Set a high hourly rate
June 24, 2019
I often work with friends who price their freelance time too low, lower than the value they themselves place on their own time, and much, much lower than what the market will bear. I'm tempted to expound on the latter because I love talking about pricing, but this morning I want to use pricing as a perspective-shaping tool.
What is your hourly rate for freelance design work? When my friends first dip their toes into the world of contracting, this existential question is all-consuming. The way most folks interpret it is as the value of work based on its quality; the way you should interpret this question is as the value of your time to yourself.
Let's say you price your time at $30 per hour. It's easy, from here, to apply this value-perspective to a work-related task: for instance, is it worth $30 per hour to write a WordPress plugin that automatically performs a content audit? Why, the, do we not apply this same logic to other aspects of our lives? Is it worth $30 per hour to scrub the bathroom tile?
Maybe. The point isn't to dissuade you from doing chores, but to get into the habit of asking the question.
Now, the issue with a low hourly rate is that the answer to this value-question is often - too often - yes. So often that it's easy to over-commit and spend. Low rate is of course a pricing strategy to get your business, as you know - what's another $5 per month for this-or-that- subscription service? The cumulative cost is often high, but because it's piecemeal you don't think about it. Cord-cutting is usually more expensive than the cable service.
So, if you set a high hourly rate for your time, the value-question becomes much more critical. Is it worth $100 per hour to read your email in the morning? Even if you're highly productive and you inbox-zero in minutes: is it worth $1.66 per minute to read your emails? Maybe if you only spend 5 minutes reading emails - but 30 minutes?
Should you experiment and play this game for a week, you'll find that you discriminate against low- or even medium-priority fluff that, a week prior, seemed like good ways to burn time. Why burn $100 of your time scrolling through twitter, when you could have invested that in yourself in the form of sleep, exercise, family-time, and so on.
You can see this whole writeup on twitter (https://twitter.com/DesignStoic/status/1143166464498778115). Follow @DesignStoic for every daily if you're looking for alternate ways to consume this stuff. Your time is valuable.
I would love your help growing stoicism.design. I put together a little referral program. If folks subscribe using your link https://stoicism.design/?referrer=*|UNIQID|* I can see it was you who referred them aaaaand I'll dream-up some sort of incentive. In the meantime, you can totally get a head start.