How to Get Paid What You (Really) Worth

Being A Successful Tech Entrepreneur

If you don’t really consider yourself as a professional, no one will…

Most tech entrepreneurs are autodidacts. On one side, this ability to learn by yourself is one of the most important factors of your success. On the other side, it is the first reason why you’ll end up with a burn out or going bankrupt.

The fact that you’ve learned everything from scratch by yourself is not making your work less valuable. It’s very important that you get that in order to be self-confident about your value on the market. The moment you start accepting that and refuse contracts that aren’t well enough paid, your business will really take off. Stop working for free (or not enough). And remember, there’s no such thing as working for the only purpose of exposure. No plumber will work for free just to get exposure… neither should you!

By accepting underpaid contracts, you are not making yourself any good. Moreover, you are lowering the value of the market for everyone else. The only thing you’ll get in return is a burn out and not enough money to pay your rent.

Change how your client or boss perceive your job

Have you ever heard your client saying something like this: “How hard can it be to build a website?”. Well, sadly, they’re right. Almost everybody can do it. It will probably look like a 90’s basic website, it won’t be responsive nor friendly user, call to action won’t be effective and you can forget about ranking in search engines (SEO) or e-commerce integration. They’re right, any nobody can build a poorly design, unefficient and useless website…

Your client have to understand the thousands of hours that you’ve invested to learn all the coding, tricks and best practice of your field of expertise. So here is some guidelines to sell your work:

  1. Your work is way more complexe than just the tangible result. (background process, optimisation, A/B testing, content validation, &c.)
  2. The final result is the addition of a lot of prior versions improved time after time.
  3. Give some examples of simple thing that are a lot more complexe than what we could expect. 
    e.g.: A centered image on a web page: 
    a) Compress the image so it loads faster on the website;
    b) Log into the server and access the designated directory;
    c) Drop the image in the directory;
    d) Code the HTML document to call the image;
    e) Code the CSS document to determine the size and position;
    f) Save and test everything;
    g) If necessary, make ajustments.
    It’s not a simple drag and drop as the client may imagine!
  4. Compare your work to your client’s work (Plus you’ll show some interest, making the sell easier)

After that, your client may understand the 50$+ per hour that you are charging.

The trap of the good customer service or how clients will make you work for free

Flat prices can be interesting but also risky. If you sell a website that you estimated to take 30h at 50$/h (1500$) and it finally took 20h. Good, you just got a 33% bonus! Don’t get yourself fooled tho. If you picked up an demanding client, you’ll spend 60h on the contract, cutting your hourly rate in half! That’s why you sould never let anything unclear. Explain to your client that the final product includes a limited customer care. By example, write down on your estimate that the package includes 3hours of customer care. If you don’t, you’ll end up doing things that are not even close to what you initially agreed to.

Finally you sould just try to think about your job as if it’s manual one (plumber, electrician, &c.). And always remember this: YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL!