My favorite local tea shop gave me and my wife a “loyalty” discount on our first trip there — before we’d displayed even an ounce of actual loyalty! A few months later they were out of business, despite being the best tea shop in the downtown area.
Our favorite local restaurant discounted our last check by $25 because we didn’t finish our charcuterie, even though we loved it and raved about it to the staff! (We were just too full to finish it.) A few months later, that restaurant was out of business, even though it was widely recognized as one of the best restaurants in the city.
I could tell you countless stories where charging too little led to failure…
Even younger Danny made this mistake: I neurotically offered one of my first clients a refund (over $200+) just because he asked a question about the work I delivered to him!
Thankfully, he refused, assuring me he was happy with my work.
That was a major “aha” moment for me, as it revealed a profound truth that went against every fiber of my middle class upbringing: Good clients don’t want cheap — they want GOOD.
And they’re happy to pay well for it.
I’d like to say my struggles with not charging too little ended at that moment. But they didn’t.
The first time I charged $50, $75, and even $100+/hr, I:
- Was convinced I’d get stuck in the “feast/famine” cycle you hear freelancers complaining about (i.e. spend months going hungry while constantly looking for new clients who are willing to pay your “high” rate)
- Froze every time I looked at the ticking clock on hourly pay jobs, as I was “sure” the clients would ask why it took me so long to complete the work
- Was always prepared for the client to hate my work and think it wasn’t worth the “big” price they paid
Based on all the emails and blog comments I get each week from you guys, I know I’m not the only one who’s been through these types of challenges.
Soon, I’m going to share some ideas to help you overcome them.
But first, let me ask you, why do you think we think, feel, and act this way?
Don’t worry about the “right” answer — I want to hear YOUR answer. Are you getting paid what you want to get paid, right now? If not, why do you think that is? Leave a comment here and tell me what you think.
We’ll talk more about this shortly.
(Creative Commons image via Damien Gabrielson)