Top 10 Signs You Should Raise Your Rates

December is crunch time for most freelancers. It’s that time of year again. Time to take on a few extra projects to make going to the mall less painful, and time to say, ‘yes’ to ridiculous requests from your clients.

photo cc alli

It’s the holidays, so you’ll give them a break; they just need one more thing done; it’s a friend of a friend. Whatever the excuse is for basically bartering for work, the holiday season can be tough on a freelancer.

If you’re feeling a bit over-worked and over-booked this year, know that you’re not alone. Your fellow freelancers can easily be spotted mid way through December shaking their fists at the sky yelling, “why am I doing this again?!”.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. This New Year, resolve to raise your rates and beat the holiday blues.

Wondering if you should be charging more this Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-Non Denominational Holiday Season?

Even though it’s better for you and your clients, we can tell from here that you’re not charging enough. Almost nobody ever does!

There’s a little joke that most stand up comedians don’t know but tons of freelancers have heard.

“Slap your clients in the face and then tell him your hourly rate. If he’s more shocked by the slap than by your rate, you’re not charging enough.”

Okay, now back to the serious stuff.

How do you know if you’ve been selling your awesomely talented self short and under-charging for your work?

Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

photo cc kennymatic

We’ve got years of freelancing and consulting gigs under our belts, and we know that as a freelancer, even thinking about raising your rates feels a bit dirty.

That’s why we put together this list of the Top 10 Signs You Should Raise Your Rates. (If one or more of these applies to you, it’s time to raise ‘em up!)

  1. It feels like you clients treat you like a warm body who'll do their bidding, not an expert to be trusted.
  2. You're always working...but never seem to get anywhere
  3. You find yourself prioritizing your day based on which client is the most angry, the most urgent and will pay the fastest.
  4. You make dark cynical jokes about living off coffee and the 30-day grace period on your credit cards.
  5. You find yourself working for clients you'd never hire for anything.
  6. Whoops! You forgot to include marketing, networking, sales calls, administrative work, writing contracts, and "just one quick change" work in your hourly rate.
  7. Health insurance? Vacation? Sick days? Retirement fund? Evenings spent relaxing with friends? Ha!
  8. You feel under immense pressure to take gigs that don't make sense, that you don't want to do, because you need money.
  9. You can't find enough time or energy to do your best work. (And your clients? They can't even tell the difference.)
  10. You miss having a job.

When you under-charge, everybody loses. Sure, the occasional seasick crocodile, Grinch type makes off with a great deal. But, really, you can’t do great work when you’re so stressed you’re about to pop.

You can’t give your clients the support and guidance they need. And it doesn’t do anyone any good when you work for people you can’t connect with… or respect.

Charge more, though, and you’ll actually attract a better type of client. The ones who are happy to pay for your expertise, who’ll pay up front deposits. The kind who want a partner, not a slave.

And… you’ll be able to work fewer hours, meaning you can relax, and learn, and grow. Which means you’ll be able to do better work.

Undercharging hurts everyone. Charging for value helps everyone.

That’s what we call a happy ending!

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