If you want to grow your web design business all while avoiding burnout, you have to stop undercharging for your services! The answer is never signing on another client at your current rate, instead raise your web design prices. In this blog post, I explain the how and why behind raising your prices.
It’s been 13 months since I stopped telling myself “I need to land more web design projects no matter the cost” and instead took on the mindset of “taking on more clients is never the answer.” The journey to actually believing my new mantra wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t an instantaneous thing but today if you asked me if I would take on a project for $500 simply because I needed the money, my answer would be no.
Taking on more clients no matter the cost is never the answer when you’re finding yourself short of cash.
The Coffee Shop Example
Let’s flash back by 8 years when I was in my senior year of college. If you didn’t know, I was a coffee and donut expert at New England’s favorite coffee shop, Dunkin’ Donuts. That’s right, I sported the trendy brown vizor and apron and brought home of the smell of coffee and donuts every day. I even indulged in a donut during every shift and oddly enough, a few slices of cheese just because. Did I mention it was a DD inside of a WalMart? People watching at its finest!
At this particular time, the manager was pregnant and needed to train someone to take over the shift of opening the store. I was basically volun-told that I would take over that responsibility and I decided it was a good thing. More hours, but in the morning so I would have the whole day to do all the important things like schoolwork and hanging out with my friends, and therefore more pay each week.
I probably went from working 15ish hours a week to working at least double that each week. For a broke college student making minimum wage, having your paycheck doubled is like winning the lottery.
But it was also at a certain expense that I never really talked about… there were so many weekend parties that I had to bow out of because I had to get up at 3:30 or 4 AM to go to work. I was also exhausted in the afternoons so doing all the things basically meant sitting on the couch with my roommate watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. And then there was the whole “people are counting on me” thing. Only so many people were trained to open the store so if I called out or asked for a week off, I was basically ruining someone else’s day.
The answer to my problem of needing more money wasn’t taking on more hours. You can see that taking on more hours made it so I had less time to even spend the money I was earning. (Sure I could have put it into savings but remember… I was a college student at the time.) The answer was finding a job that paid more (like my roommates job at the bank).
Examples of Signing On Clients, No Matter the Cost
Right now you may be charging $500 for a basic website but I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you’re charging at least $1,000 for a basic website. To hit a $5K month, you would need to take on 5 projects.
Let’s say each project takes you 60 hours broken down over 2 months. That’s 30 hours per project per month. 30 hours times 5 projects equals 150 hours. Divide that by the average 4 weeks per month… you’re spending about 37.5 hours a week on client work. When do you work ON your business?
Not to mention, you’re making on average $17 / hour. Sure, might sound like a lot if you’re currently making minimum wage but did you know there are web designers out there who make over $60 / hour?! (Proof: I’m one of them.)
Let’s look at another example. You’re charging $1,000 for a website but you’re struggling to land even 2 clients per month at that price. On average your web design business is only making $1,500 a month. You decide the next sales call you have, you’ll sign that client for as low as $500 for a basic website.
So for half the price, you’re doing the exact same amount of work and spending the exact same amount of time working as you would for a client paying double the amount. (Not to mention, every low paying client I’ve ever signed on takes up more of my time because they’re less trusting of my abilities.)
When that perfect client comes along, you don’t have the time to take them on because you signed clients… for half the cost.
How Raising Your Prices Is a Better Business Strategy
Imagine if instead of cutting your prices in half to land your next client, you elevated your business instead. You updated your marketing and your messaging, you stepped into a higher level of yourself, and you DOUBLED your prices from $1,000 per project to $2,000 per project.
Instead of taking on 5 clients per month, you could take on 3 and make more than you did previously. Instead of making $17 / hour, you’d be making $34 / hour.
But the hidden benefits of this? You’ll be making more than $34 / hour because when you have the time to spend ON your business, you can improve your business processes which means you’ll spend less time working on each project.
How to Make the Mindset Change and Raise Your Prices
Obviously, raising your prices and going “voila! Prices are raised, come to me clients” isn’t going to work. First, you need to accept the fact that you deserve to charge that amount of money. Without the confidence, you’re not going to make anyone believe in your abilities as a web designer.
So, step one: believe that you deserve to charge double your current prices.
If you need help with this, I highly recommend reeading the book Think and Grow Rich. It will help you understand how to change your mindset around money, your worth, and what you’re capable of achieving.
Step two is to improve your marketing strategies and start implementing long-term strategies that build that know/like/trust factor. You can learn more about that here in this blog post where I share my favorite long-term marketing strategies that helped me grow my business to where I am today.
Stop working yourself into frustration. You didn’t become your own boss for that to happen. Instead, make the necessary changes and keep your eye on the big picture.