Are you frustrated with working tirelessly day in and day out, just to make ends meet? You’re probably swamped with projects but the problem is that they’re not worth it because your bank account is just not showing it.
Say no to clients who take up all of your time and don’t pay you enough. And you can do this is by raising your prices.
Today, my average freelance design invoice is between $3,000-$5,000. My average website design fee is over $10K. I have solid, consistent work with clients that I love serving and that I took the time to get to know because I would not be able to provide value otherwise.
But it didn’t start out that way…
Starting out, I would say yes to every project. I did this for 2 reasons:
- to have projects so that I could make money
- to get experience so that I could get more work
As my workload increased, I struggled to say no to projects but I didn’t raise my rates.
And what happened?
- I was suffering from burn out
- Working late nights with tight deadlines
- Working for clients with small budgets
- Constantly being asked to reduce my rates
Then, I began to see things differently.
- I started valuing myself and my time more
- I was gaining experience and getting faster at my job
- My clients were consistently bringing me more work
So, I took a stand and shifted my strategy aimed at getting a higher income, better client goals, and outcomes…
Then, I made drastic changes to my business by:
- raising my rates incrementally each month
- scheduled no work on Fridays (which I used for overflow, and admin if needed)
- quit saying yes to every project
- quit making room in my schedule for rush projects
- started charging extra for projects that were a rush or required after-hours work
“The single most important decision in evaluating a business is pricing power” – Warren Buffet
Now, I command a premium rate because
- I’m an expert in design (print and online)
You see, establishing yourself as an industry expert is an “art form”. I did this through self-marketing and personal branding because that’s the only way that I could stand out from my competitors. I learned all that I could about graphic design as being an industry leader meant that I needed to know what others didn’t.
Since I’m an expert, I’m exposed to many other opportunities to generate income. And the best part is that a lot of opportunities find me. Gaining more prospects is easier as my reputation speaks for itself.
- I’m fast and efficient, yet overdeliver
Because I know what to do and how to solve the client’s design problems, I deliver the work faster. I’ve streamlined processes so that I don’t have to keep re-inventing the wheel every time I start a project.
Items such as checklists, online templates, and showing clients examples of what they would like is the basic procedure that I use.
- I give the client what they need
Although I consider what the client’s wants are, after consulting with them and discovering their goals, I give them what they need. This is not always the same as what they think they want.
As you know, design work is more than just placing a few shapes and images in a file. Understanding a concept such as color psychology allows me to create a design that meets between their wants and needs.
- I listen very carefully to my client before the project starts
I listen attentively to understand my client, their audience, and what their goal is. After all, their desires need to be met and I can only do this by listening.
Listening allows me to gain information, developing trust, and avoid conflict.
- I have high consideration for client feedback
Client feedback is vital for the project and for your business relationship. So, when I receive feedback, it’s important to implement what the client wants to achieve.
Both positive and negative feedback is paramount.
Negative feedback allows me to make changes and to remember to incorporate for future clients and avoid major mistakes
Positive feedback allows me to ask for referrals and testimonials. These help me scale my business.
And feedback keeps everyone on track, forms better relationships, motivates me, and promotes growth (both personal and professional)
- I’m responsive and communicate well with my clients
Communication is key in any type of business. Clients need to feel appreciated and that their voices are heard.
Make it a habit of responding within 24 hours when your client has contacted you. Even if it’s just to let them know that you’ll be able to assist them at a later time.
- I consistently get results for my clients
Clients buy value from you and that means that your work has helped them achieve their goals.
By getting your clients’ results as a graphic designer you’ve helped them gain brand recognition, professionalism, communication, efficiency, and productivity.
Plus, you’ve helped them make money.
- I don’t play the blame game
While it might be easier for you to explain to your customers that you’re increasing premiums because of inflation or vendors have increased their prices, stay away from blaming someone else. You take away the value that you’re delivering to your customer – the reason why you’re raising prices.
Lining up projects back to back sounds like its the ultimate goal for your graphic design business. But it’s not if you’re not making enough money and you don’t have time for yourself. By saying no to projects that do not pay enough, you take care of your business and yourself. Raise your prices so that you can work with high-ticket clients who value you and your service.