Aww the old favorite – or not so favorite – topic – PRICING. This is a hot button subject, and truth be told, it’s scary. It’s so scary that I didn’t want to talk about it, ha! I’m afraid to talk about it! Can’t let a little fear stop me though. Hopefully you’ll agree with me, if not, that’s okay too. Let’s stay friends, ok?
So there’s been a buzz around the internet from a post by a fellow graphic and web designer, in which she boldly says that “Artists think they are worth more than they are.” She argues that she raised her prices to what she “thought” they should be. She described a backlash of sorts, which ended up in her missing opportunities to work with some fantastic people, and work too little. It got me REALLY thinking, because this is the opposite of everything you hear. I’d NEVER heard before that someone regretted upping their pricing. I’m not sure what her prices were before and after – but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that she didn’t feel good in her SOUL, about her pricing. She wasn’t happy with someone else’s idea of what her pricing should be.
Let me be clear, I DON’T agree with the statement that “Artists think they are worth more than they are.”
I think an artist’s WORTH is priceless. You cannot put a price tag on a life of experience, of blood, sweat and tears to become who you’ve become. If we are talking about VALUE of the WORK to another PERSON – then yes, that’s a number we can probably guess at. I do think MORE times than not, an Artist is under-charging. I find a LOT more people undercharging then overcharging. We often devalue ourselves when we are doing something we love to do.
On the other hand, I also believe it’s our duty as artist to be responsible in our pricing, to do no financial harm unless they can afford it, and the value is there. There’s a pledge called Do No Financial Harm that I love, and it states, I PLEDGE:
1. To care for my clients’ financial well-being,
2. To care for my business’ financial well-being,
3. To care for the financial well-being of my industry.
I absolutely adore this concept and it really hits to the heart of what I believe.
I believe, just like everything else, that pricing needs a balance. It needs to work for you REALISTICALLY (because you’re probably still undercharging), and it needs to provide the appropriate value for your client. Pricing should also dictate how much you want to work. If you’re looking to shift the balance to more family, and less work, you should charge more. If you love what you do and you’d like nothing but to get more work, you can price yourself competitively (notice I still didn’t say lower your prices). I don’t believe in the idea of pricing competitively and booking crazy amounts in advance, or having a long wait-list. I’ve seen businesses who are booked 2+ years in advance, or are impossible to get in to work with, and it’s totally crazy to me. PLEASE raise your prices and allow the people who LOVE you to work with you. I don’t think forcing clients to wait around a crazy amount of time is a sustainable or responsible way to do business. Can I get an AMEN?
I’d love to encourage you today to think about your pricing, and how it makes you feel. Do you feel it’s appropriate to the value of your work? Are you working with the people you’d like to be working with? Remember, too-low prices attract nightmare clients (I’ve got some CRAY stories when I first started doing invitations, but that’s another post). Are you doing okay financially? Are you booked too far in advance? Do you want to work less? Do your clients appreciate you, your work and your vision?
If not, let’s fix it. Let’s finally find the balance between worth, value and price. You can do it!