How to Make Money as a Designer

It’s not easy making money as a self-employed artist.  Sure, from the outside it looks like it’s pretty glamorous and fancy. But in reality, you and I both know that running a design business is hard work and designers aren’t often compensated enough for their time and hard work.

I know first hand how much of a struggle it can be. Especially when you’re starting out. The whole idea of running your own business is so that you can make money and have flexibility right? So why are so many business owners strapped for cash AND time? 

Let’s start with money. I’m going to break down the ways that designers should be making more money, unapologetically.

Charge your Worth

Too many designers don’t charge enough. Unless you are a recently graduated student you should not be charging less than $100/hour. Clients are hiring your for your expertise. Don’t undervalue what you have to offer!

Don’t Give Away your Discounts

These trade discounts and pricing are there as an incentive for YOU, not your clients to buy from your trusted suppliers. These are the relationships you have likely worked hard you create. YOU are a repeat customer – not your client.

Never Discount your Services

This cheapens your brand and lets clients or potential clients know that your rates are negotiable. Which they are not. I used to be in a bad habit of reducing the hours I charged a client before they ever saw the bill because I felt it was too many hours and they would never pay it – I never even gave them a chance to see all the time I actually out into something… and guess what.. They still argued that the hours were too high (and that was after I discounted them!

Don’t Estimate your Hours in Advance

Unless you have a crystal ball, you cannot see into the future! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by telling a client it will take you 30 hours when in reality it takes 65 hours. You will either end up discounting your hours to stay on budget or piss your clients off my charging double what they expected. DON’T DO IT. I used to do this and got burned EVERY SINGLE TIME

This doesn’t apply to designers with years of experience tracking their hours against a project to fully understand how many hours it can take. Unless your one of these very select few – DON’T DO IT!

That about sums up the main points and I know there are more… but this is a little push to get you closer to the place you want to be with money!!

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