Common Mistakes: Not Knowing Your Own Worth


I’d like to start this blog by asking a very simple question. What is your hourly rate? And how did you come up with this rate? Did you take into consideration the following:

  • How much time you spend with the client either in person, by phone or mail
  • How much time you spend researching and designing
  • The time you spend executing the job
  • The time you also spend after the job is over–breakdowns or follow-ups of any kind

I get so excited while designing a job that I used to forget that, aside from creating a great design, my time is also very valuable. I also used to get so excited about the design itself that I got into a lot of financial problems in the past. I had a tendency to give away stuff to make the job more beautiful (great for clients but not too good for business).

My main reason for designing was never about money (even though, thank God this followed), it was always about creating great design. If you are like me, I had and still do have a very difficult time understanding my own worth. So now, I have a couple pieces of very important advice for all you artists who love your businesses:

  • Get someone else to sit with you to discuss and establish your worth.
  • Under no circumstances should you discuss pricing and money directly with your clients. (This positions you as always being the artist you are and never haggling about money. Have someone else in your company do this.)

I was lucky enough to find a great comptroller to do this job for many years. That was, without question, my first step into the high-end market. However, you could also ask a savvy accountant, your spouse or good colleague who knows you well in helping you establish your real worth.

I understand that we are all having a challenging time with the economy, but if you don’t plan on giving yourself a raise, no one else will. If not this year, then plan carefully for next year.

When was the last time you gave yourself a raise? Are you aware of your own worth? Is there anyone in your office or family that knows you well enough to help?