It’s okay to be expensive as long as you’re exceptional.
As long as you treat every client as an opportunity to hone your craft.
As long as you deliver something that those who do the work for cheap simply cannot be bothered to deliver.
There are clients who seek hard working people (aka you) to do the job. Seek these clients. If someone posts a job offering, tell them you’re expensive. But don’t just tell them you’re expensive. Show them the work that backs up your $500 hourly rate. You can do this even if you’re not the best in your field. In fact, most clients don’t care that you’re not the best in the entire field of copywriting or video editing or whatever it is you do.
If a client is looking for a freelancer, and you show up with an expensive rate and beautiful work to prove it, then, boom! You’re suddenly the best in their world. The client doesn’t have time to do the work you’re offering (that’s why they’re hiring you), let alone window shop for the best freelancers on the market.
Positioning yourself as expensive (and proving it) removes a huge portion of competition. Your exceptionality will lead you to exceptional clients. Exceptional clients will challenge you to do exceptional work. Doing exceptional work for exceptional clients will make your craft better, which will make you more expensive.
The reverse of this is true. Positioning yourself as cheap (and proving it) adds a huge portion of competition. Your cheapness will lead you to cheap clients. Cheap clients will not test you. If anything, they’ll test your patience because they haven’t got a clue about what this project should be, and they expect you to have all the answers. Doing cheap work for cheap clients will make your work worse, which will make you cheaper.
Most freelancers choose to compete at the bottom of the barrel. I hope you don’t do this. You’re undermining your dignity and soiling the art of your craft.
Few freelancers choose to compete at the altitude of exceptionality. I hope you do this. I hope you choose to be expensive.
Because your time is valuable. Your skills are valuable. You are valuable and the world needs your art.
Freelancers, please be expensive.