I’m a graphic designer here in Brooklyn and have been freelance for about three years. I’m frustrated with the direction my industry is headed. There are now websites that exist that greatly diminish the value of my work and have flipped my industry on its head. People are competing from all over the world, and some designers are bidding on work and doing logos for as little as $25 when they would typically go for $400 and more. I get so frustrated by this and at times feel hopeless about my business.
Do you have any advice on how I can make a living when things are shifting so dramatically? Am I being forced to lower my rates to compete with other designers?
I’m sure it’s terrifying to think that what was once valued at $400 is now valued at $25. More- over, it’s often disconcerting when the industry we work in changes so drastically, and we are suddenly forced to re-evaluate the way we market our business. It can often feel like we are starting over. What happens in these times is that we are forced to either step up our game or drop out of the race.
Here is what I would ask you to consider. Who is your target market? It sounds to me like you need to get clear on who you’re marketing to before you panic about your industry. A big mistake I see entrepreneurs make is that they fail to recognize that they are not for everybody. Each business has a specific target market for their product or services. What’s really happened here is that this shift is forcing you to think about your marketing, and I’m going to guess that is a piece of your business you haven’t been focused on.
If you said to me that your target market is only the people that pay $25 for logos, then it’s time for you to lower your rates to accommodate them or leave the business.
However, if you put some thought into it and decided that your target market isn’t seeking $25 logos, then why are you all that concerned about that shift? Could it be that your target market is still willing to pay a higher price for better quality work? No well-seasoned business is going to pay $25 for a logo. So what are you doing to seek out more established businesses and customers with the budgets you demand? Are you looking in the right places for your customers and have you created the right marketing message to connect to them?
There’s no quick fix in marketing. It can often take months or sometime years to really clarify who our market is and how we effectively connect with them. So, if you do some soul searching and decide that you want to rise out of the lower markets and be paid a fair price for your art, then you likely need to invest time and effort to make that change happen.
Good luck! This is a major transition, but if you’re willing to commit to doing the work, you’ll be around for years to come.
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