A little while back, I wrote about Impostor Syndrome, feeling like you don’t belong, like your work isn’t good enough, like you don’t deserve things, etc. For those of us who do freelance work or who sell crafts and commissions, this can be particularly difficult.

We’re not just asking for our salary once, we’re asking for it over and over again from each person we interact with. It’s not like we can build up that one-time confidence. But on the other hand, we have a better chance of developing an overall confidence in our work.

What’s most important to remember is that YOU ARE NOT ON SALE! Sure, you may have sales and discounts, but don’t discount yourself. You are worth every penny–and if you choose to give people a break, that’s you being generous it’s not what you’re really worth. You picked the price for a legitimate reason–materials, labor, experience, etc.

It’s important to develop ways of asserting yourself. Maybe practice sales interactions with a good friend. Come up with answers which remind you of the reasons you priced it the way you did.

For example, a friend of mine is often asked for discounts. For a while she gave in too often. Sometimes she’ll still give one (to a long-time customer, for instance). More often, however, she’ll respond, “While I’d like to give you a discount, I haven’t yet convinced my landlord/grocery store/gas station/etc to give me a similar discount.”

To her, comparing her business to another business reminds her of the legitimacy of her charges. Hopefully it also reminds the customer that she’s a businesswoman just like anyone else. It could have the downside of making a customer think that she’s over charging them to support her lifestyle, but so far it’s worked for her.

If the customer threatens to go elsewhere, you can point out that they’re paying for your experience and skills. You’re going to do excellent work for them, not a cheap and shoddy job. Such a response boosts your own confidence by reminding yourself of all the good work you’ve done in the past. And they should realize that while they might find cheaper prices elsewhere, they’ll get quality with you.

How do you handle pricing your work? What do you say when asked for discounts? How do you boost your confidence?


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October 19, 2008 at 4:19 am
Freelancers Setting Prices
December 20, 2008 at 7:00 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

FinanceAndFat November 26, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Good article. I went through some similar problems when I started work as a freelancer. I just didn’t put a proper value on my time. Now when I look at the prospects of a new project I think of the nights and weekends that I will have to devote to it and it takes a really nice sum of money to convince me to take on the job. That leaves me feeling much better about the whole job anyway.

When starting out, you need to sell yourself a bit cheap, but be sure to start increasing prices quickly- probably with each new client.

mrsmicah November 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm

I’m definitely getting better at pricing but I know I’ve hideously underpriced some things. So I tell myself, that it’s an investment in my resume–with this new experience I can feel better charging more and show justified cause. 🙂

Lisa Braithwaite November 26, 2007 at 8:30 pm

Mrs. Micah, check out Bruce Baker’s CD on “Dynamic Sales and Customer Service Techniques.” His products are specifically created for craftspeople – he understands the industry and his CDs are highly recommended by many crafters. I found them extremely enlightening and helpful.

Personally, I’ve never tried to compete on price. I compete on expertise and quality work and I have no interest in lowering my prices to appeal to a mass audience. It was the same way when I was making jewelry. If someone can’t afford my product or service, then they aren’t my target audience.

Brip Blap November 26, 2007 at 10:56 pm

I don’t have that much experience in this area, but from a consulting point of view it’s important to have a set rate, be able to explain WHY it’s set there, and only start mentioning discounts if you plan on giving them. Once people realize you will consider them, you are going to be hounded until you do give them. Personally I don’t ever offer discounts – down that road poverty lies…. I would rather stick to my rate, personally.

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