I’m sure I’m the only one who is a compulsive job searcher. Even when I had a full-time job, I was always curious to see what else was out there. (It didn’t help that the only “raises” I got in teaching came from years of experience, regardless of how hard I worked.)
Now, whenever I feel anxious about my cash flow or client pipeline, I surf the job boards and daydream about the set work hours and office space I couldn’t wait to leave behind. (And the biweekly paychecks!) The matcha is always greener in someone else’s tea cup, right?
Here’s the thing no one tells you about freelancing or owning your own business: you have no one to blame but yourself for low wages, long hours, or boring projects. But the upside is that YOU have the ability to give yourself a raise whenever you want. Book more clients, raise your prices, or do both.
But Auntie, you moan, it’s not that easy!
Okay, but it’s also not actually that hard. You don’t need permission from anyone to change your pricing, not your clients, not “the market,” and certainly not your parents’ opinions about frugality. I wrote a bit of a manifesto about pricing that goes into more detail. There’s no magic formula that works for everyone, but I outlined some basic principles that will help you decide what to charge.
In the interest of total transparency, my half day rate is currently $650USD, full day rate $1,000USD, and my email and web design projects start at $3,500USD. (Because I don’t work full-time, my “day” rates usually get spread out over 2-4 calendar days.) One of my mentors has a $3,000 day rate with projects starting at $8,500 and usually ending up much higher. And her calendar is always full, all the time.
Price is never the (only) issue.If you don't have enough work, you likely have a sales issue, a marketing issue, or maybe both. Lowering your prices cannot fix problems in your internal process, at least not sustainably. Click To Tweet
And before your inner immigrant parent insists that, “No one will pay THAT much for [fill in whatever you do],” just remember that Tiffany’s sells an actual gold paperclip for $1,500, which is the cost of our monthly rent. (And, apparently, a sterling silver model greenhouse for…more than our actual house is worth.)
Got specific questions about pricing or money management? Tell me about it in the comments. I’m planning a pricing workshop and want to cover all the bases! (That I can feasibly cover in an hour.)
P.S. Janey Jones, a UX/UI designer I met in The Cosmos, graciously shared this financial tracker template with me to pass on to all of you!