Know Your Worth, then add $500

It’s 2019 and pricing within the creative industry is still pretty taboo. In general, talking about money is uncomfortable, regardless of the scenario. We have so many hangups about money that stem from money patterns developed during childhood and navigating the workforce.

So it only makes sense that trying to develop your rates is still a difficult thing to do. But having the conversation is so important, especially if you’re a creative entrepreneur.

At the end of 2018, I began writing out my 2019 income goals. I felt confident about my overall number, but was somewhat unrealistic about the number of clients I needed per month, in addition to the rates associated with each service. Sis, it was too low. Too low. Considering overhead costs, taxes and experience (for my clients), I needed to add $200 - $500 to each of my services. Now as I look at my monthly, quarterly and yearly income goals, it doesn’t seem so daunting or do I feel the need to scramble for clients during down time.

Here’s the thing, especially for women creatives, you shouldn’t back down when you list your rates. Nor should you feel compelled to lower them to feel like you won’t get enough clients to make ends meet. That’s why it is important to niche down and really understand who your customer is.

When you increase your rates there are a few things to consider. I’ve done each of these and it’s helped me to elevate my business & clientele.

  • Increasing your rates encourages you and your client to meet at a higher frequency and show up as your best self. It forces you to no longer half-ass and go all in. What would you want to experience if you were on the receiving end? Consider adding an on-boarding process or welcome packet. Is your client looking for a minimal touch-points and a 1 stop shop? Add that into your package and increase your rate.

  • Understand what increasing your rates will help you to do. Will it allow you to hire more talent? Create job opportunities for other creatives? Take better care of yourself? It's not always about more money, but what you can do with that money. You owe it to yourself to live a better life and make a real income from your creative endeavors, you deserve it.

  • You’re probably already doing the most, but not properly pricing. When I first started offering product photography & styling, I did a search of average rates & pricing. What I found made me gasp. The article mentioned that photographers charge $2,000 for 20 images being used for social media platforms. And that was only the photographer’s rate. It wasn’t considering stylists, props, location scouting and concept development. I took that information and applied it to my packages. I tweaked them to work for me and full disclosure, my product photography rates range from $750 - $3,000. I know my people/clients exists and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with clients within each price point. More importantly, I know I’m offering my client time to actually manage and run their business. I take care of the entire process so they don’t have to. They’re receiving images and time. Ask yourself what your client is receiving aside from the finished product.