As creative professionals, pricing our work is unlike other industries. While Walmart has to offer price matching to stay competitive, that’s not the case for creatives. It does not matter what everyone else is charging, because you and your talent is going to be different than everyone else. Furthermore, you shouldn’t be pricing yourself with someone else’s wallet. Don’t worry about if something feels expensive because if that is what your work is worth then it doesn’t matter if someone else in your industry charges less.
When you’re trying to price yourself, you have to start by becoming comfortable valuing yourself.
It can be difficult to develop the confidence in your talents as a business, but it is necessary to be able to build a strong and profitable business. You can’t tell people how much your work is worth, until you know yourself. Moreover, if you don’t feel like your talent is valuable, then every other part of running a business is going to feel really hard.
Once you know what you’re worth, then you can introduce the business side of pricing into it. The point of running a business boils down to making money.
You have to figure out how much it costs to do your work. Determine what your full costs are, so you know the breakeven point. If you need to, write down everything you need to run your business, whether that includes materials, leasing an office, insurance, advertising, employees, and so on. Once you’ve calculated all your costs, you have a baseline or minimum amount you have to make. You can then build off of that to create an income level that would give you a profit.
This is a business and businesses are meant to make money. Don’t apologize for that.
The next piece of pricing yourself is pertaining to the customer. The perk of running your own business is being able to decide what kind of work you want to do. In other words, you have to think about the customer that you want to attract. Which customer would ask for the work that you are excited by. When you have figured out who that customer is, you price yourself according to that.
If you like to do work for the everyday consumer, then price yourself to attract that customer. If you want to do luxury work, then price yourself for that market. It is important to understand that these are two different customers. When you target the luxury market, you will not be targeting the everyday consumer and that’s okay. You have to accept that you cannot be priced for both markets.
Especially when you are starting out, it feels wrong to say no to any work. If there is anyone that offers to pay you to do work for them, you’ll feel inclined to say yes. However, you cannot fulfill every role in the market. You’ll end up overworked, underpaid, unhappy, and with no identifiable brand.
Take some time to evaluate what kind of work you most enjoy, and you feel has the most potential to bring you success.
When you only take the jobs that fit the type of work you want to do, you can focus your business decisions on what attracts those customers. It can be frightening to say no to work outside of your decided niche at first but it will almost always pay off in the end.
Remember that pricing yourself is entirely up to you and what you’d like your business to become. Start with appreciating your own worth. In this way you can become more comfortable backing up your pricing if someone were to question why your work is priced the way it is. Then determine what your break-even and profit levels are. Finally, determine who your ideal customer is. Then price accordingly!