Blog to support the book "Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs" by Kristen Fischer

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I was listening to some of the sessions at the International Freelancers Day on Friday and the majority of it was very good. There were some useful tips from some cool freelancers like Peleg Top, Steve Slaunwhite and Ed Gandia.

But one of the sessions about pricing raised a few questions for me. In it, the presenter--Shane Pearlman--said that once he decided the type of lifestyle he wanted, he raised his rates to ensure he would have money to support that lifestyle....especially when it came to the daunting task of owning a home! It's a great idea in theory--making sure you review your wages to make sure you earn enough to cover your butt. We should all be doing that!

However, I got to thinking about it, and I think that raising your rates to meet the lifestyle you want could be dangerous advice--especially for newbies out there. Does someone with little experience and a growing portfolio really deserve to earn top-dollar like seasoned pros are making? And, with little to show, can they even get it?

Well, they may not get the chance to; I think if you jack up your rates too high you won't wind up making much. Why? They're ruling out a ton of clients that would pay well and help you build your portfolio. Why? Because they have to show their value first. Too many freelancers are too quick to boost their rates--and yes, many don't charge enough.

Shane was a seasoned pro when he raised his rates to afford buying a house. It was doable because he was experienced and he had the portfolio to back it up. Now, I'm not saying work for peanuts, but please please don't expect to make mega-bucks if you're only starting out. You may turn your back on valuable clients and experiences if you price yourself too high. And don't go too low either, because then you open yourself up to...well, some shady experiences.

(I'm clearly not trying to bash Shane or his advice--just trying to make a point!)

To that end, I say consider the value you bring to the table before simply raising your rates. It's a good idea in theory, but every case is different and you're not going to build the business you want if you only get clients that will pay top-dollar. Instead, work up to earning top-dollar--and then charge it!

link | posted by Kristen at 1:03 PM |

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