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Add value to your work when you sell services

Clients & Customers

The verdict is out — everyone is telling you to raise your prices. However, 1. you don’t know how 2. you’re insecure about doing so. Last month I talked about believing in your value in order to charge the right prices.

So that means you either don’t know the value of your work or you’re not solidifying a process that makes raising your prices valuable enough to your client.

All of the abundance coaches out there talk about your value as a person. That can’t be quantified and that’s definitely an internal job. I’m talking more about the one-on-one service you provide in order to keep your business alive.

The woo-woo advice was really difficult for me to relate it. It felt like fluff and not enough of an action plan. Sometimes we’re limited by environment, experience, or circumstance. I wanted a framework to find a better way to see the value of my service.

Let’s go with the first scenario: you’re not solidifying a process that adds value in order to make your prices justifiable to clients. (If this isn’t you, skip to the next point).

I’ve noticed that designers and other creatives can be heavy on one side of the business spectrum and light on the other. They’re amazing artists but don’t know how to sell their services, or they’re great at selling but could use a little work on the end product.

Sometimes you have to go back to the basics. Sure, you don’t have to go to college anymore in order to have a fulfilling career. Are there benefits though? Sure! Design students learn about the history, the roots, the foundational pieces of design that make things meaningful. They are also trained to be more disciplined with design principles—grids, layouts, etc.

So if you’re self-taught and you decided to follow your dreams and start freelancing, that’s great! But you feel insecure about your work and you don’t know how to stop feeling that way. Well, I hate to break it to you, but the first few pieces you put out won’t be your best. But that’s a good thing! As creatives, we NEED to be constantly improving.

If you’re insecure about designs, it’s time to learn the history, the pioneers of design—the basics. Even something that simple will help solidify your knowledge and give you a strong start before you open up Illustrator. And with that, it doesn’t stop. There needs to be deliberate practice.

Are you trying to land a client in the beverage industry? It’s time to dream up personal projects that stretch your abilities so you can show what you’re capable of. Deliberate practice means that you are using practical applications in order to get better. It’s kind of like learning guitar with a simple song to help you with rhythm and strumming instead of only doing practicing scales for 4 hours. Know the basics if you haven’t, and then apply that to the real world.

Okay, now let’s get into the second scenario: you don’t know how to add value to your work or what that means.

The bottom line is that you need to make money in order to make a living. Simple, right? But sometimes that doesn’t reflect when you’re charging $50 or $100 for a logo design.

Let me make it more complicated for you— $50 is better than nothing if you’re not getting ANY work. So let me guide you on whether you should take on a cheap project or not.

  1. Have you set time aside to market your business or make connections? If you’re lacking in leads, you need to start there.
  2. How long will this project take? If it’s a cheap price, it needs to be paid upfront and you need to have an agreement that it will be done in your timeline.
  3. Will this lead to better projects? Honestly, the answer is almost always no if it’s that cheap.

All of this to say, you need to book it in your calendar to spend (if you’re really time-starved), at least an hour a week to network, market yourself, or directly contact people.

People tell you that you should just raise prices, and I say it depends.

First, are you calculating what your time is worth and what it will cost to keep things afloat?

It’s necessary to have a baseline because you don’t want to work only to be LOSING money by putting in too many hours for something with no benefit. So if you realize you’re not charging enough, raise it based on your cost of living.

Second, are you getting enough leads or getting booked out?

Many will tell you to raise prices whenever you feel like it. And that is absolutely a freedom we can all exercise. However, if you’re not getting enough work, focus on getting enough clients inquiring about your services (at your baseline prices) and then raise it!

There’s no real schedule. You can do it the next month, the next quarter, or the next year.

The results, the inquiries, and the money speak!

I’m just tired of too many people marketing to designers and freelancers about taking a course and then being able to 10x prices, but it still leaves many people struggling.

They don’t talk about the realities of the market and the skills you need to have in place.

The good news is, because of the internet and all the resources available, you really can do it faster than people have been able to! But just like anything in life, you need to be constantly learning, gaining new knowledge, and then practicing your skills.

Knowledge = confidence.

If you’re taken courses, a class, or even listened to an informative podcast, you feel happy, enlightened, and ready to go.

Don’t ever forget that as you continue this small business owner journey.

Within all of the “10x” marketing messages, your ability to be disciplined and take your craft seriously will speak volumes as you learn all these new business tactics. They’re all good if it can align with what you want to do and you don’t forget about the quality of what you’re bringing to the table.

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