Freelancers: Quit Agonizing Over Your Fees and Do This Instead

October 2, 2012 · 6 comments

Last week I wrote a post that was a LONG time coming, about how much to charge for social media services.

Yet while freelancers and consultants tend to agonize over our fees, that’s really not the most important piece of making a living on your own terms.

Over-delivering = happy clients.

Over-delivering = happy clients.

The most important piece isn’t whether you charge $500 or $600 or $700 for a project. It’s not whether you bill $30 or $50 or $100 an hour.

The most important piece is whether you WOW your client.

So here’s what you should do rather than agonizing over your fees. Choose a price. Choose on the high end, because we often undervalue ourselves, and you’re worth what you say you’re worth. (Click here to tweet this.) Then do an AWESOME job. Because if you’re awesome, if you truly WOW your client, they will be willing to pay you well. (And if they’re not, they’re not the right client for you.)

How do you WOW your client? You provide more than they expect. As Chris Guillebeau suggests in The $100 Startup, you over-deliver. You pleasantly surprise them by going the extra mile.

Because your client will be happy if you give them what you promised. But your client will be SUPER happy – and keep you on board, maybe give you more work and refer you to others – if you give that client MORE than you promised.

Of course, this applies to more than social media work. You can wow your client by running an extra contest on Facebook or going out of your way to foster a relationship with a popular blogger who will link to your client’s blog. But you can also wow an editor by turning in a clean article, maybe even having a writer friend proof-read it for you before you file. Or by suggesting a tool that will make your client’s life easier — and showing your client how to use it.

I even apply this line of thinking to my newsletter subscribers, doing my best to wow my community with exclusive discounts and free webinars, little extras that really make my letter worth their while. My newsletter community might not be paying me directly, but I still want to keep them more than happy.

So stop agonizing over your fees. Choose a price, then over-deliver.

That way, your client will want you no matter how much you decide to charge.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie October 2, 2012 at 9:24 am

Agreed. Every time I write a proposal, I wonder how much to charge. But quality is so much more important! This is such a good reminder to focus more on doing an awesome job and delivering real value.
Leslie recently posted…Hotpot on Thanksgiving? Gnocchi in Jiaxing? “Edge” in Mandarin? How Creativity Makes Global Life EasierMy Profile

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Alexis Grant October 2, 2012 at 10:15 am

Delivering real value — great way of wording it!

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Sandra Harriette April 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm

And of course factor that into the price somehow I would presume, this way that one is not overworking yet still giving extra value that was not originally expected.
Sandra Harriette recently posted…Why You Were BornMy Profile

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Mary May 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

In my freelancing as a designer, I always deliver more than was asked. I am
fairly new to social media as a side job and just starting to build clientele.
My question is, how do you make them happy with the price BEFORE you demonstrate your “extra” value?

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JoAnne July 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

I so agree! Adding value and building community are the best and quickest ways to grow – personally, professionally and organically! (social media). I like your emphasis on knowing your purpose and which clients really are not for you. If you don’t want to go the extra mile for a client and they are not willing to pay you what you are worth then it is not the right relationship to begin with. This is why we all really need to know our niche and stick with it. Thanks for the great content and for setting a great example!

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