Rachel Awtrey

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The awkward topics with clients: money

I think when it all boils down to it, money is just sometimes an awkward topic. We either feel like we have to much or too little, we're charging too much or too little. 

But know this: we as designers or bloggers and creatives, we are not selling fish. We're teaching people how to fish. Meaning, we're selling our ideas. How much are your ideas worth. 

It's tough being a graphic designer and blogger sometimes because I want the best for the people that I want to propel in this area however, giving my ideas to someone else seems very vulnerable and risky. "What if they don't use them the way I intended?" "What if they don't like them?"

That is exactly why it's necessary that people must "buy" your thoughts. So be confident and don't let money be an awkward topic. 

Practically when we're dealing with money, here are my two cents:

1. Charge them up front

I have horror stories of people not paying me. It's just not healthy for my heart to be honest, I tend to grow bitter towards them, the project and then ultimately my work -- and you should never despise your work. My main piece of advice is to charge somebody, once agreed upon a price. That way, too, you are held accountable to finish the project in a timely fashion because they have held up their end of the bargain as well.

2. If they're not okay with your price, move on

Don't comprise yourself. Prices are tricky to create. You don't want to charge too high because you may not be able to help clients. However, you don't want to underestimate yourself in your prices because people will wonder why you're so inexpensive: "Is her work sub-par?" "Is is cheap?" Have your prices match the quality of your work. 

If your client isn't feeling that price or isn't able to work with what you have, stick to what you first said. They may just not be the best fit. There's special cases, though. Sometimes, there are people that have certain circumstances that you believe in and you want to help. That's different. Overall, don't lower your standards because someone can't meet them because there's other people out there that will steward your ideas better and be able to meet your prices.

3. Consider a trade

If they can't meet your monetary price but are willing to get creative, consider doing a trade! If they are another creative (artist, photographer, anything) maybe trade some work for money + their expertise to make up for what they aren't able to pay. Get creative!

4. Update your prices regularly

One of my biggest mistakes was sending someone an old pricing guide. My work was becoming more popular, there were other people that were interested; therefore, my prices should have been higher. Basic economic idea: supply + demand. But, because I quoted them a certain price, it was unethical to take it back. I kept them how I promised but really sold short myself. 

5. Use Paypal or some other invoicing system to keep track of charges

This is a lifesaver, especially when it comes to taxes (if you're making enough money). You'll want to keep track of everything/everyone/every dollar. It helps to not take cash or check. Let's be honest, everyone is paying online these days so it just makes it easier for everyone. With Paypal, you can charge someone, send an invoice, add comments and questions in the comments section, tell them what exactly you're charging them for, charge tax if you'd like and even draft them! It's simply a lifesaver

 

Friend, don't let money scare ya out of this business. It's tricky, yes. But, it's not impossible. Be honest, be confident, be ethical and you can work yourself into some awesome and successful business deals and relationships.