#3: Pricing Strategies for Creative Entrepreneurs


In this episode discussion, Monique and Jessica tackle the challenging but important topic of properly pricing creative services for clients. Key themes include overcoming imposter syndrome to value your worth, understanding different client types and building pricing models accordingly, the societal perception of discussing finances, frequently undercharging especially for women/minorities, negotiating higher salaries based on experience and impact, offering tiered project packages to simplify money conversations, and defending pricing decisions. Overall the conversation analyzes mindsets, language, and strategies to help creatives set appropriate pricing, make more money, and close wage gaps.


Pricing as an Uncomfortable Conversation

Jessica expresses discomfort openly talking about money in personal and professional contexts. However, Monique loves transparent financial discussions, seeing it as especially important for women and minorities.

The Role of Imposter Syndrome

Creators often struggle pricing work fairly due to imposter syndrome and not feeling worthy based on background. But pricing too low continues wage gaps and undervalues expertise.

Differences Between Client Types

Monique targets well-funded clients able to invest more upfront, while Jessica serves smaller businesses needing to understand value before spending. Pricing strategies differ accordingly.

Societal Expectations Around Salary

Women in particular are conditioned by society not to discuss or negotiate salaries. But pay transparency enables discovering and closing wage gaps.

Tiered Pricing and Packages

Offering templated project packages at different price points simplifies money conversations while maintaining pricing standards.

Action Items

  • Research typical pricing for my services and experience level to benchmark appropriately.
  • Examine whether my current pricing may perpetuate wage gaps for women or minorities.
  • Consider developing packaged offerings with clear tiers to simplify client budget conversations.


Monique Jenkins: Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of Design Imposter. I’m Monique, one of your two hosts, and this week we’re going to be talking about money, specifically about how we price work in our design businesses.  

Monique Jenkins: But also, I want to touch on the time before we had our businesses and we worked for corporations. I know money is a particularly sensitive subject for some people, but I love talking about money. So this is going to be super awesome for me.  

Monique Jenkins: Jessica, first things first. How do you feel about talking about money?  

Jessica Valis: This is my least favorite topic of all time on a personal and professional level. The worst time of the month is when my mom tells me my student loans are due and I’m like, mom, I know. Listen, it’s a lot of money, but so is childcare and a mortgage.  

Jessica Valis: I will get to it. I hate talking money. It just makes me so uncomfortable, so I usually just ignore it.  

Monique Jenkins: I love talking about me. I talk about me all the time with everyone in all places. There is no inappropriate place for me to talk about revenue sources with the one. So I, it just reinvigorates me. I love telling designers to charge more in their businesses.  

Monique Jenkins: I love negotiating salaries. I love finding out what other people are making. I love moving jobs in order to climb salary ladders and all the things in between. And I love being super transparent about money all the time.  

Monique Jenkins: There’s never a horrible time to ask me about money. But also, I always feel like as a woman of color, I’m doing a disservice to other women and specifically women of color when I’m not sharing the details of money.  

Monique Jenkins: So you could ask me about money whenever you want to. I’m super into it.  

Jessica Valis: Um, I, okay, I just said, I hate talking about money, but since we just started this podcast, I feel like you and I have been very transparent with how we do finances in regard to our businesses, just within the first, this is episode three, and we’ve already talked about, you know, the $500 clients versus the $10 ,000 versus the $100 ,000.  

Jessica Valis: So we’re very upfront about that. So I guess that’s a good way to start this, you know, this whole series. And I’m with you when it comes to helping designers price their work. I have an intern, turned freelancer, Rebecca Doyle, she does photography.  

Jessica Valis: And the first time she did my headshots, we shot them in the morning. And then within like four hours, she sent them back and she sent me an invoice for like $125. And I said, Rebecca, you charged way too little.  

Jessica Valis: Like you could have doubled or tripled this, given the time that you like edited, sent it back to me, the number of pictures you gave me. So it’s been kind of like a really good mentorship opportunity, just kind of like help coach her into her photography business and helping her with pricing and coming up with packages.  

Jessica Valis: I want people to succeed. And even if that means I have to spend an extra $100, $200 for somebody’s work, I’m cool with that. You get what you deserve.  

Monique Jenkins: Yeah. I’ve done something similar. People have called me that I have talked to in random places, probably from an event or something like that, and they’ll email me and be like, hey, I just got this job offer.  

Monique Jenkins: This is a salary that they are offering me. What are you seeing? I’m like, ask for more money. Negotiate your salary. It doesn’t even matter if the company says no. Just ask for more money at all times because you never know.  

Monique Jenkins: And I have a lot of friends who are in the HR space and they always tell me, like, there’s money on the table. People never ask for it. I think I remember one of my friends telling me he works in HR at some place and he said that they made an offer to someone for, I don’t know, $60 ,000, but they had $100 ,000 in the budget, but the woman never asked for more, so they didn’t give her anymore.  

Monique Jenkins: And then they were like, they took that money that she did in take and they gave it to someone else in another position because they had the money sitting on the table and they also used it or lose it type of situation.  

Monique Jenkins: And I was like, you talked to yourself about a $40 ,000. You could have been like, I actually think that, you know, based on the market, this should be the salary offering. So I tell people, negotiate your salary at all times, talk to them people.  

