I have a friend who’s a great freelance designer. At any given moment he’s juggling multiple projects, and works his butt off to keep everyone happy. Unfortunately this leaves very little time for himself. Now you may be thinking, “but that’s what it’s all about, being flat-out all the time.”
Having work is great, it’s our goal to be working, but being overwhelmed with too many projects can be exhausting, both mentally, physically and financially.
So what’s the solution?
I had dinner with this friend just last week, he told me how stressed he was and how he’d worked all weekend instead of enjoying time with his family before emigrating (seriously).
I asked him if he’d thought about doubling his current freelance rate, to which he laughed. “I won’t get any clients that way”.
This is a common misconception and a mistake that a lot of freelance designers make. Most times it’s our own fault for undervaluing ourselves in the first place. Pricing is difficult, especially when first starting out.
Maintaining a steady income as a freelance designer is one of the main reasons that many never take the plunge, instead they opt to stay in gainful employment and remain secure with a regular paycheck.
For many the uncertainty of finding regular clients, and charging enough to live on is a real concern. Being a successful freelance designer is no small feat.
Another way is possible
Anyone who runs a SaaS product can tell you that the client who needs most support, and the client who eats up more of their time than any other, is the client who is using a free or entry-level plan. Users who pay for premium plans already tend to know about their market and can naturally appreciate the benefits provided. They know they’re getting value.
Doubling your rates would mean working with a different kind of client, but you don’t mind, do you?
Are you snowed under?
I understand that doubling your rates is a scary concept, none of us want to lose clients. So let’s try something less scary…
You’ve already got work on, and you have clients that are more than happy with your services. So try this, for the next client that comes your way you should draw up your proposal with your standard rate, then double it. Yep, double it, then send it before you get chance to think about it.
Remember this is an experiment. Don’t think about it as something permanent. What’s the worse that can happen? They can say no, but the world will go on spinning and there will be more clients.
Keep the experiment going
Bumping your rates up by 100% is no doubt a bold move, and if you’re not comfortable changing them overnight, then once a month take a proposal at random and double it. You’re not ripping anyone off, you’re providing a service that essentially exists to make someone else more money. Charge accordingly.
If the proposal bombs, no worries, but if it sticks, wow! You’ve just made twice as much.
Once you see that your new rates are being accepted more often, you can begin to apply them to more and more contracts until you have an entirely new rate, 100% higher. Watch how your monthly income soars.
Just remember, if they say no it’s not the end of the world, there will be more clients, I guarantee it. And of course they may just say yes.
What will you do with the extra money this month?
Want to survive as a freelance designer?
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