It’s Not About Self-Worth: The Key to Freelance Pricing

It's Not About Self-Worth The Key to Freelance Pricing

You know you want to command the fees you deserve, but is there a wrong way to set graphic design freelance pricing? Apparently so.

To hear Marketing Mentor Toolbox CEO Ilise Benun tell it, “There is the wrong way to think about what you are worth and there is the right way to think about what you are worth.” And, it turns out, the wrong way is the way most people think about it.


Freelance Pricing Isn’t About Your Self-Worth

Freelancers think about “what we are worth” when coming up with price sheets and negotiating pay rates. And while you are settling on that dollar amount the primary instinct is to think about how much you need to get paid. It is a smart, self-preserving impulse but it is also a slippery slope.

When prices are based solely on the dollar amount you think you need, you ignore the needs of the people who are writing the check – the clients. And that leads to trouble.

You can’t change a client’s ability to pay. They have a budget and if their budget isn’t big enough to pay your rate, there isn’t anything you can do to change that. But it is so tempting to get stuck there – to spend time lamenting clients who, “refuse to pay what you’re worth.”

The Key to Freelance Graphic Design Pricing:

In reality, your personal worth has nothing to do with it. You actually just have “a pricing problem with a marketing solution.” Your solution is to find out what your clients value and to produce that work at a rate that is fair to them and to you.

“When it comes to the pricing side, I encourage you, as much as possible, to separate yourself from your work.”


By separating your sense of personal value from your work it is easier get honest about how much you should really charge for the things you produce.

The outcome of that analysis could mean scaling back on work you personally love in order to dedicate more time producing products that meet your clients needs. Or you can re-double your marketing efforts and encourage more referrals so you find the people who can and want to pay for the products you love to make.

The important thing to remember is that, “the value of your work is not about the work itself, it’s not about the time it takes you, and it’s not about your years of experience.”

It can sound like a harsh message, but its also a powerful way to reframe your pricing strategy. When you price your products or services based on the value they bring to clients, it is a much easier sell. Sure, says Ilise, because it still, “requires a conversation and a negotiation.” But it also means you aren’t trying to talk someone into spending money on something they don’t need or want. Instead you can go in confident that you are offering them something that benefits the both of you.

Overhaul your freelance pricing strategy with Ilise Benun’s CreativeLive class: Command the Fees You Deserve.

Whether you want to start generating freelance income while you keep your day job, or you’re ready to get serious about growing your existing client base, download our free eBook, The Freelancer’s Roadmap.


Rachel Gregg FOLLOW >

Rachel is the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel. Her side hustle is floral design and her day job is awesome. @ms_gregarious.