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Believe it or not, the gender pay gap is evident across all industries — even for the self-employed. According to HoneyBook, women working in the creative economy make a third less than their male counterparts.  If you fall into that unfortunate statistic, it may feel as if your hands are tied when it comes to closing the pay gap. But there are proactive measures you can take to improve your situation.  

Learn what you should earn

The same studies concluding women in the freelance world are paid less than men indicate most people are unaware of the discrepancy, falsely believing men and women are being paid the same with all other things being equal.  On top of that, as Freelance Effect points out, how you price your work influences how others see your quality.  With that in mind, it’s important to educate yourself on the going rates in your field.  Entry level workers will have lower rates for freelancing, but your pay should increase with experience and ability.  Do some research to find where you fit in the equation, via the web or asking your male counterparts. For instance, you can check data collected for freelance web developers and designers based on location, experience, and expertise.  

Dispel the myth

Being able to express your value to others in a meaningful way is a good starting point for improving your situation. Start by reviewing your resume, and consider the various resume formats to best display your skills, experience, and abilities.  Would a functional resume be most effective, or a chronological one?  Or perhaps a combination of the two? Look for an eye-catching, clean, professional presentation to impress clients and distinguish you from other freelancers.  Use that as a stepping stone toward self-promotion.  Learn how to talk about what you do and how well you do it.  Communicating effectively about your accomplishments can be key to your success.

Taking the plunge?

Perhaps you’re well-established in your field and you’re taking the plunge into freelance from the corporate world.  Your salary was set in the old environment, but how do you determine an appropriate rate for your freelance work? Will you charge hourly, daily, or by the project? Crunching some numbers can help clear things up.  For instance, if you intend to charge an hourly rate, Creative Live suggests you start by deciding what your annual income needs to be.  List out your expenses and tally them for the course of the year, and remember expenses your employer used to manage, such as your taxes, retirement, and health care.  Figure in how many hours per week you plan to work, and how much time off you need per year. You might find a freelance rate calculator is a handy tool.  

Explore marketing strategies

How familiar are your clients with your skills, experience, and abilities?  Staying in touch with your customers reminds them they are important to you, and it keeps them informed and engaged with your journey.  Reach out to ensure they are aware of your ongoing success, letting them know about accomplishments in your work. Did you hit a new high in your customer base?  Thank them for helping you reach that number. Did you attend a professional seminar? Express how insightful it was and that you look forward to applying what you learned.  Use the internet as a marketing tool, emailing newsletters and posting on social media about what’s moving and shaking in your world.  Doing so only continues to draw attention to you and why you’re worth hiring.

If you are underpaid, it’s time to take the bull by the horns.  Learn what your rate should be, price yourself accordingly, and keep your clients informed.  Closing the gender pay gap is challenging, but you’re worth it.

Written by Lucy Reed.

Lucy Reed created GigMine to help like-minded entrepreneurs take advantage of the growing sharing economy.