Know Your Worth
“The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.” -Alysia Harris
Running a business has its difficulties, and knowing how to price your products or services can be one of the most difficult decisions. You don’t want to price potential customers out so you lose potential income, but you can’t be working for nothing, otherwise why have a business to begin with? So we’ve compiled a few tips to help you navigate the waters of hungry clients so you can enjoy your work and grow your business!
Price Your Services to Make a Profit
Sit down and create a monthly business budget. Add up your expenses from office space, software costs, internet, TAXES, retirement, and of course what you need to pay yourself so you can survive. Once you have an idea of the minimum of revenue you need to pay your expenses, come up with an hourly or day rate that is fair compensation. Generally, if you’re pricing for a larger project you can estimate how many days or hours you may need, and tack on a little for revisions or unexpected changes. This also gives you wiggle room to negotiate with a stubborn client as well. I would recommend to stick closely to your project budgets during fee negotiations. It’s your time, your supplies, your tools. All of those are expenses. If you’re taking time to work a lot on something that isn’t worth it, when you could be working on a more profitable project, you’re going to cause yourself some stress. So know your worth and know your budget to help your business flourish.
Get ALL the Project Information You Can
Luckily, I have had very few, and I mean like one, unresolvable experience with a client where we had to part ways. This was because of a lack of documentation of project needs. Usually you or your client will provide a contract that includes details like scope of work, compensation, termination of contract, late fees, ownership of artwork, etc. So if you receive a contract from a client that does not cover all the details of your working relationship, make sure to ask for revisions before signing. You will be able to read a more in-depth article on the must haves of contracts on our blog. A contract can protect you from having endless revisions and will lay out an exit strategy if you are in an abusive relationship with a client. Make sure to protect your time so that it is always monetized in some way!
Talk About Budgets
During a client consultation, you usually get a good feeling about their project needs, and because you know your hourly or daily rate, you generally know what the cost of the project will be. So! Before you even create a formal estimate for your client, ask what their budget is. This will save you so much time, and as we know, time is money. If they’re expecting to pay $100 for a total brand overhaul, you can easily say you may not be the best fit as your rates are going to be higher than their budget, and refer them to another artist. You’ve just saved yourself and them hours of time.
Don’t Work for Free
Please, if asked, don’t work for free. These are the worst people. They have the highest expectations, ask for endless revisions, and have a total disregard for the fact that you’re needing to eat and make rent. Seriously, these are the worst people, taking advantage of your work to generally propel their business forward. Now, I’m not saying you should never do any work for free. I’ve done work for the Kitsap Humane Society, Verge Theater, and Women’s Resource Center for free. BUT, I VOLUNTEERED my services, I was never asked to work for free. These organizations also realized the work I was doing for them was not my top priority and timelines were organized accordingly. Protect your time and mental health please!
Remember that you do not owe anyone when it comes to business. You may have great relationships with clients and want to keep them happy so you give them a great rate. And that’s your choice! But do not let anyone bully you into a lower rate, there’s plenty of hungry clients in the sea.