“ The best things in life are free.”

The majority of the time, I agree with this statement. However, lately, some people seem to be under the impression that this applies to business. If you don’t believe me, take a look at some of the requests that I have I received…

I would like you to develop 65 customized social media status updates. We were hoping we could have some videos included as a part of the status updates. You would need to create the videos as well. We would like to have all of this completed within two weeks. Can you do this on a $200 budget?

Even though I’ve seen my fair share of these requests, this is still my initial reaction whenever I receive one:

Why? I’m tired of people expecting me to price my services according to Fiverr’s rates. I do a great job and my rates are affordable. I feel like there seems to be a trend in people expecting those in the creative field to work either work for pennies or for free.

Neither option is my jam. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re in business you have two options. If you don’t have the money then be willing to invest the time. If you don’t have the time then be willing to invest the money. If you chose to contact me, then it’s safe to imply that you were seeking a shortcut.

I have been working in the corporate world in the marketing arena for 14 years. I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I’m a “well-rounded” marketer. I’ve worked on small and large accounts in “traditional” and digital marketing, category management, consumer insights, marketing analysis, content creation, and project management. I KNOW the importance of marketing. Without marketing, companies would remain unknown.

Regardless of this fact, there seems to be a dismissive attitude toward those who work in the creative positions. I’m not making this up either. I’ve actually heard folks from the accounting department refer to marketing as “overhead.” This attitude seems to have permeated into the freelance sector as well.  I’m guessing this is the reason why I have seen an increase in requests like the one mentioned in this post.

I’m big on education, so whenever I get these type of requests, I make sure to explain to the requestor that why I decline taking on projects for that price (especially with that tight of a deadline). Due to the fact that I’m big on creating systems and processes, it only takes me a minute to respond because I have templates for everything.

However, I know that when you compete on price it’s going to be a race to the bottom. Sadly, this is a race that way too many people are willing to participate in when they should really sit on the sidelines for the following reasons:

1.) You’re cheating yourself

What do you want to be known for within your industry? If you want people to take you seriously then you need to do your homework. Oftentimes, those new to freelancing do not realize that if the client has done their homework and your prices are too low, the majority of them will continue their search for another company. Why?

Many people still associate extremely cheap prices with low-quality products and services.  You want clients who are focused on quality. When your prices are too low, they are going to question your expertise. This could have easily been avoided if you had conducted market research. You will be able to learn what the average price is within your industry, expenses, etc. Don’t allow yourself to be your own worst enemy by failing to appropriately price your services.

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2.) People who hire solely on price aren’t interested in a relationship

If you plan on running a successful business, you must have repeat customers. The folks who have the something for nothing mentality aren’t interested in developing this type of relationship. The minute you raise your prices they are going to leave.

Even worse, if they decide to stay, these folks will go out of their way to find something wrong with the deliverable (i.e. product/service) so they can feel “justified” in asking for a discount which will bring them back to the price that they are accustomed to paying for or even less. Save yourself an unnecessary headache.

3.) You’re not going to be able to scale at those prices.

Your goal is to make money.  The higher you sell your products/service will enable you to reduce the time you spend on acquiring new clients. You can’t do this if you’re willing to work for peanuts. If you’re pricing your products/services too low, you have to make sure you constantly have a high volume of clients in order to make a living. You’re setting yourself up to be in a situation where you will be delivering a poor quality product due to the fact that you are overworked and underpaid.

Embrace your talent

If you have a talent you should not be afraid to charge what you are worth. You should be paid for the shortcut you provide. Just because someone says, “Your prices are too high,” doesn’t mean that it’s true.

It just means that they can’t afford it and they don’t see the value in your work. Regardless of what the reason may be, they aren’t the right client for you. Don’t fight for their business. Sooner or later they will end up at Fiverr. Let them continue their journey for the cheapest price.

The quicker you do this will enable you to have the bandwidth to grow a clientele that will support your endeavor to make a decent living without losing your sanity in the process.

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2 Comments on Do you know the value of your work?

  1. I’m a makeup artist and we have the same issue. I think this applys to many industries. I think if you do quality work and focus on building relationships you are on the right path.

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