A client emails, and just seeing their name in your inbox makes you cranky.
Every little extra request sets you off and gets you huffing and puffing.
You’re dragging your feet on the way to your computer.
You don’t want to deal with it. Any of it.
The sign you need to raise your prices is buried in all of these scenarios:
If you’re not feeling adequately compensated for what you’re doing, you’re going to resent the heck out of doing it.
You won’t want to help clients. You sure as shootin’ don’t want to bend over backwards for them. “Customer service” starts to feel like you’re just doing them a favor. You take forever to get anything done, because it just feels so unfair. They barely paid you anything. Why should you go out of your way?
Hit the pause button. Right now.
March to your price list, and take a good, hard look. Are you being compensated for the work you’re doing? If not, you need to raise your prices.
I don’t want to hear “But but but I’ll lose all my clients!”
You’ll also lose all your clients if you’re giving them a lackluster experience. If your emails are curt. If you refuse to go out of your way to serve them. If your editing is rushed and sloppy. If you take ages to respond to emails. If you act like providing service at the price you allowed them to pay is a hassle.
By resenting what you’re doing, you’re not going to be giving them that mind-blowing, oh-my-goodness, “where is Facebook, I need to post about my photographer NOW” kind of experience. That kind of energy does not co-exist with resentment.
Make no mistake: Dollar amounts are not the heart of the issue here – it’s about how you feel.
When you feel well-paid for your work, you fall in love with photography all over again.
Customer service starts feeling like throwing someone a surprise party. You sneak around adding special touches that you know will wow them. You giggle to yourself because you can already picture the looks on their faces when they see what’s going to come next!! The entire client experience is like waiting in that darkened room – shh, shh, they’re coming!
You can’t wait for the moment to unveil their galleries to watch the tears and happiness flow, you can’t wait to arrive at a sales session and give them exactly what they need, and you can’t wait to pack their deliveries with special touches that no one would have thought of but you.
You’re excited to find unexpected ways to delight your clients.
And your clients will talk. And their friends want to find out for themselves. And the surprise party crowd keeps on growing.
I’m not saying you have to jack up your prices to $5,000 per client right this second. But your pricing needs to be fair – to you and to your clients.
Getting paid what you’re worth frees you up to pour creative energy into what you’re doing. It takes your focus off of forever stressing about getting more clients, and puts it back on taking care of the clients you’ve already got. (And here’s the big secret: When you do that, you’ll get more clients.)
Never, never, never let yourself resent your work. Your dream is worth doing well.