Who can advise me on my rates?

The old “what should I charge” question?

It worries me when I see posts like this in groups asking for advice on what we should charge. 

My firm belief is: others can’t advise you on what you should charge, because your experience and how you feel towards the value add is unique. 

I also believe that if we don’t set our prices right, we can end up not just devaluing ourselves, but also others in the same sector.

Let me give you an example of why I think it’s dangerous to ask others to advise you on your pricing.

I was advised back in 2015 what I should charge as a newly qualified social media manager.  I took this as gospel when I started. Literally, within weeks of charging this rate, I was miserable with the price I was receiving. Ok, I was newly qualified, but I realised I was using the other 20 years experience I had as well, so why should I be on such a low rate?  I think the positioning of what I was offering was wrong; I was upskilling – not a graduate.  

There isn’t one size fits all when it comes to rates, we’re entirely different, and we all have different experiences. We all have different attitudes and confidence when it comes to money as well. By taking advice from someone else when it comes to money, you could be adopting their limiting beliefs on what they’re charging.

Benchmarks and research of a whole sector are much more useful, Procopywriters have an excellent survey for copywriters that they put together every year. Also, YunoJuno has shared its research on many of the freelancer rates out there. It's a helpful guide which shows you the varying rates from client managers to UX designers and social media managers and lots in between.

Before you send that quote or set your prices, I would encourage you to consider following these steps (this is the process I follow when putting my rates and proposals together):

  • What do you want to charge?
  • Do your research and find out what the benchmarks are, but don’t over compare yourself. 
  • Pause before giving your rates, take time to consider them.
  • What rate would you be happy with that wouldn’t leave you feeling resentful afterwards?
  • Put some of your rates on your website to avoid tyre kickers (I have my prices on my website).
  • Have you considered tax, NI and your expenses?
  • Ask your client some open-ended sales questions. This will get them to open up about what they have in mind for the project, explain their pain-points, and encourage them to share more information that will help you customise the proposal. They might come back and say they have no idea of what budget they need and then ask you to come up with an estimate. In this scenario, make sure you scope out the job properly and try and find out what budget they have before you do lots of unpaid work on a proposal.
  • Rather than focusing on money, change the conversation to be about what the results of the project will mean to them. Highlight the achievements you can get them, and what results you’ve achieved for other clients – this allows your client to see into their future, and forecast the success they can expect.
  • What if they don’t have the right budget? Knowing when to walk away is key to scaling your business and gaining customers that want to work with you.

Both parties need to be happy. 

Make sure you end up at a price you are happy with otherwise you will resent the work and the client.  Being paid the right amount is essential because it impacts on the rest of our lives. If we aren’t paid what we feel we’re worth or the right amount, we leave ourselves vulnerable to overworking to make more money and feeling resentful about the work we are doing; this can lead to all sorts of problems that will impact on ourselves and our relationships with others.

I coach a lot of women around pricing and money mindset, and we can’t show up and be our best selves unless we’re adequately paid. I’ve heard stories of people having to go back into full-time work because they’ve undervalued themselves, and ended up giving up on their dream business.

I recently coached someone who needed to put her prices up. The next time she was asked to quote, she asked what the customers budget was, and it was twice what she was going to quote anyway, which confirmed that she had been charging too little for her services. I’ve also heard countless stories of businesses going in too low and only realised this when the client bites their hand off at the first price they give them. Does this sound familiar? 

Book a free call to find out more about my The Online Business Blueprint Programme and 1-2-1 coaching packages. I believe the money mindset and pricing modules challenge any limiting beliefs you have around money and will give you the confidence to level up and charge more.