In graphic design, it is important to avoid being a “commodity”. The founder and CEO of brand strategy design consultancy Blind, Chris Do, agrees that one of the things you’ll learn over time is that you’ll need to “make room for better clients”.
In order to gain more opportunities in the future, you’ll have to make the tough decision of leaving your comfort zone of existing clients.
As one self-taught graphic designer (Ben Burns) who moved from $400 to $30,000 logo designs said to me once, “It’d be hard for Tarzan to swing through the jungle if he never let go of a vine.” So sometimes grasping a new opportunity will take one hand as opposed to two.
Here are my six tips for budding graphic designers looking to make more money:
How Not to Work for Cheap
Every design project you complete takes you closer to being a better graphic designer.
It will be important for you to remain mindful that your value is increasing. With increased value and expertise comes the need to revise your rates. Do not fall into the trap of pricing your work at a lower rate than market rates just to land the next project.
Know your worth. One obvious indicator that you can raise your rates is being in demand.
Don’t Be Afraid to Raise Your Rates
Are you afraid to raise your rates? There’s absolutely no reason to feel this way.
Whether you studied graphic design in school or you’re self-taught, you should have confidence in your skill sets to know that you work is better than the competition’s.
When you think about every other professional out there (dentists, lawyers, doctors, architects, fashion designers, artists, etc.), they all charge what they know they’re worth.
For instance, let’s say you land a logo and identity project for a startup or established company; you want to come out the winner, so ensure you consider how much your client stands to make over the lifetime of the logo and identity.
All They Can Say Is No
Your ideas and time are valuable. If you feel your next logo design should cost $1,000 USD then charge that amount even if your previous rate was $100 (or significantly lower).
The worse thing that can happen is that you lose a prospective after you submit your quotation. It’s not the end of the world.
The people who understand the value your work will bring will pay what you’re asking. After all, creativity takes tremendous mental capacity, especially if you’re constantly doing custom work versus production work (templates).
Examine Your Present and Past Clientele
Some of you have been in busy for at least three years and you’ve just been getting by on minuscule earnings, even with a steady stream of design projects.
Perhaps it’s time you take a very bold step and being firing those nickel-and-dime clients. You know the one’s I’m referring to; they’re always asking for a discount and complaining about how “expensive” your quotations are.
But take my advice, this is a step in the right direction; this was the way I was able to charge more.
Look At the Prices of the Competition
It is important that you always try to recognise your value as your skills and work improve. As you grow, you’ll need to reassess your value as a graphic designer.
One way to tell what you ought to be charging is to take some time and examine the competition locally and internationally.
If you work is comparable or better than others in your industry, it’s one indicator that you should be offering your design and creative services for around the same price or significantly more — particularly if you bring more value to a design project.
You Are Not an Impostor
My final bit of advice to you, especially if you are self-taught, is to move beyond the “impostor syndrome”.
Just because you weren’t formally or classically trained in graphic design with a degree behind your name doesn’t make you any less of a graphic designer. Let your work speak for itself.
Go one step further and take some time to have clients write you a testimonial (three to five sentences) immediately after a design project completion. People like hearing from other people and not from the business/entrepreneur.
This will help boost your confidence to increase revenue. Once you’re able to embrace your abilities and authenticity, you’ll feel more justified in raising your prices.
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