How To Charge What You're Worth
Last week, the savvy folks at Hatch asked us to speak at their monthly panel. Our topic: how to charge what you're worth. How a propos. We covered a wide range of topics within that zone, some of which are more intuitive than others. In our early days as a company, we learned quickly that not every event is the right fit. Namely, doing a ton of small baby showers and little events every day wasn't a sustainable business model. (Also, not good for our social lives... No, sir.) Time is a finite resource, and burnout is a very really thing. Some pointers for budding entrepreneurs in the early stages of building your business:
ONE: Define your target market. (And it might not be you.)
This step is critical, and not just at your launch. Marketing 101: figure out who you're trying to attract and what to do in order to attract them. Are they young? Where do they hang out? What do they read? Back it up, are they literate? Do they prefer long-form articles on the Economist or the cute little prose found on the backs of Chipotle to-go bags? Both? What sites do they follow? Buzzfeed listicles or Instagram influencers? What brands to they wear? You can be very efficient with your dollars and your time if you just figure out little details about your target. And as your business grows, your target will change. Make sure to adjust accordingly.
TWO: Build relationships with a mentor or two or seventeen.
Mentors are invaluable. They serve as spiritual guides through the murky waters of building a business. Your overachiever and Type A tendencies aren't likely to be rewarded with a gold star once you embark on building a business, and it can be hard to figure out if you're doing the right thing. Having mentors around to guide you with pricing, market nuances, and missteps. More importantly, they're there to celebrate with you when things start falling into place.
THREE: Don't be afraid. It's just a number.
It's just a number. Whatever price you initially put out there, understand that it serves as an initial point of discussion–that negotiation is inevitable and expected. So don't be afraid to say what your time is worth.
FOUR: Scope... and stick to it.
Beware: The Scope Creep Monster. It's not a myth. Clients sometimes don't understand that a "real quick" edit seldom is. For every project, figure out how much time it will take you to successfully complete it, at the caliber of work that you will be proud of. Then, whatever that number is, double it to make sure that you leave yourself time to go back and forth with client edits. From there, be realistic. If you've worked 10 hours over what your original estimate was, then charge for those 10 hours. Just make sure that you are transparent with your client early on and set their expectations so that no one is surprised with an addendum to the original contract. Being explicit is key.
FIVE: Make a mistake. Once.
Mistakes are inevitable. To err is human. To launch a successful business is divine. So make those mistakes, but make them once, and learn from them to the best of your abilities. It'll help you avoid a lot of headaches and put you on a growth trajectory that will make your peers wonder what coffee you've been drinking. (Hint: It's wine.)
And so, within the walls of where Ugly Betty was filmed, we had a great night, meeting with an inspiring group of young entrepreneurs with unlimited potential. Big thank you to the talented Jessica Peterson of Mighty Oak Grows for having us and for facilitating the Q&A portion. Questions ranged from, "How do I differentiate myself from competition?" to "What the hell happened at that first baby shower?" The former, we discussed at length. The latter, we'll never tell.
For the love of the game,