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I'm a freelancer who offers services, and I've found that the best way to have the rates conversation is to --- not have the rates conversation! I achieve that by publishing all of my rates, openly, on my website (which is my only source of client acquisition). It's the second-most visited page after the home page and details exactly how much it will cost to hire me to do X, Y, or Z.

It's great, because it means my potential clients self-select (or not) to my services, depending on their budgets. My pricing psychologically positions me as a certain type of freelancer (in my case, a specialist B2B content marketer with experience in fairly esoteric niches, and my rates reflect that.) Because clients know how much I will cost before they contact me, they only contact me if I'm within their budget.

This means I haven't had to negotiate on rates for at least three years, and I have a full roster. I fully realize that this approach will not work for everyone (it's a purely inbound channel) - but it can certainly help to avoid some of those awkward conversations!

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