You hear about it often – people being overworked and underpaid for their services. The problem? They tell themselves they do not deserve to raise their prices or that their work is not valuable enough. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can break the cycle.
When you’re just starting out in your business, it’s OK to work for free or put in some extra hours to better your craft. I’ve been there, but you can’t do it forever. As a full-time creator or business owner, if you’re not getting paid, you can’t pay your bills.
You hear all the time to charge what you’re really worth. And you’re probably thinking, what does that even mean? Don’t worry, I got you. Here are four tips that could help you end the cycle of being overworked and underpaid.
Set Boundaries and Expectations
Communication is everything, especially when you’re running your own business. The more you communicate with your client upfront, the easier it will be to work with them over time.
Be clear from the beginning.
Explain all the details, deliverables they will be receiving, and the amount of time you’re going to put into the project right from the start. Give the client your step-by-step process and what they should expect from you along the way.
Keep in mind – the client is hiring you because they either don’t have the time to complete the task or they don’t know how to do the task at all. They hired you for your creative vision. Be confident in your abilities.
If you leave any gray areas, things can get tricky. An example would be if the client comes back and wants multiple rounds of revisions. What’s going to happen? You end up with too much work and several hours wasted on one project when you could have been using the time for something else. This leads me to my second tip.
Have A Contract
This is a must for every client you have, no matter how many times you work with them. At the end of the day, you are not obligated to give them anything extra if it is not included in the contract. Time is money and the little things (like multiple rounds of revisions) can add up to a lot of time. If you do anything extra, it should be out of good faith not because you feel obligated.
In your contract, you can include 1-2 rounds of revisions. For anything past that, there should be an hourly fee to make more than the scope of what you agreed.
Raise Your Prices
This may be hard for some of you to grasp, but if you’re feeling overworked or you’re taking on too many projects then it’s possible your prices are too low.
I would say 60-75% of potential clients should be saying “yes” to your proposals. You want to have demand. Start to cut out the lower budget clients. Once you do, the higher budget clients come in and ultimately you’ll start to see you’re worth a lot more than you think you are.
Every situation is different. You might have to bring on a lower-paying client every now and then because you need that extra money, and that’s OK, but the majority of the time it shouldn’t be the case.
Of course your quality of work has to be there and your craft should be perfected, but you shouldn’t be stagnant or complacent with where you’re at.
Everything should be evolving as you grow in your business, you don’t want to look back a year from now and be exactly where you are.
Setting Personal and Business Goals
Ask yourself – How do you envision living your life a year from now? Do you want to work 80 hours a week or do you want to work every other day and still make the same amount of money, if not more?
It’s important to have the structure in your day and in your workflow. You don’t have to work a 10-hour day to get things done, but you do need to be productive. Here’s a breakdown of what I do in a day:
- 7:00 am – 8:00 am – Wake Up
- 8:00 am – 10:00 am – Breakfast & Admin Work
- 10:00 am – 3:00 pm – Production / Post-Production Work
- 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Finish Admin Work, Reply to emails, etc.
- 6:00 pm – Wrap Up
I make sure when I’m working that I’m hustling and making those hours count. You don’t want to be sitting on the computer all day and not being efficient with your time. That’s when you prolong your workdays and you’re up on the computer until 11 pm or 12 am.
Balance your life to fit your family’s needs as well. As a solopreneur, it’s just as important to incorporate self-care into your routine and have some time to yourself.
If you work better at night, that’s fine but structure your day effectively so you’re not overworking yourself with 10-hour days or longer.
Wrap It Up
If you have to outsource certain tasks in your business in order to save your time for something else, go for it. Wherever you can expedite the process in your business you want to make sure you take advantage, especially if you’re working by yourself. I have Virtual Assistants who help me allocate my time so I can focus on the tasks where I excel best and the VA’s can work on the smaller tasks where they excel best.
The takeaway I want for you guys is to realize that you are worth more than you give yourself credit for. Follow these four tips to end the cycle of being overworked and underpaid.
You can also check out the podcast episode here and leave me a review. New episodes are out every week. If you like the episode, take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram. I’d love to share it and connect with you.
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