If faced with the same question, my answer would be an obvious “no”. I don’t think lowering your rates is the solution. I believe in putting a premium on your work. If you feel that you deserve to be given a particular rate, then by all means quote that. However, we should do this within reason. Your rate should be backed up with the proper skills and experience. Without the two, you can never hope to charge more than the minimum. You can check out my other post on reasonable rates to give Filipino freelancers and use that as a guide in determining your rates.
You might be asking “But, what about those of us who are new in the business?” For new freelancers, hope is not lost. You can still charge a competitive rate if you do your research in advance. Read up on the necessary skills that are needed by an online freelancer. Invest in training materials. You can even find free basic courses online. The bottom line is, if you prepare yourself, you would have armed yourself with the skills already. Experience will come in due course.
The problem with lowering your rates is that you would need to work twice as much, twice as hard, to earn the amount that you desire. This will eventually wear you out and your productivity will suffer. It will be counter-productive for you to do so. The quality of your output will be compromised. If you set your desired rate, you won’t have to work for multiple clients at a time. This lowers your stress levels and lessens the number of projects that you will need to do at the same time.
Another bad thing about lowering your rates is that you will attract clients who are not willing to pay a higher rate. If this happens, there is a very big possibility that you will be stuck with the same rate for a very long time. This will eventually create resentment on your part and there will come a time when you will feel the need to move on to greener pastures and you would have to go through the application process all over again.
Another reason not to set unreasonably low rates is that you will inevitably affect other freelancers’ rates. If a lot of freelancers quote a low rate, employers will think that this is the standard and will stop hiring the services of those that quote a higher rate, never mind that they deserve it, in favor of those that get paid lower. We should think about the entire freelance community when we set out rates.
This is not to say that your rates should never be negotiable. You can set different rates for different types of online work. If you are hired for a long-term job, you can adjust your rates a little in exchange for a guaranteed paycheck, milestone bonuses, and other benefits. Just make sure that when you do adjust your rates, it is to an amount that you will be happy to receive.