That’s obvious that everyone want’s to make more money. In another case you won’t be reading this, right?
As a creative person, I was always struggling to ask for payment(this is a big issue of working as creative, we don’t realize how much to charge for our services). When I was just getting started with design, I was a student and my living really didn’t require a lot of money. I was an average designer who thought that”client is always right” and was always struggling with my clients.
The old way
When I had a new project I asked for a list of requirements and some examples of works that client likes.
Then I got to work on some awesome designs so excited to show my work to the client. I delivered good work and got a nice response.
But then… client has”some revisions”. I got back on it and work on revising the designs. Now the client has a few more revisions to fix the messaging. And I again go back to work to fix the messaging. Finally client agrees to the designs. I’m angry, the client is tired.
Who also has experienced this?
I think a lot of creatives. We all have similar problems:
- Low-quality clients with small budgets
- Very little amount of inquiries
- Very little money for small projects
At one point in my life, I realized that I can’t work that way and charge an average for the work I do. I had no idea how to raise my rates, get paid for those rates and besides that all I had my second child coming. I saw designers who charge $250 per hour and work on projects with budgets of $10,000 and more. I started asking how they did it and as a result — got my answers.
I changed the way I work with clients and now I charge $150 per hour for new work and work with projects for global brands. How I did that? I’ve applied one simple tip that allowed me to change my life dramatically.
I have changed the process.
It might sound very easy but believe me –it was a painful 20 months process of hard working not only on finding the right answers about design and business, but also identifying myself as a person and as a professional.
Now my clients think I’m a genius (don’t believe them) andwilling to pay me the price I say.
The new approach
When a new client comes in with the project the first thing I ask them is”why?”.
Why do they need a website, an app or a new logo? I’m getting deeper with questions to identify client’s brand, customer’s and business goals, needs, and pain points. I call this strategy. With the strategy document(brief) I create the Style board that contains visual references and design direction(I also call this step”Selling design without actually making designs”). Together with the client(or client’s team), we define the structure and customer’s journey. In the same session, we work together to define page level wireframes. Since we already have the style board and defined structure — client quickly approves the final designs and ready to start development and launch the first version of the product.
I made this process very easy for a client and the work is done with the highest quality and in time. The client is happy, his customers are impressed, I’m proud of the work I’ve done and my pockets are full of cash (not true. I also accept checks).
How do you think which process clients (and creatives) would prefer using?
I also think so.
Few more things that helped me to grow my creative business:
- I have stopped calling myself a “freelancer”. Freelance, in the client’s heads, means “cheap and fast work”. But my goal was to find high-budget and long-term projects so I can actually live, not just make living.
- No more hourly work. Hourly work might be a great solution when you’re just starting your career because you get paid for the work that actually done. But after you make progress and develop your skills, you can do the same amount of work much faster, so the hourly rate would not work well in this case, because you will make the same work in less time and will get paid less. That’s actually what happened to me and my solution was a fixed price project. I had to learn how to quote projects with the fixed price, and while at the first time it was just an approximate amount of hours capped and multiplied by hourly rate, now it’s a different model — value-based pricing.
- The strategy behind the design. Most of my previous clients came to me with pre-defined briefs and asked me to work on a visual part only. Now I offer my clients strategy to find out their real goals, problems and bring clarity to their minds.
Thank you for your time reading this post. Hope it was a helpful information for you and you will be able to achieve the same and even the better results in your creative businesses.
Let me know what you think right in the comments below!