It’s hard to completely forget how you felt the first time somebody asks you “how much”. As a brand new freelancer freshly out of corporate, I was terrified when this happened to me. Despite hoping they would ask me this, despite all of my preparation, my palms started sweating, my throat went try and my mind went blank.
Panicking, I quoted the per-hour sum that my former employer charged for my services to their clients. This was a bad idea – a different industry, 100x smaller company size, and strategic work instead of the implementation work I used to do. But it was also the only solid pricing fact I knew and I desperately didn’t want to come across as clueless. Which, of course, immediately backfired.
The client just chuckled and said, “Well that’s about as helpful as some amount of money and some amount of time”.
He was right. I failed to ask any questions that would reveal, to both of us, the value of the job along with its scope or time required. I had let fear pressure me into a vague and unhelpful answer that communicated a lack of respect for both my work and my client’s time. Ultimately, I lost that client.**
Like a rap battle, pricing requires robust preparation. Write down, on your phone, How will we measure the success of this project? Next time you are asked “how much”, have the confidence to ask that question before giving any quotes and watch the fear just melt away.**