Most people begin by looking around to see what others charge for the same service and set their own rates at the low end, or even under, thinking that clients will be attracted by the deal.
Consider: Do you want the clients who will be attracted to your playing small?
What if you looked inside rather than outside and did some research. How long does it take you – inclusively – to do what you do the best you can do. The prep, the cleanup, the fathing about. You know you do it, don’t squirm in your seat. It’s part of the creative process.
My first editing job was for my Ph.D advisor (whom I may have disappointed by leaving before I wrote the dissertation – sorry about that. It was a good choice though.) He hired me to edit his book. Ever a teacher, he delivered my first freelancing lesson: write down and charge for the time you pace, the time for making tea and the time for sharpening your pencils (we used those back then).
It’s all a part of the process and you must respect and take care of your awesomeness if you expect it to be there for you. It’s not a perpetual motion device, it’s a part of a human psyche made of longing, observation and study and it can wear out. Take care of it. So count it all and come up with something you can live with. How many of those packages do you have to sell and complete to eat this year? How about to go to the south of France? Figure it out, do the math, both internally and externally. Here’s my A to this Q, listed on most of my rate sheets. I think you’ll know what I mean:
Q: Why don’t you have hourly rates? I don’t work by the hour because a lot of the awesome I give you happens when you’re not looking. I’m walking Oso (the Samoyed– he’s our big, white fur ball of a dog) or in the bathtub or chopping tomatoes and the three things I’ve been turning over about that lovely thing you suggested all collide in an avalanche of sparklers, angel
voices and gushing waterfalls and I simply must stop and draw a shape on the chalkboard that encompasses it all and will later translate into words. That is what you really pay me for, not the words. It looks deceptively the other way around, doesn’t it? But think: you’ve paid other people for words, haven’t you? Yeah, that’s not what you’re paying me for.
Nuff said? Get really aware of what you put into your craft, put a number on it, see how the number compares to the other numbers in your life, roll one out and test it. Give it 3 months, you can always revise. Life is an experiment and you are the scientist of your mind. Wait, this isn’t my yoga blog. Here’s the bottom line: do some math, create a structure and start owning your worth.
- artistic survival….the adventure of foolishness…. (makebelieveboutique.com)