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The pricing paradox


January 2021
A guide to pricing right.

It's a bright Tuesday morning. You take a sip of your morning cuppa as you sit nervously in front of your laptop, fiddling with it, checking if the camera is working alright and if your background is presentable. Your dream client has finally agreed to take you up for his brand redesign project, and you couldn't be more excited!! This is a project of scale and you rub your palms together in anticipation of the wads of money you're going to make off this project. The clock strikes 10:00 AM. "This is it", you whisper to yourself as you join the meeting and see the Zoom window open.

An hour later, you sit with another cuppa, this time in a sombre mood. "How could I let this happen?", you think to yourself. You've landed the gig, but you aren't happy. "I could only get Mr. Simmons to pay me 200$- less than I made for my last gig!!", you exclaim as you begrudgingly start writing a brief.

If you're a creative freelancer you've probably found yourself floundering in this situation before- you aren't confident of yourself and your value when pitching for a project, but then you aren't satisfied with the remuneration you agree on either. This harrowing scenario, called the 'pricing paradox', torments even the best of us!

So how do we climb out of this predicament? The real key to pricing your work is this- your level of belief in your work. If you believe in your work and your talents, you won't underprice yourself-underpricing your own work only means that you are losing the negotiation in your own mind, before it even begins with the client.

Here are a few things you can do to price yourselves better the next time.

  1. Stop doubting yourself. Four times out of five design freelancers want to earn $X for a project and the amount of work they are putting into it, but they are too afraid to ask for it- they end up questioning their value and in the end, selling themselves short.
  2. Price to get your fair value, not to win the project. Many a time, we freelancers are too afraid to negotiate for a fee that justifies our caliber of work, because we fear that if we overprice, we'll lose the gig. But here's the most important thing to remember when it comes to pricing - always be ready to leave money on the table if it isn't the right amount. This means that you have to quote the price that you know you are worth; if the client cannot afford it you shouldn't have to worry about it. It's better to get a client that values your work than to get a client that underpays for the value you provide.
  3. There is no formula to pricing your work right. Sure there are millions of articles and calculators out there for how you should be pricing your services. But just as there is no cookie-cutter design aesthetic that works for everything, there are NO RULES to pricing when you’re a freelancer.

If at all you need to get an estimate of how to price like a pro, you should take it from the pro himself → Chris do's take on finding your price

Pricing yourself professionally is an art that can only tip towards perfection with continuous practice. After you have done that the next important thing to keep in mind is to get that price paid to you on time. Turtlewig can make sure that you get paid on time.

Downloadable worksheet for calculating your average hourly price.

A simple one sheet worksheet created to calculate your hourly price in a way that can eventually enable you to become a full time freelance. A lot of freelancers find it extremely hard to find a price that will make them financially stable. Download for free and let's get you a new suit 😉

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