Any freelancer will tell you – pricing is a challenge. Several factors influence one’s freelance pricing that I find those posts promoting formulaic solutions very shallow and somewhat idealistic. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and considerations when I determine to price for my services. Product pricing is a whole other beast that I will talk about in another post.
Technology changes things so quickly. It is an excellent opportunity to grow, but one could also fall behind. To be successful, I believe that I must always be developing my skills. Whereas in traditional businesses, physical growth determines success. My success is dependent on how my knowledge basis and experience evolves.
Experience + Quality
When I first priced my services, I was a self-taught freelancer with a small portfolio. My knowledge limited the quality of my work. Even then, I believe I priced myself low. I would have to take on anywhere from 8-10 projects a month to get by. But I was okay with that. Getting a bunch of projects at once helped me develop my portfolio, increase my network, and improve the quality of my work.
Pricing low had its downsides. Some clients didn’t value my knowledge or expertise, and the project experience was challenging. I also had to cut back significantly on my expenses during this time (which in the long run is not as bad as one would think).
Despite pricing low, I’ve never run into an issue with a client challenging the quality of my work even as I’ve raised prices. In fact, I’ve had clients tell me to raise my prices after a project. I see some designers charging almost double what I charge, and the quality of the work is horrendous. That’s their battle to fight, and their justification that they have to make with people who choose to work with them.
Even though this is a recent addition, the blog shop has been a big asset to pricing my freelance blog design services. It is an affordable option with some customizations available. I’ve been able to raise my customize design prices confidently, knowing that clients get a completely personalized experience from the customs services as compared to the blog shop. The blog shop has allowed me to bring in quicker revenue streams and focus more on custom work.
Customer Service + Clients That Are Needier Than Others
For custom projects, I do one phone call over the phone or in person to go over the project. It is a relatively long meeting 1-2 hours. After this meeting, almost all communication is through email. Occasionally, some larger projects get check-ins. Email works best for me to keep track of edits and follow the scope of the project. As a result, I always make sure I stay on top of my email. My typical response time to emails is less than 48 hours, typically 24 hours. If on the weekend, it might be longer. Since email plays such a vital role in a project, I have to consider this when pricing my services.
I’ve built my business around being very accessible and helpful to clients with their questions. I want to be able to assist my clients as their businesses and blogs grow long after our project was finished. However, this desire has been both a blessing and a struggle. In most cases, communication is not a problem at all. But now and then, I’ve got some outliers, where they might need more assistance than others. This situation never feels good, but at the end of the day, I always try to remain patient. If I feel that someone is exploiting my services, help, and communication, I’m firm with them about it – I had to learn this the hard way, through experience. With each challenge, it is always an opportunity for me to evolve my business – improve the communication, systems, and process of my work.
Let’s Talk About My Brand…
Sometimes people want to pick my brain. I get these requests daily, and while I do respond to emails, I draw the line with phone calls and in-person meetings. As much as I would love to discuss how someone could improve their brand, my time is money. I need to make decisions that align with my professional and personal goals. Right now, I’m working about 10-12 hours, six days a week. Sometimes people have taken this response negatively, and I’m okay with that because they wouldn’t be a good fit. However, most people are very respectful of my time (and their own), and ultimately understand it. I will respond to emails all the time, but with meetings, I have to be selective.
Being Comfortable With What I Make
I can live each month comfortably; I pay my bills and save each month. While getting to this point took lots of long nights and weekends, it was well worth it. In the beginning, I wasn’t making very much at all. As a result, I cut my expenses significantly. It was a conscious choice I made because I’d rather have a profitable business than any material items. If I didn’t do this, in the beginning, there is no way that I would be successful today. By keeping my expenses low, I was able to take risks. I had the freedom to make decisions about my business that I might not have been able to make otherwise.
Is there a quick solution to pricing your services? No. Pricing requires awareness, foresight, and thorough understanding of how you want your business to grow. It is not fixed, but always changing as you change.