In my 12 years as a web developer/designer there was often a common thread to the ‘cost’ argument. Once I was even told “my nephew will do that for £75”. I have to confess I picked up my notepad and pen, wished him luck and left. There was no way I was doing a 3 page website AND  designing a new logo for £75. I’m worth more than that. As a Small Business owner you will have met those same challenges, that startled look and the “whats-his-face will do it for less” comment.

When you are new to running your own business there is often a temptation to reduce your price, or worse, “do it for the publicity” with no offer of a cash incentive. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when these are actually perfectly acceptable. I once price-matched a competitor because my instinct was I would get loads more work from the customer – and it paid off. Cutting my invoice by £150 brought in over £3500 in the lifetime of the customer. I often do presentations for free and most times I get work from that too. But you have to think about the return on your investment of time and how long before you earn that back.

To know how much it is costing you means putting a value on your time. If you were doing ‘paid’ work during that time how much would you be earning?

For example Caroline is a photographer, she charges £150 for an hours photo-shoot. This includes costing for ‘time’ to edit the images. If she doesn’t take the images then she doesn’t earn a bean! So her potential earnings for that hour would be £150. If she was asked to do a promo-shoot for an hour as a freebie then her actual earnings are zero! If Caroline thinks she stands a chance of getting another 10 customers because the promo-shoot will be used in Cheshire Life then it may be worth doing the assignment for free. If the promo-shoot is going to be used solely in-house then she may stand little chance of getting even 1 paying customer. She would be wise to turn that job down.

Don’t be tempted to say “well I’m not doing anything else so I may as well”. Invest that time in your marketing to get real paying customers instead.

Every minute of your time has a value. Time is something you can’t get back so make every minute count. Never be tempted to say “but I can do that for free”. Everything you do in your business has a cost. If you expect others to respect your pricing you must first respect it yourself. I make no excuses for the price of my workshops. I know what I an worth. I know what 12 years in design and development gave me. Respect yourself and your experience and have confidence in the value of your time. Give it wisely. You are worth more than you think.