In this post, I’m going to chat about how I initially felt about putting a monetary value on my work, and why I now don’t feel guilty about my prices.
I know that when it comes to putting a quote together for a potential client and charging for your work, it can be quite a struggle. I’ve seen many people post about pricing in Facebook groups, and there are usually long discussions that follow in the comment thread underneath the original post. Most people feel guilty about charging what they know they need to charge to make a profit off their work, to be able to build a sustainable business and to create the life they want.
As fempreneurs, we engage in this mental battle each time we have to put a value on our work to send someone a quote or proposal. It’s so frustrating, because we know that we do good work, yet we feel worried that “nobody will pay x for what I do”.
When I started creating quotes, I felt physically shaky when I put numbers into the document, attached my PDF to the email, and sent it. I went through the mental talk of “x is too expensive, y is too cheap. They won’t pay x, but I can’t charge y. My work is good, but if I charge x, I’m worried they’ll think that I think too much of myself. If I charge y, it looks like I’m an amateur and that I don’t think my work is valuable.”
So I had to decide on numbers quite early on that I felt comfortable enough with to charge. Not too expensive so that people think I’m a rip-off artist. Not too cheap that I can’t make a profit. I also did a bit of research into what others in my industry are charging so that I can get an overview of the standard of work and the rates, and then based my rates loosely on the numbers I found.
I don’t Feel Guilty about Wanting my Business to Provide a Living for Me
My business is my full-time income. I don’t have a part-time job or a “regular” job. When I started my business, I decided that I would focus all my efforts on it and put in as many hours as it took to start making an income.
Along the way, friends and my mom found many part-time jobs for me – mostly as a secretary/PA or office admin assistant – but I refused them all. This is because I know myself. To explain: when I start something new, I throw all my focus into it to do the best I can and to make the most of a given situation.
So, I would have probably spent more hours working at my part-time job than the compensation allowed for (essentially working for free), and I would have come home exhausted and had no motivation to work on my own business. That’s probably a lack of discipline on my part, but because I know this about myself, I didn’t allow myself to get into the situation at all.
Because I took my business seriously from the start, the inner talk I engaged in simply said: “This is going to work. I’m going to do it”. I also didn’t want to get myself into a position where I had to go back to a full-time job and potentially get laid off again (which is what led to me starting my business).
I Have Years of Experience and Continue to Hone my Craft
I’m passionate about my industry and my work. I went to university and studied Media (majoring in English and Graphic Design), then I studied towards a qualification in brand leadership at another institution, and then I went back to the university I did my undergrad qualification at to get an honours degree in Media Studies and Corporate Communication.
I’ve put hours and hours and hours into reading and doing research as well as actually doing the work and getting paid for it. I’ve interned, I’ve worked in industry, I’ve freelanced while I worked full time, and, of course, I’ve been doing work for my own clients since June 2016. In that time, my process has been refined and my work has improved. Everybody’s work improves over time and with consistent effort.
I used to feel guilty about charging for work when I knew it wasn’t as good as somebody else’s. I soon got over that thinking. Why didn’t I deserve to get paid? I put my everything into every project and did the best I could with the skills and resources at my disposal at the time.
The only person who told me that I didn’t deserve to get paid for my time was myself.
I continue to refine my work and improve my craft. And I obviously charge more now than when I started. I’ve seen my clients gain real value from what I’ve created for them, and for that, I charge good money because I know that the value my clients receive is much more than the numbers I put on a quote or proposal.
Over to You
Think about all the factors in your life that contribute to you being able to charge a higher rate for your work. Write them down. Then write down all the reasons that you need to earn more money from your business. You could be saving for a new car, saving for your house, using the money to pay off your debt. They’re all valid reasons. Then, the next time that you have to put a quote or a proposal together for a prospective client and you’re feeling a bit panicked about the numbers you’re putting down, take a deep breathe and read over your “I need to make more money because” list. Then take your old rate and add at least 40% to it. Save the proposal and send it to your prospective client.
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She creates client-attracting and highly converting state-of-the-art websites for female entrepreneurs. She has considerable experience with website design and copywriting. Melissa's comprehensive website solutions will get you up and running with a beautiful site that will turn a "maybe" into a "yes!"
You can find her on social media by clicking the links below.
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