Sometime last year, I got a job to write a press release for a digital marketing agency that was just starting out. The job had come through a colleague, and he wanted to know how much I would like to be paid for the service. I told him I didn’t know, and looking back now I really did not have an idea on how to go about putting a price tag on this service I render from time to time(because I had been doing it for free). I mumbled an amount of money, he sighed and told me he would request for triple the amount I mentioned while he kept the rest to himself since I was not interested in being paid my worth, or at least something near it. I quickly shaped up and he got me the deal.
I started conversations with my first real client(a paying one), and they wanted to see what I had done in the past. Now, this is the point where I emphasize the importance of having a work portfolio. If you cannot afford a website, by all means get a blog to showcase your works or contribute regularly on other established spaces. They were impressed with my past works and we moved on to getting the task done.
A little into the conversation, they wanted to know how I preferred to get paid. My extremely modest and utterly annoying side came up, offering them a 50% before and after payment plan. Now this isn’t bad in its entirety, but there were a hundred and one things that could have gone wrong with this plan I so recklessly offered — client’s refusal to pay up, unnecessary delays, feigned dissatisfaction to boycott the other half, etc. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with this client, they were satisfied with the delivery so much that they promised more gigs in the future.
Take a percipient look into my attitude towards the situation and you would realize that I had a huge problem — defining my worth and having some confidence in it. I had gone on providing this service for free for too long the possibility of getting paid for it looked too good to be true, and so I was ready to play it safe. What’s more? Besides getting underpaid(I wouldn’t know this at the time), I was also ready to let half of my charge go, because I was not sure if the client would like my work. This was some messed up situation that I had to work on.
This brings me to the point of this article — getting paid your worth every time(not infrequently, not occasionally-everytime). The truth is that every client will pay more for something that matters to them or that will bring them more returns, and so they will be willing to pay you properly for your expertise if you make the demands.
Another reality is that there isn’t an all encompassing formula to measuring your worth. There are industry standards on pricing depending on your field, and you can also come up with your very own pricing plan based on the number of service you provide or the hours you spend on it, but you would realize too quickly how this can also fail you in some exceptional circumstances.
What matters more isn’t necessarily your pricing plan. It doesn’t count for much whether you are using a cost-plus strategy(adding a particular amount of profit to the overall cost incurred in the provision of that service), industry regulated prices or you are just charging based on what your customers are prepared to pay. Whatever plan you decide to to use, there are the positives and negatives. What you need to figure out is what works for you, and above all what works for your customers and the nature of their projects, bearing in mind individual dynamism. That is the only way you can be sure that you are getting paid your worth per time.
In the end, what matters the most is your ability to evaluate your value proposition properly and start setting clear-sighted and competitive prices for the service(s) you provide.
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