The Price is Right can lead to success

As a freelancer, one of your business tasks is to determine your pricing. It’s amazing how hard this actually turns out to be for new business owners, myself included, and how often we get this totally wrong.

When business is slow, or you’re starting up and trying to grow, my first thought was, “If I lower prices, I’ll get more business, and I’ll be able to make the money I need to survive.” This seemed pretty reasonable, at first glance. Sure, you might pick up a bunch of customers, which means working more hours (for less money!) and still not making enough. How did I go wrong?

The Price Is Right

Pricing yourself right isn’t necessarily figuring out the lowest price you need to offer to get the most customers. Matter of fact, as a whole we’re pretty awful at judging the value of things: so much so, that a whole game show was created around this fact that has run successfully since the 1950s!

Sometimes, pricing yourself too low will only cause your downward spiral into failure. The challenge is to identify just the right price that will allow your business to thrive, and that can mean setting it much higher than you thought was appropriate and higher than you’re probably comfortable with.

Juli Monroe at tells a story about how setting the right rate by raising your prices could actually lead to the path of business success. (Full disclosure: I may have been the client she spoke to a few days ago. Maybe. :-) )

Do you own your own business, or do freelancing work? How did you set your rates? Did you struggle like I am in the beginning? How did you overcome this and get to the right rate — or, are you still struggling? Share your story with me in the comments!

I need more of my time to be billable

I’m feeling really beat right now, and I really want to post something to the blog, but I just don’t have it in me.

I just wish more of the time I spent “doing stuff” was billable. I’m working like crazy, but the cash-flow just isn’t enough. What the hell am I doing wrong?

I don’t want to give up on my goal of finally running Panoptic full-time, but these bills are just killing me.

I just don’t know what to do any more …

This blog post cost me 6 minutes

Lawyer's Wall Clock

It’s interesting how my perception of time has changed, now that I’m regularly measuring everything in 6 or 15 minute increments–typical units of billable time.

For example, just finding the image and writing this blog post has “cost” me 6 minutes, time not spent doing billable work. Of course, at some very indirect level, I’m hoping that this is an investment toward future revenue, but measuring the ROI of this activity is nearly impossible.

It also has shown me that even though I might work a 12+ hour day, squeezing 8 full billable hours out is a lot harder than I thought. There’s plenty of non-billable time throughout the day, either time I choose not to bill for or activities required to run my business that I can’t bill for.

Anyway, back to working on billable items …