Use:
Google Docs.

Design Tip:
Nice Presentation and simplicity of a proposal are important. Try to keep everything easy to scan or glance over and break each major sections up so it is very clear to read.

Top of the proposal
I have the client name and information, project name and then I have prepared by: Mike Murphy and the date as and if there is a completion date that must be done by, put that up top. Prepare your proposals as a template so you can use over and over again.

Next Segment is Description & Project Scope:
Define the project and summarize everything.
Spell this out clearly.

This is what the project entails.
List goals of the project
List steps or tasks

Detail the Process
After the summary and scope, get very detailed and specific with steps and explaining what everything meant and why I think that would be the best option for them.

Define the steps in laymen’s terms so everyone is on the same page and it gives you an authority boost.

I listed the social media sites that would be best for them and provided examples of what types of content would help them achieve their goals and genuinely tried basically made a blueprint that was easy to follow and clearly showed I had their best interests in mind.

Phase 03: The Estimate Segment.

line items on the very last page

Break everything down into major tasks like website design and then put all the subtasks underneath.

Show much work is really involved
Pay attention to detail

At the bottom of all the line items, add up the totals and that is your fee to complete the job.

How long will this job take to complete?



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The Podcast Checkup Show

EP88: The Podcast Checkup Show

What is the status of podcasting in terms of growth and popularity?

How can podcasting benefit your small business and brand in today’s rapidly changing technology world?

Breakdown of Episode 88:

Brief history of podcasting

Findings from annual reports on podcasting by Edison Research and Bridge Findings.

My perspective on the future of podcasting and Benefits of podcasting for your small business or brand whether you are a brick and mortar business or online business.

Origin of Podcasting

Portmanteau (/ˌpôrtˈmantō/): is a blend of multiple words or their (sounds) are combined into a new word.

Examples of Portmanteu:

Motorists and hotel =motel

Smoke and fog=smog

Emotion and icons=emoticon

Spoon & Fork=spork

Turkey, Duck & Chicken=Turducken.

Apple iPod + Broadcast = Podcast (coined by BBC journalist by Ben Hammersley in 2004)

Definition of Podcast: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device and new installments can be received by subscribers automatically using Real Simple Syndication or RSS feeds.

Podcasts started in the early 2000’s

Podcasts caught on in 2005 when Apple added podcasting to iTunes.

What is the difference between Podcasting vs. Traditional Radio:

Podcasts are often called Internet or Web Radio.

Broadcast or Traditional AM/FM radio is referred to as “terrestrial radio”

1. One significant difference between podcasts and terrestrial radio is podcasting is on-demand meaning podcast listeners can choose when and what they listen to. Plus, RSS feeds enables podcast listeners to subscribe to podcasts so they get notified when new episodes are released.

2. Another big difference is podcasts cover a wide range of topics and niches and radio must appeal to a broad audience.

Podcast Reports:

Released in Spring of 2017, two market research reports were published about podcasting:

Edison Research and Bridge Ratings.

2017 Bridge Ratings Report (Report 1):

3 problem areas of podcasting that need to be solved in order for podcasting to succeed and those are:

Ease of Use- it has to be really easy for listeners to pull up podcasts on any device. Agreed.

Search- Discovering content needs to be effective.

Better metrics for revenue generation. Meaning, the only way podcasts will survive is if the creators and sponsors can make money.

Technology to help Podcasting:

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas showcased a lot of tech that solved all three of these podcast needs and voice-activated tech like Amazon Alexa and Google Home along with Bluetooth will give podcasting a good bump.


In August of 2016:

–64% of people surveyed said they had no interest in podcasts.

–25% of people said they had ever listened to a podcast

In February 2017:

-Only 48% of people surveyed said they had no interest in podcasts.

