February 25, 2019
If you’ve already had atleast a couple of clients, and you feel like you’re being underpaid, this one’s for you.
Personally, I’m talking about Programming when I say
Creative Work but this is applicable to any Creative Process you’re trying to get paid for.
As @patio11 likes to say, “Charge More!“. Double your rates until someone says ‘No’.
This is a lot of work, yes. It will be taxing on your time and your emotional fortitude but hey, you’re the one complaining.
The trouble with economics is that it thinks of all of us as perfectly rational, ruthlessly self-maximizing agents. In reality, things are much more complicated for creative work and creative people:
When someone is trying to earn more, the cycle usually goes something like this:
Effective hourly-rate STAYS THE SAME
There’s nothing inherantly wrong with doing more work to justify a higher rate. It’s just that you’re not solving your original complaint.
As such there are two separate questions you’re trying to answer so investigate them separately:
Xunits of work.
Note: We’ll talk in a separate article about what
Xmight be and how to estimate it.
This is the current market value of what you’re doing. This is the step that most people skip, because most business-writing is focused on the next phase.
Note: Since this is something that doesn’t immediately impact users, you will need to get better at talking about these things and “selling them”.
Save The Datefor free if it’s a couple shoot. Maybe do an extra session with them, whatever your thing is. Get creative. :)
I’ll leave you with an analogy to tie things together: Imagine you’re in a car, with both the brake and gas pedal at half-pressed. You want to go faster; do you ease off the brakes or press down on the gas?
When I was younger I think I had more energy and would just default into pressing on the gas. But that way be dragons (and burnout), and as I’m getting older I’m finding much greater returns from removing blockers (internal and external) instead.
Phase 1 is about easing off the brakes,
Phase 2 is about pressing down on the gas. I’d say go easy on the second till you’ve made progress with the first but ultimately it’s up to you.
And remember, the market value of your work is separate from your value. Don’t confuse the two.
Good luck out there. :)
Written by Joel Louzado who lives and works in Mumbai, India building fun things. Say hi on Twitter