By Katy Cowan
Think you can’t make more money? Think again. Any freelancer in the creative industries has the potential to increase their revenue. It won’t be easy. It won’t happen overnight. But there are steps you can take today to work towards being better paid. Steps that will set you on the path to a higher turnover, better clients and more lucrative projects.
1. Focus on quality
Best way to earn more cash? Focus on presenting yourself as a quality service provider. That means only showcasing the bigger clients and projects on your portfolio, and not being shy about mentioning the skills, experience, awards and achievements you have.
Invest time and/or money in your brand identity and website. Ensure your website’s copy is enticing and, more importantly, correct. Dress smart and with an air of elegance. Do everything you can to present an aura of quality and you will have a better chance of attracting quality. Quality brings bigger clients with bigger budgets, after all. And the more you have on your portfolio, the more you’ll entice in future.
2. Boost your confidence
Often the biggest problem with freelancers is a lack of confidence. Imposter syndrome is rife in the creative sector. And who can blame us when so much of our work is on show, and there are so many people doing great things!
But thinking you’re not good enough is something clients will take advantage of, if you let them. They’ll mark you down on price because they think they can. They’ll push you in a direction you don’t want or need. Stop!
Be confident and walk with your head held high. You’re not desperate (at least, that’s not what you want to show). Because if potential clients think you’re cool, calm and confident – and that you don’t need the work and are in demand – they’ll pay top dollar to snap you up.
3. Gain credibility
Just completed a beautiful project that you think would turn heads? Put yourself forward for an award. Won an impressive new client? Approach the media and tell them about it. If you’re going to demand higher rates, you have to have some credibility to prove your worth. Because people really sit up and take notice of those who are making waves in the industry.
As an added bonus, consider launching a local networking event or even a big conference. Don’t think it’s possible? There are people, right now in Manchester, giving up huge swathes of their spare time to run a local design festival. I can only begin to imagine how much hard work is involved with organising such an event. But they’re doing it. And they’ve been doing so for the past three years, with huge success. This designer I’m talking about now commands higher day rates, and has a wealth of lucrative clients under his belt. He’s flying. But I know he’d be embarrassed if I mentioned him. So I’ll keep quiet.
My point is this – be prepared to slog. Because the more you put in, the more you’ll get in return. Creative Boom doesn’t run itself. You wonder how I manage it while running my own business? Evenings, weekends, very early mornings… But it’s so worth the effort because I attract leads, attention and credibility. People think, gosh – she’s built an audience of 82,000 followers herself, we want some of that! Believe me. Gain credibility by making that extra effort and you’ll never look back.
4. Up your rates, but carefully
Establish an annual rate review with all existing clients. Send a physical letter three months before the next financial year, explaining that you’ll now be carrying out a review every 12 months and why your rates will be increasing this particular time.
Spread the risk by testing the water with one client at a time. I did this with one client and in seven years went from £200 per day to £630. Ok, I gained staff, an office and all associated costs during that time – so I was more than justified. But it helped me make more money, as well as ensure all my outgoings were covered. It also helped me to win bigger clients and projects.
Not sure how to communicate a rate increase to clients? Don’t be apologetic, be confident and know that it’s perfectly normal to revise your pricing structure. If you’re still not sure how to communicate your price increase, the following template should help, but feel free to tweak:
I hope you are well.
I’m writing to inform you that as of