I’ve always been the “creative type,” eager to beautify everything I encounter. From styling my coffee table with peonies to crafting a thoughtful letter, I am in the business of creation. Business savvy, however, was not always my forte. In many ways, it still isn’t. When I began writing and consulting for small businesses, I was unsure what to charge for my work. It’s a daunting task, determining your worth in terms of nickels and dimes. My first instinct was to undercharge, in the hopes that good work would create repeat business.
One day, a happy client who had requested I write a press release for their brand called me, and said very matter-of-factly, “You don’t charge enough for this shit. I’m going to give you a piece of advice: Never charge a dime more than you’re worth, but never accept a dime less.”
Since then, I’ve adapted a new confidence about my work and worth. I began setting rates for hourly work, and insisted that my consulting fee be worth my tenacity and creativity. I read something somewhere that said 80% of employees who ask for a raise inevitably receive one. It’s no different in terms of running your small business: If a brand needs and respects your work, they will happily write the check.
Money isn’t everything, and it certainly isn’t my motivation, but it’s nice to have my work manifest itself in a physical, tangible way. Also, new shoes.