There are three main ways to earn more revenue in your freelance design business:
1. Get more clients
2. Get clients to buy from you more frequently
3. Get paid more per project
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Of the three, getting paid more per project is the fastest way to increase revenue.
Getting more clients means having a steady stream of prospects and opportunities coming your way.
But getting more clients and prospects means having a marketing plan—and that can take time to get right.
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Setting up and building a marketing funnel and filling that pipeline with qualified leads can take months, if not years in some cases—especially for a designer.
Increasing the frequency that clients buy from you means you need to have a product or service you can sell over and over again to your clients.
But for designers doing project work, it’s usually “one and done.” You create a logo or build a website, and that’s it—for the most part. Then you’re onto the next client.
If you handle both the design and development, you might have a small monthly hosting and maintenance fee. But other than that, clients aren’t purchasing a service over and over again from you because project work doesn’t lend itself to recurring purchases.
So getting clients to buy with you over and over again might mean creating a new type of service offering or even changing your business model and target audience.
And that leaves #3. Getting paid more per project.
Raising your rates and getting paid your worth is the single quickest way to increase revenue in your business.
The fact is, to have a truly successful and balanced design business, you need all three of those things I mentioned.
1. You need to charge your worth
2. You need plenty of good quality leads and opportunities coming your way
3. You need to have a good chunk of your revenue in the form of recurring revenue (so you don’t start from zero every month)
If I was, let’s say, a designer making between $0-$50K per year looking to increase revenue, I would tackle the list in that order. I would start with pricing, then marketing, and then recurring revenue.
In many cases, pricing is the “low hanging fruit” that can give you some immediate results.
Besides increased revenue, raising your prices can also have other significant benefits.
Here are a few:
- Better clients
- More trust from your clients
- Fewer issues getting paid
- More satisfying work
- Better quality work
Some of these results from raising prices are very counterintuitive, but I’ve seen it over and over again; when you raise your rates, many good things can happen.
For example, here’s what happened when a member of my Pricing For Designers Facebook group raised her rates:
If you’re looking to raise your rates and get some of those other benefits I mentioned, I’ve included 5 of my top 10 pricing strategies here to help you charge your worth.
1. Don’t price hourly
You’ve probably heard this advice before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Don’t charge by the hour. Your client doesn’t really care how long it took to make the thing you are creating for them. What they care about is the result it will get for them.
The reason you shouldn’t price hourly is that it punishes you for being efficient, and as you get better at your craft you will get more efficient.
If you’re charging by the hour, that means you’ll get paid less and less the better and quicker you get.
You shouldn’t be punished for being good at your craft.
2. Always qualify your prospects
Picking the right clients (AKA qualifying) has a lot to do with being able to charge higher rates.
When you work with “bad-fit” clients, you crowd out all the good clients.
Spending all your time with someone who’s not a good fit, won’t leave you any time to focus on the good ones.
Instead, watch for red flags and qualify prospects early in your client intake process so you don’t waste your time on clients that can’t afford you or aren’t a good fit to work with you.
3. Choose the right audience
That might seem like more of a marketing strategy, but it relates to pricing too because picking the wrong audience can cap your earning potential.
If you are chasing after mom-and-pop businesses or self-funded startups, you’re not going to be able to charge as much as you could to say, businesses earning between 1-3 million a year with 5-10 employees.
Sometimes you can sell the exact same deliverable for 10X the price just by offering it to the right audience.
4. Always ask about budget
Not asking about the budget early on increases the chance of you wasting a lot of your time.
If you don’t ask you won’t know if you are in the same ballpark range.
The last thing you want is to put a ton of effort and work into a proposal thinking you might land a $10,000 project when all they have to spend on that new website is $3,000.
When that happens, usually you try to recoup some of that lost time by cutting your rate (since you were counting on that project and now need something to show for it).
Over-investing in the sale like this—without knowing if your prospect has the budget for it—results in unprofitable projects or a bunch of wasted time.
5. The way you price, matters
How you present your prices and how the client pays can be just as important as how much they pay.
Here are a few examples:
Offer a payment plan
A 30-year mortgage is a great example of this.
Not many people can afford to pay cash for a $400,000 home. But if you spread it out in payments over 30 years (with interest, of course), now, many more people will be willing to buy.
Same can be applied to your payment terms.
You’re not going to offer a 30-year payment plan, but you might offer 6 or 12 monthly installments to turn a “no” into a “yes” from a prospect.
Offer a satisfaction guarantee
Offering a time-based guarantee (for example a 30-day money back guarantee if they change their mind) can show a prospect that you’ve got skin in the game, you believe in the project, and you’re not going to disappear on them.
It takes a lot of confidence to guarantee a portion of the deposit—even if it’s for a limited time—but that can help push a prospect who’s on the fence to sign off on a project.
Offer more than 1 price option
If you offer different package choices—instead of just one price or package—the client can pick the package most closely aligned with what they want to spend. That increases your odds of landing the project.
Putting them in a yes/no situation limits your chances of getting a yes. Instead, offer them more package choices to up your odds of winning their business.
In all three of these cases above you’ve got the opportunity to increase your revenue and win the work solely based on the way you set up your offer.
If you want to learn more about raising your rates and getting paid your worth, check out my course Pricing For Designers. When you join the course, you’ll get templates, worksheets, email scripts and a pricing system to help you raise your prices like Marc did.
Join today to get $130 off the course by using the code MILLO at checkout. The code expires Friday, January 19th. Click here to get the details.
Comment below with your most successful pricing technique. Let’s hear it!