Ep 47: How To Ask For $50,000 And Get It
In This Episode
My fee for creating a sales campaign to launch a new product is $50,000.
That number should sound crazy inside my head, but it doesn’t and I’ll explain why.
First consider the journey…
I dropped out of High School in the 11th grade. I was 16.
I found my way onto a comedy stage at 18 and never looked back.
I spent my 20s traveling the US performing stand up. I made so little money that most years there was no point in filing taxes. That never bothered me. I was happily removed from anything that looked like “normal society”.
In all my years as a road comic I can only recall one conversation about the business side of show life. It was with a guy named James Gregory. He made good money. He had a sweet home in GA with a plaque by the from door that read: The house that laughter built.
One day I asked James how he managed to earn more than other road comics without a bunch TV credits. He said, “Kevin If a comic put in half the effort it takes to deliver mail, they’d all be rich. But they won’t, they’re too lazy.”
He’s right. Most comics are lazy. I was lazy. I also had no idea about how business worked back then. I didn’t even like the idea of money. I thought capitalism was evil. It was easier to think that money and success was something other people had. “It’s all about the art, man” is what I would say to appease my insecurities around money.
That’s why I love quoting my price now. It’s not cocky. It’s just that I’ve earned it. The right to say a large number with ease. No flinching. No hedging. No worries if it isn’t something they can afford. It’s my price, and if anything it’s too cheap. The clients I work with often earn millions with the campaigns my team create for them.
It’s an evolution…
The first job I ever booked as a copywriter was $500 to write an email series. My friend at the time was earning $3,500 for a sales letter. I remember telling my wife, “If I can just book two gigs a month at that price, we are set!”
You keep moving and improving and you keep raising your price. That’s the part too many freelancers neglect. It can be uncomfortable to raise your price. To say the higher number. Some people squeal when they hear it.
So what? They’re not your clients. The squealing is like a warning bell. Very convenient when you think of it. No squeal = good prospect. The conversation goes forward and the invoice goes out.
However, you don’t get to just say big numbers and collect. It’s a process. Keep in mind, I’ve been at this for a decade now. However, understanding the process, and the steps involved allow you to do a few important things…
– Asses if your prices are too low right now
– Know exactly when to raise them (let your calendar be your guide)
– Identify your true “money skill” and capitalize on it
– Start doing the things that raise your stock in the market (and provide side income)
– Negotiate only with people who understand the value of your skill (and if they don’t, never quote a price until they do)
The most I ever earned for a week of shows in a comedy was $1,000. I remember practicing saying “a thousand” so I didn’t panic naming my price to the booker. Yet, the problem wasn’t negotiating with bookers, the real problem was negotiating with myself.
I didn’t believe I was worth more money.
So, my first objective when I became a working freelancer was to evolve my business mind. I knew it was the missing link. I could not afford to do it for the love of the art. That’s for hobbies. This is business. The clients who pay my fee know they are hiring an expert and not a vendor, and, more often than not, they become repeat clients.
Here are my 5 steps to naming your big fat price and getting it…
1) Become relentlessly good at what you do. Study the best work in your field. At least one piece every day And, as importantly, develop your expertise by always asking, “what’s one thing I would change to make this even better?”
2) Start getting paid a fair price for delivering what you’re capable of now. Chances are there is a demand for your current skill so you can earn while you learn. Plus you want to be in the flow of serving clients early on so all the technical aspects of collecting fees and delivering work are humming along when it’s time to get serious.
3) Evolve your client base so that you are working with people who understand the value of your work, implement your work, and sharing the results with you. That means learning to say “no” and feeling good about it.
4) Celebrate the positive results you help your clients achieve. Not by bragging, but by sharing a few secrets about how you did it. It might scare you to think about “giving away” your tactics, but trust me, the more your share the more you gain. This is the single most powerful piece of advice I could give you. And yes, share what didn’t work, and what you would change as well.
5) Place massive value on your time. Serving clients is a full brain commitment. You’re selling off highly coveted real estate in your mind. Space that other important people and things deserve access to, but will not get, because you sold it. What is that trade worth to you? Now calculate the physical hours you’ll devote to the job. Only you can decide the value of your time. No one else is going to give you a raise. Pick a good number. Practice saying it. After you say it, shut up. No squeal = good client.
Go kick ass.
BTW, I just Googled James Gregory. He’ll be 70 this year and he’s booked with shows until September. Not in clubs, but in theatres.
Half the effort of delivering mail.
And knowing the blueprint.
That’s what it takes to ask for $50,000 (or whatever your price is), and get it.
If you’d like to learn more about raising your stock (and your fees) as a freelancer, send me a message to kevin [at] copychief.com say, “tell me more about freelancing.”
The Truth About Marketing podcast is produced by James Clouser. Graphics by Cassie Clouser.