Make more money for less work

Brian
April 21, 2009

My colleague is a very talented designer. He works very hard and his customers always seem to be more than satisfied. Despite his success, he's always frazzled — on the lookout for new clients and desperate to make ends meet. He says his life is a never-ending rollercoaster — he's either living high on the hog or with uncertainty about next month's bills. He has as many clients as work days and never seems to have enough time to devote to each. He believes this hectic workstyle will pay off. Unfortunately, it won't. He does not charge enough. The problem with charging too little for services is that you'll never be able to grow. To grow his business, my colleague has two choices: 1) hire help, or 2) charge more. He will be hard-pressed to find new hires capable of his caliber of work who will do it for what he is able to pay. So he must charge more, not only so he can make more for his time, but also so he can delegate tasks for profit. Unfortunately, he is of the philosophy that the more clients he has, the better. He thinks that if he raises his prices, his clients will leave him. Some will. Others won't. Of course, I'm sure you'd agree that making more money and doing less work is better than doing more work for less money. In a quest to build a portfolio, many start out charging very little. It's a sacrifice we all have to make — we have to prove ourselves. But, once proven, you should charge what your time is worth. I'm not saying you should double your fees overnight. Let's say you charge $60 per hour, but you'd like to charge $100. Raise your prices gradually over time with your existing clients, and explain why you are raising your fees. The clients who recognize the value you're giving them will almost surely be willing to negotiate a rate increase. All new clients will fall under your new rate. How did you handle your last rate increase?

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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