The difference between charging a price that seems “safe” and “comfortable” versus requiring your clients to pay your full value is confidence. What school you went to, where you live, your previous experience; none of that really matters. What matters is having the confidence to place a high value on what you do. Do you have that confidence? If you’re here, and if you’re like many other designers, you probably don’t. Why are designers almost “programmed” to undervalue and undersell what they do? Here’s what I’ve come up with.
You may be a humble person in most areas of your life, but to start making what you’re worth you have to start building your confidence. Confidence starts on the inside. And yeah, it’s easier said than done, but one of the first things you can do is take a closer look at your mindset.
Start by reading the following sentence: “People regularly pay $5000 for logos that aren’t much different than the ones you’re making for $50.” What’s your internal dialogue saying? How are you speaking to yourself? Are you saying things like “that’s impossible”? What about, “Maybe other designers could do that, but there’s no way I could pull it off”?
I think sometimes we need permission from somebody that we trust and respect to just let ourselves ask for what we’re worth. We get used to boxing ourselves into a tight space, internally using words that we may not even be aware we’re using. Maybe you describe yourself by what you used to do (“I’m an ex-marine, I’m a former teacher”) instead of what you currently do. You don’t feel comfortable calling yourself what you are: an innovative, inventive designer.
As those thoughts echo around in your head, another issue starts to arise: imposter syndrome. You may have heard of this before. It’s rampant in creative world. You feel like you’re an imposter. You feel like you’re not qualified to do what you’re doing, that you’re just pretending. You’re apologetic, waiting for someone to discover you and call you out.
We spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others. In one sense, that’s okay, because it’s how we grow. But in another sense, comparison can be our biggest enemy. You say, “I don’t know myself as a professional. I don’t know any other professional designers. I don’t know what it means to be a professional designer, but I know I’m not that guy. I didn’t go to a private art school. I don’t live in an area known for design. I didn’t do this, that, and the other thing. Because of that, I’m just pretending to be a professional.”
If you’re constantly receiving these types of messages, of course you’re not going to feel confident in charging more for your design. How could you? If you’re an “imposter,” charging more puts you at greater risk of exposure. Even more, raising your prices feels wrong. You don’t feel right charging what a “professional” would, because you see yourself as an amateur.
Transitioning out of your current mindset into a mindset of confidence will transform how you approach your clients, your business, and your pricing structure. I’d like to challenge you to pay closer attention to your inner dialogue. What are you telling yourself right now after reading this? Are they the words of a professional, or someone who sees themselves as an imposter?