-Jump to 45% of people saying they have listened to a podcast

The Bridge Ratings Report findings for why people do not like podcasts:

1. They don’t know how to find them or what to do with them

2. They don’t have the time or patience to listen to podcasts

3. They were too boring, long or too much rambling.

The reasons people liked podcasting:

1. They can find a podcast about any niche

2. You can listen while doing other things like exercising

3. They’re free

4. They can be educational

5. Meet other people with similar interests.

2017 Edison Research (Report 2):

Monthly listeners are growing from 21% to 24%

Age range of podcasters predominately 18–54 with slightly more men

Podcast listeners tend to be educated and more affluent

People listen to podcasts mostly at home with vehicles closing in at a close second.

Podcasts are the most popular type of audio content listened to (over music)

What is my perspective on podcasting?

Podcasting will thrive because of mobile devices and ease of access using voice-activated technologies (Alexa) and integration of podcasting in car stereos.

I think reading books is going to decline and podcasts will fill the educational and entertainment void for the busy worker bees.

Why Start a Podcast?:

1. Reach Spread your brand reach to a larger audience.

2. Community. Build a bigger and stronger community of loyal fans and clients.

3. Establish Authority. Podcasting about your thing or your business or your passion automatically gives you and your business social proof and helps you establish yourself as a leader and expert in your industry or topic area.

4. Self-Development & Growth. Podcasting will help you grow as an individual and brand. A better you is a better brand or business.

5. Revenue & Opportunities. Podcasts can lead to business opportunities, more clients or customers and if your audience grows or you have a specialty niche or strong local presence, you could make some money from sponsors.



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The Client Workflow Show

EP87: The Client Workflow Show

How do I organize client information, schedule meetings and appointments and invoice clients for services?

My 10-step start to finish workflow for working with clients as a freelance business includes:

How do I keep track of client information?
How do I schedule and manage the calendar?
How do I organize projects and jobs?
How do I keep track of time working on projects?
How do I invoice and collect payment?

My Business

Mike Murphy LLC is a creative freelance services and consulting business for local and online businesses. I make digital content such as videos, podcasts, and written articles and I teach and consult others how to make online content to promote their business or brand.

In short: I help people figure things out.

Client Workflow Goals: Simplicity and access on all devices

Resources Mentioned:

GSuite (Formerly Google Apps)

CRMs (Client Resource Managers):
Capsule CRM
Full Contact

Google Forms


Invoicing & Accounting:

Google Docs
Dropbox Paper
Password Management


My 10-Step Client Workflow:

Step 1: Gather Contact Information:
Tools Used: My Contacts in Gmail

I input as much information as I can and write as many notes as possible as notes are searchable and also helps remember details of client.

Tip 01:
Look at email signature for contact info

Tip 02:
Go to contact page on website to find all social media channels and business address

Tip 03:
Have all of your contact info in your email signature.

Tip 04:
Create Intake Forms that gather everything you need to start a project including logos/assets

Tools I Recommend:
Google Forms


Step 2: Gmail Labels
Labels are essential folders in Gmail
All New Client Emails get a Label that is nested under Clients

Step 3: Google Drive
Similar To Dropbox
Clients get their own folder

Step 4: Google Calendar
All appointments, meetings, deadlines, commitments, trips, important dates goes on gCal

I set notifications to remind me 1 day before and 30 minutes before

Step 5: Apple Reminders
As soon as I put something on calendar or think of an idea I tell Siri to remind me.

Step 6: Calendly
I use this tool to send my calendar link. Clients can view my calendar with the times I control and they can pick a time slot. Calendly syncs with Google Calendar and will not offer times if I already have something booked.

Step 7: Freshbooks
For time tracking, estimates, invoicing and accounting and tracking expenses, I use Freshbooks which is $25/month and I can highly recommend.

Step 8: Google Docs
I create one Google Doc for each Client and use it as a running history log. I try to include everything I did for each consulting session or jobs that were done.

Google Docs for Collaboration.

Dropbox Paper is also excellent for collaboration if you are not a Gmail user.

Step 9: 1Password
I use a 1Password to manage all of my passwords and sensitive information. I keep client passwords and important data in a secure note in 1Password.

Step 10: Collect Payment in Freshbooks.
Send Thank you message and keep working hard to get more clients and more projects to work on. Do you need help with your content creation?



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Music: Life of Riley & Wallpaper (