Look, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but I do have a fair bit of experience, skill, and knowledge when it comes to pricing as a freelance creative. I made $350k as a sole trader last year, so I think I must be doing something right?
What a lot of creatives don’t realise, is that there’s actually psychology, skill, and knowledge to be learned when it comes to knowing how much to charge. The ones who have secured financial freedom haven’t done so by plucking numbers from the air or charging only by the hour.
Imagine you’re in the supermarket buying ingredients for a fancy dinner party you’re throwing. You get to the pasta aisle and are faced with a whole range of brands, types, and prices. If you were just cooking for you and the dog, you’d probably reach for the $1 pack of penne and be confident that it would do the job. However, this sort of special occasion calls for the top shelf linguine.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why you buy the more expensive stuff when you’re cooking for company?
Unless your friends are a bit quirky, they’re probably not going to quiz you on your pasta brand without a reason, yet it’s obvious that this type of occasion calls for the more expensive kind.
When you serve up the dish and your guests tuck in, you’ll likely hear things like ‘oh this pasta is sensational!’ Your suspicions will be confirmed; paying that bit extra was worth it.
The obvious point here is that you assume the more expensive pasta is higher quality. In most cases, your assumption would be right. The company can charge the higher price because the ingredients are premium, the manufacturing methods are more refined, and there are more options for you to choose from.
Now, after your dinner party is over and it’s just you and the dog, you might go back to paying $1 for a packet of spaghetti. While that may seem like a gut-punch to the premium brand, it’s actually not.
There are always more people having dinner parties.
Being expensive is an option, and in many cases, a dang good one. Not only does it pay you good money, it usually attracts a certain type of client.
These are the clients who value what you do. They don’t complain about your rates, and they don’t wish you were cheaper. They understand that if you were, you likely wouldn’t be able to deliver what they need. They’re a dream to work with, they never question your expertise, and they pay the invoices on time.
We associate higher prices with higher quality because, generally, it’s the truth. I’ve never heard someone say their dream car is a Toyota Corolla, because if the sky were the limit, they’d pick something better.
For every person who only wants (or can afford) the $1 spaghetti, there is another who only has eyes for the top shelf.
There are people for whom the sky really is the limit, and they’re not interested in anything less. Who knows, if you get your rates right and remember that being expensive is an option, you could end up being one of them.
The next time you’re tempted to drop your price because you’re worried about scaring off potential clients, remember one thing:
There are always more people throwing dinner parties.