So you’re a freelance designer, eh? You’re living the big life because you are doing what you love and getting paid for it. The only problem is, you’re not getting paid very much.
But who cares, right. I mean, you get to work on your shiny apple computer designing pretty things for clients all day long. You don’t care that you don’t make much money as long as you get to do something you love.
Stop lying to yourself.
I’m not afraid to admit it (and you shouldn’t be either), I decided to start freelancing because I believed I could make more money for myself as a freelancer than working for a design agency. After all, my design agency was charging over 10-times the amount of money I was making per hour, yet I was doing all the work.
It seemed messed up.
But then I started freelancing and realized that making money is not as easy as it seems. It was then that I started lying to myself (probably like a lot of you are doing right now) and saying that the money didn’t matter and all I cared about was having a job that was fun and where I got to do the things I enjoy.
And sure, that’s important, but I also have a wife and child who need to eat and have a warm place to live. So I need money.
Here are a few lessons I learned early on that helped me make the money I deserved as a freelance designer:
Charge what you are worth
Perhaps the most overlooked principle of successful freelancing, designers have an especial hard time charging what they are actually worth. When your clients come to you insisting their nephew (who just bought Photoshop) “can do it for a lot cheaper”, it’s hard to refuse the work. But therein lies the key to success.
When you charge what you are worth, you bring in clients who appreciate your talents and abilities.
They respect you.
And they pay you well.
Pay attention to your finances
Some designers actually get paid pretty well, but they blow all their income on the newest and greatest technology. Or they go out on the weekend and drink their money away. Or whatever your vice in life is. Stop wasting your hard-earned income on it!
We talked about all this recently in “How to build a rockstar design business without going broke“. Just wait a while and make sure your business is standing on it’s own two feet. Then you can start to spend a little more.
Find other ways to make money designing
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, you know. And while I’m no professional when it comes to de-furring felines, I can certainly attest to the importance of finding other ways to make money designing. There are sites where you can sell your stock images, wp themes, HTML templates, and more. You essentially work on one project and sell it multiple times.
Projects like that can make up for the deficit you may encounter every once and a while. (PS. There are a few links at the bottom of the page under “GDB recommends” that may help you get started selling your designs online”.
If you’re in a rut, make plans to get out today! Stop settling for not making the money you deserve as a hard-working talented designer. What other tips do you have to share with us about making the money you deserve as a designer.