Imagine you walk into a supermarket. You fill your basket with a bunch of things you want to eat. And toilet paper. And a little semi-healthy something to snack on.
Then you leisurely stroll to the register, where the cashier stands, with puppy eyes and fidgety hands and then asks you whether you would consider maybe paying for your groceries, since she's been a hardworking cashier with more than 4 years of experience and the content of your basket is worth 47€ and she will give you a 20€ discount, so it's only 27€ and as a bonus you will receive an ebook with 10 tricks for vegan butter-addicts.
Well it's how many small business owners, writers, coaches, web designers and service providers act because everyone keeps asking them for free stuff. Free speaking engagements, free web design, free trial sessions, free branding advice, free cakes, free invitations to that event.
What to do?
Stop acting like the strange cashier and take yourself seriously. As soon as you do that, the world will begin taking you seriously too.
Buy your own rate. Believe it. Feel comfortable with it. Repeat it in the mirror. And say a gracious "no thank you" to all those free gigs. The more you say no to the wrong ones, the more the right ones will start showing up.
And you may find at times that you have to educate your existing clients on a changing rate. Rather than waiting for them to ask you to give them something for free, send them a heads-up yourself! Something like this:
Dear awesome client I'd like to work with again but be paid for a change,
just sending you a note to wish you happy pre-christmas craze...! Things over here have been exciting. Insert exciting news - whether a fun piece of praise you received or this feature you had on a cool blog.
It turns out I'm already booking up for next year (yay!). Having said that, since you've been such an amazing partner in the past, I want to extend you the courtesy of first dibs in my calendar starting in insert date. My standard rate will be increasing from XX to XX, effective January 1st 2018. As a sincere thank you to you for the long partnership, I'd like to offer you my 2017 rate for a project of your choice if you book it this year, even if the start date isn't until 2018.
How does that sound? Let me know before next Friday if you want me to reserve a spot in my calendar and we will discuss the details afterwards.
I hope insert thing you know about them is going fabulously!
To white holidays, warm classy coats and very light hangovers,
...Wishing you that celebratory feeling of knowing your own worth.
To wonderful clients, clear communication, mutually beneficial relationships and general frolic!