On Knowing Your Worth and Raising Your Prices | Ballast Notes

During a rainy Wednesday a few months ago, I was chatting with a branding client. The client was kind and did great work, but the type of business she ran was different than most companies I work with. Although the beginning of our project together was a bit rocky, we were nearing the finish line and I was excited to wrap things up. As she reiterated that she was enjoying working with me, she said, "And honestly, I think you should be charging more."

Wait, what? Charging more? When I initially quoted this client, I remember opening her response email with my heart beating out of my chest because I was worried she was going to say it was too much. I was going through a tough time financially, and really needed a client to pull through for me. But I never would have thought about actually charging her more. 

I thanked the client, and she explained that she went to an event recently centered around the psychology of money. All attendees were instructed to write down a big purchase they had recently made and felt like they spent too much; as well as an item they had recently purchased and felt guilty because they may have gotten too good of a deal. She said she wrote down my services for the latter.

This goes back to the American "sale" mentality - if we get something for a good deal, we want to put it to its full use. I'm not a psychologist by any means, but this really got my wheels turning - do I notice a difference in my clients' feedback based on how much they've been charged? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my higher paying clients were often more organized, and our projects got done quickly, whereas lower paying clients (who were repeat clients who I honored previous pricing for, and/or had very small projects) often draw out the process, and aren't as quick to respond and provide feedback.

All of this is making me realize that I need to take a deep dive into my finances and how I'm charging clients - and what best serves both of us. I want to stay affordable and accessible, but know that my business model needs to adapt as I expand my business and see how my long-term goals fit in. Those higher-paying clients are making a big investment in their business, and are making my services a priority in their biz life - and those are the types of people I love working with. 

I've always prided myself in keeping my prices affordable for the small businesses and nonprofits that use my services, but I'm also coming to realize that upping prices a bit can very much expedite the process. Ensuring that clients realize they are making an investment and gathering all necessary information before kicking off our process; and allowing me to focus intently on a few clients, instead of being spread thin over many. 

If someone is paying less for your services, they're probably not going to feel bad asking you to do more. Especially if it's an hourly project - someone you charge $25 an hour is definitely going to have you do more than someone you charge $75 an hour - it's simple math. And in those sorts of situations, you really lose the most valuable thing - your time. 

Know your worth, and don't be afraid to charge for it. Amazing things might happen, and who knows what you'll find. And don't forget to add tax! I'll be popping back in here to update you on the varied changes that I've made.