How not to feel bad for charging what you’re worth
Yesterday I read a post on awesomelyluvvie called Dear Brands Who Want to Pay Me (and Other Bloggers) in “Exposure”, I absolutely loved everything about this letter. After reading this letter I thought that working for free doesn’t just pertain to bloggers, but it’s something that many people struggle with.
I’ve been using Photoshop since I was a freshmen in high school. I started off designing and coding my Myspace page. After high school I realized I loved designing and I wanted to make a career out of it. I attended RIT where I majored in New Media Design and Imaging, well that was my second major, my first major was Programming. I hated programming everyone kept saying one day the day will come when you will just get it, and that day never came for me, so I switched majors. Fast Forward a few years and now I work at an Advertising Agency where I get to design and animate concepts for big brands. It’s really cool because when I’m designing it doesn’t feel like work, which I’m extremely thankful for.
You have trouble bringing yourself to actually ask for money for something you’re so naturally good at.” Marie Forleo
Naturally when people find out I can create logos and graphics they want me to create something for them. When I was in college, sure I didn’t mind doing free projects for people to help build up my portfolio, but now when people ask me to create them a logo or graphic for free it’s like I don’t need your work to put into my portfolio. I have enough work to show and I’ve gained enough experience throughout the years. When people ask me to work for free all I hear is I don’t value what you do.
“I’ve charged what I knew was less than my value just to “build relationships” and in the end, all I feel is cheated. And THAT is the greatest suck of all. When you realize that you were taken advantage of and you let it happen, that’s when you decide you don’t want it to happen again.” Luvvie
This is the worst feeling to have, it’s truly degrading. Letting people take advantage of you makes you feel worthless. In a sense it’s belittling your value when people aren’t willing to pay for your skills, products, or services. It also starts to have an effect on your self esteem.
If people aren’t paying you what you’re worth that means they don’t respect what you do. I’m not saying to never do a free project ever again. Sure, if you have a good friend or a project that is close to your heart by all means go for it.
Or if you’re able to exchange services in return, that’s cool too. I’m just saying don’t make a habit out of it. Time adds up, and if you keep giving your services and products away for free it will start to hurt your pockets. How are you going to reach your money goals if you keep not giving away your products and services for free? It’s time we stand up! In 2015 no more working for free! Especially if you’ve been doing this for years and you’ve put in your 10,000 hours of practice. You have bills to pay, and Sallie Mae doesn’t accept excuses as deposits.
Let me say that again People want thrift store prices, but expect luxury quality. I’ve worked on free projects that have caused me nothing, but stress and headaches.
So much back and forth and ASAP deadlines you would’ve thought I was being paid, but I wasn’t and it sucked.
When you are doing something for free it’s hard to give your best effort towards the project, because you’re not really being rewarded. When you ask someone to do something for free you are taking away valuable time that they could of spent doing something else.
Time away from paid projects, events, family, relaxing etc.
It’s time to start charging what you are worth, and not feeling sorry for doing it. You are not sorry! You are a smart, hardworking and ambitious individual who should be getting paid what you deserve.
Set your prices and if people can’t afford them then they can find someone else, and you can move on to a client who truly values you and your services. We are no longer in high school and college anymore (and if you are then you will most likely have to do free projects, sowwiee). We have dreams, goals, bills and families to support.
If you’re just starting out and need to lower your rates to build up testimonials for your website that’s great. I’ve done this before to help me build my portfolio. However after you’ve gained the experience it’s time to raise your rates.