The great thing about being a freelancer is that you can plan your work as you please. You can spread your workload throughout the day and take advantage of your circadian rhythms. All well and good, but there’s one aspect of being a freelancer that often becomes a problem: how do you value your services?
Putting a price tag on any freelance job is not easy. The basic method is to charge by the hour, but exactly how much you charge depends on how long you’ve been in the game. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably ask for less per hour because you need to build up a decent portfolio. If you’ve been around the block a few times and you have a respectable client list, you can charge much more.
But there’s a catch in charging an hourly rate. You may be contacted by new potential clients whose proposal doesn’t really fit your level of expertise, or whose proposed budget doesn’t cover your basic fee.
FIVE REASONS WHY HOURLY RATES SHOULD BE AVOIDED
1 – it’s difficult to estimate time
2 – your client needs to take it on trust that your time estimate is correct
3 – you can be penalised for being proficient (why would you finish a project in half the time if it means you’ll be paid half the fee?)
4 – the client’s attention is focused on budget, not the outcome of the project
5 – there are only 24 hours in each day and you need to sleep!
Well, we’ve all been there, but it shouldn’t be like this! Here are three simple steps that will help you avoid these problems.
1 – FIND YOUR NICHE
Defining yourself as a freelancer is a little vague. It doesn’t engage clients’ interest. Instead, try thinking of yourself as a problem solver.
2 – ADVERTISE YOUR RESULTS, NOT YOUR SKILLS
One of the main reasons so many freelancers are not paid as much as they’re worth is because they sell ‘skills’. You can buy skill cheaply, in places like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer, Truelancer and many others. What really grabs the attention of clients are results, not skills. The more they see that you can deliver their sought-after solution, the happier they are to pay your fee.
3 – ASK AWAY!
When your potential client first contacts you, ask them why they want a new website/logo/app/etc.
Keep asking until you’ve discovered the real problem.
The conversation should go something along these lines:
CLIENT: I need a new logo.
YOU: why do you need a new logo?
CLIENT: I need to revamp my business.
YOU: why do you need to revamp your business?
CLIENT: with the pandemic, I had to rethink my business. I need to open up a different market, and I thought having a brand-new logo could help me revive my business.
YOU: OK, we can design a new version of your logo that will reflect your new brand message. Your business will have a new look, which will attract new customers, while at the same time reassure your existing customers that you haven’t abandoned them. Would you like me to help you with this?
THIS IS WHY VALUE-BASED RATES ARE BETTER FOR EVERYONE
1 - Clients are paying for the results they are looking for, not for the skills listed on your CV.
2 – There are no nasty surprises for your clients since they already know what they’re paying for.
3 – Both you and the client are happy when you work efficiently (they get the result faster, and you get paid the same rate in less time).
And most importantly:
You have no income ceiling and get paid good money with happier clients!