Freelancer; What’s your price?
In this day and age price point is a big question for many; both for those who are new in the field, and even the veterans who make an effort to stay up to date with the trends.
What it comes down to are these factors: Market Research, Supply vs Demand, Quality, Niche, Qualifications, Estimated Work, and more. One of the first things you should do is market research. What are others charging for the skillset/service you offer? Find those who have been successful and have sustained that success. Follow their example. Don’t reinvent the wheel. There’s a reason that the price point they have leads to a sustainable income. If you don’t follow good patterns for sustainable income then you will most likely have to “abandon ship” before too long.
Supply vs Demand. This is two-fold. There’s supply vs demand for what you offer, and then there is supply and demand for you, yourself. When you’ve made a good name for yourself you will obtain higher demand for the work that you offer. But first, you have to market yourself.
Marketing yourself isn’t difficult. If you think it is then you need to address your worldview; your own psychological barrier. See my articles on “Leverage Your Mind”, “Habits, Patterns, and Will Power”, and “Limits and the Size of the Challenge”. For a good book to help start you on your journey, I recommend “See You At The Top” by Zig Ziglar. That book was a huge transition for me into self development, and I thank God for the blessing it has been.
Seek out podcasts, blogs, videos, and groups of people in the same field and connect with them. Learn from them. Ask people who already have proven track records, what they read. You want to take home the best information you can to leverage yourself from here on. Note: this doesn’t mean drama/fiction books! I’m talking about self development books.
Niche is a beautiful thing. The rarer the niche the more likely the service you provide is worth more. But that’s only true if the demand is there. The Dodo bird is extinct… don’t be one.
Qualifications. This is your homework. You need to self assess what qualifications you have in both skills and experience. Sell your strong points, and be honest if you don’t meet any specific criteria. Although if you can manage to cram in the knowledge, you can share that in your sales pitch that you’re “actively using and learning that aspect of technology”. It’s a plus in your favor.
Alright, so what about pricing? There is an excellent podcast called “The Ruby Freelancers Show”. You don’t need to know Ruby, or even have learning it as a goal, because this show mostly focuses on the freelance side of things. For pricing I recommend Episode 6 The Ruby Freelancers Show 006, Setting Your Rate. Also search through all the episodes as they have many highly relevant episodes for you. A couple of the recommended items from this podcast include the book, Negotiating Your Salary: How To Make $1000 a Minute, and the video “What Should I Charge?” by Shane Pearlman. These are both great resources I vouch for.
What you’re selling is value, and what the other party involved is selling is value. Yes that’s right. Both sides are selling value. You have something of worth (product/service/skills), and they have something of worth (currency). Everything is relative in value, but what you’re both looking for is a happy assumption of worth gained from exchange. They hope to get at least the worth of their investment if not a greater profit. You of course have the benefit of negotiating the worth you’re providing, and even the worth of what they’re getting (Yes these are two different things). So what you really need is an art form that was greatly exercised before our time. Yes, many don’t even know about it anymore. It’s the art of haggling.
I’ll give you an example. Around here we have flea markets. At flea markets people often bring stuff they just want to get rid of for small change, and some are there to make a profit. I walked up to one person who had a bass guitar lying in an open case, stringless, covered in dirt, and in need of repair. I asked the man what he wanted for it. He said “$80”. That was a bit high for me, so I had no problem letting him know that. I said “How about $60”. He said “$75”. So from there I went on to indicate all of the problems it had and the work/effort I was going to have to put into it. The strings themselves cost $20. He didn’t seem to want to sell. I let him know I was willing to buy it for $60 and then started to walk away. Then his natural instinct of “The Fear of Loss” hit him and he called out to me and said “Alright, $60 it is”. So I got the bass, I fixed it up, and it’s one of the best sounding bass’ I’ve ever played. He got the value he chose, and so did I from which I was able to improve upon. This is the art of haggling.
But there is another kind of sale to consider. What if someone want’s to pay a higher price because that psychologically affirms to themselves that they’ve really bought “that much more value”. I’ve done this very same thing myself. I walked up to a stand at the flea market and saw a vintage box with a pewter art pattern on top. When I saw it I set in my heart a special purpose for it, so I already had established high value in it for myself. The guy was at the end of the sales day and ready to go; so he said “$3”. I quickly said “alright” and that was a huge flag for him. He responded “Darnit! I should have asked for more”. After that my frugal sister wasn’t able to haggle any good deals from him because my quick response had nudged his greed some. But oh well. I wanted it to have more worth, and I wasn’t about to haggle down.
Two of the key things to keep in mind when you assess the value you are offering in exchange, is first they’ll likely ask a lower bid, and second don’t make an offer where you will say “Darnit! I should have asked for more”. Make sure you start at a sweet spot just above the comfort zone, and land with an acceptable value. Like an airplane coming in for a landing: It picks its nose up before the target runway to stall into a perfect landing; otherwise the plane crashes. Consider – it – well.
I hope these insights have helped crank the gears in your mind for how you may better haggle. For more haggle wisdom check this article “How to Haggle Like Your Old Man”.
God Bless! And may all your negotiations be mutually satisfactory.
-Daniel P. Clark