graphic designer and illustrator blogging about design and self-care

The Freelance Issue No. 12 // Pricing

The Freelance Issue No. 12 // Pricing

Pricing our services is a serious thing for everyone who is working on an independent basis. Money is not really a very transparent topic in our society, especially not when it comes to earning money. I live in Germany and the saying is 'you don't talk about money, you have it'. Talking about salaries is a big no-no over here, so no surprise that there is nothing like equal payment and facing such a huge pay gap between women and men even though it is the year 2018, women still earn less than men. 

Anyways, when first starting out I had no idea how to price my services. Basically I just looked how other designers price their services that are similar to the services that I offer. First I was pricing way too low because I was so insecure and thought that I lacked the experience. Now my mind about pricing has changed dramatically - especially since I am constantly working on improving my relationship towards money since I got into the work of Denise Duffield-Thomas.

I don't think anymore that you should work for free or offer dumping prices just because you are in the early stages of your freelancing career. You might not have big experiences working in your new industry but you still have tons of experiences from all the jobs you did before and in the end those skills will for sure be needed in your current freelance work as well so offering low prices just because you 'lack experience' is a real no-brainer. You still invest your time while working on new client projects, time that your client does not have to invest to get familiar with the work you are doing, and alone time is something totally worth being paid. Even when you lack 'industry experience', having done a four year university degree program still is some kind of experience where you work on your skills and gained experience. Same goes for all the odd jobs you worked in before, let it be customer support and client communication - super essential skills when working for yourself and communicating with potential and current clients on a daily basis. 

Also offering services at super low prices seems like you are not taking yourself and your own work serious. So if it is not you the one offering the work giving the potential client the perception that you are still in an amateur stage offering dumping prices on an oversaturated market, how the hell should future clients take your work and pricing serious? 

I also don't want to offer dumping prices - quite often I am shocked to see how low other designers price themselves. OK, possibly for them it is not so important if there is not much money coming in from time to time because they don't have to cover all their expenses by themselves but for me this is not the case. Also I don't want to support this system, it is bad enough that in all my employed jobs I always worked for very little money and I certainly did not become self-employed to continue this vicious cycle of working a lot while still having very little money.

Apart from the fact that being self-employed in Germany is very expensive anyways due to the high costs of welfare and tax. If I offer services for 1500 Euros, half of it is gone right away for all sorts of mandatory insurances and tax. And I cannot afford to take lots of projects for super low prices because then my mental and physical health suffers right away and I burn out. That was another reason why I left the corporate world and decided to do my own thing because every employed job I ever worked in made me sick in the end and seriously, life is too precious to burn out for a stressful underpaid job that burns you out. No, thank but no. Being self-employed I have more freedom but I also have to take more risks than somebody who is employed since I never know how much money I make every month and because I have to put some money to the side in case business is slow for some time. 

The Freelance Issue No. 12 // Pricing (by Phylleli) #design #graphicdesign #logodesign #typography #designblog

I want to offer premium services with high quality work that is unique and this I can only offer when I focus on one project at that time that still meets my financial ends. Otherwise things are not working out the way they should. 

Also I invest time and money in continuously learning and improving my skills, so I invest time and money in courses in order to offer better services. I want to improve my skills and work all he time but that also is a matter of time and money so of course the the time and money I invest in learning, educating myself, improving my skills and learning new skills, that money also has to come back in at a certain point. 

It is not my goal to appeal to everyone, I want to work with people who know what they want, who are willing to pay an appropriate price for high quality work and if someone is just trying to find a designer who works for dumping prices, then this is not going to be me, because I finally see the value and worth in my work and time and dedication. There are millions of others offering super low priced services but I am not one of them, I think it only destroys the market and devalueates everyone who is taking themselves and their work serious. 

Money should not make our life harder as it unfortunately quite often does or at least did for me in the past. Instead, money should facilitate life and create freedom - that is something that I learned in the past few weeks ever since I started working on my relationship with money which before was really screwed up but now I am on a good way. Money used to scare the living shit out of me for the past few years but now I am finally coming to peace with money and start seeing it as the means that I deserve and that helps me to live an abundant and stress free life while doing the work I always wanted to do working with people who want to work with me and value my work instead of being stuck in an underpaid 9-5 job in the corporate world. 

I don't even know why money is such a big no-no topic in our society because let's face it, not having money can make us feel pretty miserable while having money certainly helps us to live a better life with so much more freedom. And we should all aim for living the best version of the life we want and money certainly is a big help here. 

I still have lots of work to do to solve my money blocks but I already got pretty far in the past few weeks that I have been working on resolving these blocks and it is going to get better and better from now on because I dedicate lots of time and energy to work on this. Because it is important and I live much better and with a lot more ease when I work on this and resolve all the money issues that I had for so many years. And I can only recommend to everyone who is also struggling here to figure this out and to shift your mindset towards receiving and to move it away from living in fear and scarcity. 

I will stop writing here for now but certainly I will get back to this topic soon. 

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