Jessica Valis: to do that when I worked at Wells Fargo. It got a little bit stagnant for me because there was no corporate ladder for me to climb. There was just laterals. So there was a great lateral over in San Francisco.  

Jessica Valis: Chris and I were totally on board to go make that big move. And I saw the salary and I was like, this is a good number. But then when you take into account the difference in living between Baltimore and San Francisco, I was like, I’m even getting less money there.  

Jessica Valis: So when I tried to negotiate, they’re like, well, this is what the average designer would make here. And I was like, but I’m not the average designer.  

Monique Jenkins: Look, you pay for what you want, and if you want me to move, you will have to pay for it. Yeah, I don’t, I always tell people to ask, because like if you never ask and you don’t know, and even if they say no, like you know that you’re going in with your best foot forward, as opposed to being like, I’m afraid to ask, which I think is where most women kind of land, is that a good majority of women never talk about money.  

Monique Jenkins: They don’t ask about salary. They don’t negotiate their salaries. They kind of just accept what’s offered, and you’re never going to know unless you get into the details with whoever you’re working with in Copperbeard.  

Monique Jenkins: Like do your market research, figure out what the numbers are for other designers in your area who make this amount of money and don’t come with like crazy outlandish numbers. I mean, sometimes I come with crazy outlandish numbers, but I’m willing to take the no and go to another company if that’s what’s required.  

Jessica Valis: And for women especially, you need to ask for that higher number to decrease that wage gap. So because you know they’re going to be paying the male counterpart version of your position, 10, 20, 30 thousand dollars more.  

Jessica Valis: So, Nes doesn’t hurt. Yep.  

Monique Jenkins: Yeah. So before we dive deeper into talking about money, let’s make some clarifications about design and money. There is no one size fits all approach to pricing. There are different approaches that people take, and this is just what’s going to work for Jessica and myself.  

Monique Jenkins: And our approaches are even different in how we do things. I also think that it’s different per client situation, phase of your life, how the moon is touching the sky, and your business in general. So typically when I hear designers talk about money, they talk about it in two different respects.  

Monique Jenkins: The first is hourly. The second is having a set price or fixed price for your work. So hourly is just what it is. Um, I’m going to charge this client $50 per hour for this amount of work or for eight hours of work or whatever the case is.  

Monique Jenkins: Your fixed fee is going to be a client comes to you and say, says something to the effect of I want to redesign my site. You tell them, I’m going to charge you $5 ,000. So it doesn’t matter how many hours you work, you’re going to stick to that $50 ,000 or $5 ,000 number, uh, until the project is complete or something to that effect, uh, as some of the time.  

Monique Jenkins: Jessica, how do you price your work for your business? Is it hourly? Is it fixed? Is there a mix in between? How do you kind of have that conversation with clients?  

Jessica Valis: So I go for a fixed package. It’s never been hourly. And when I’m building the fixed package, I generally have a sense of how many hours it’s going to take me. If it’s going to be just a basic five -page website with home services about contact, blog, I generally know how many hours that’s going to take.  

Jessica Valis: And before you even jump into the proposal, you should probably have a conversation with this potential client to see if you’re on board with the same things. Like if you know that they’ve got a lot of expectations for these five pages, then sure, go ahead and up the price so that you’re not working yourself to the point where you’re only making $12 an hour.  

Jessica Valis: That being said, I have it set in my head that I make $150 an hour. So if I am trying to figure out, well, this is a small project, maybe it’s something one -off, like, hey, Jessica, can you just add this one page to my website?  

Jessica Valis: I do think of it a little bit like that. So, okay, this page, it’s going to take me three hours. So three times $150 or $200, like, I might go off of that based on how much.  

Monique Jenkins: So for me and my business, I charge $250 an hour. Oh, damn. My prices are high. God, I am the imposter here. I am under -selling myself. I am, you know, I don’t play about my money. I don’t want every single client that comes to me.  

Monique Jenkins: I think something that you said, which is like, you have to know for yourself about how much time something is going to take you, and you have to know, you know, what the right price point is for the client that you’re working with.  

Monique Jenkins: So I don’t want to get into a situation where I’m doing a bunch of small tasks for a client for the $250 an hour, because $250 is an investment. But it’s an investment into your business. And if you’re not willing to invest at least $250, I’m not willing to invest the time into it either.  

Monique Jenkins: So like, it is what it is. But I agree with you. I, by and large, don’t do hourly pricing. I generally do fixed pricing. And I think it’s a little bit of a mix of both. I have my fixed pricing. So you come to me, you say, hey, I want a website.  

Monique Jenkins: It’s 10 pages or whatever the case is. I tell you it’s going to be 100 grand. And then if I know that it’s going to be 100 grand and we start getting into the minutia of details with the client, I tell them after a certain point, I’m going to start charging you hourly.  

Monique Jenkins: So I’m going to do the first three revisions with you. After three revisions, you’re going to hit my hourly rate and I’m going to start billing you hourly. And that’s how we’ll continue this relationship.  

Jessica Valis: I have the same thing built into my proposal because there was that one time where every time a revision was made, they had to review it again and again and again. It was like the never ending project of revisions.  

Jessica Valis: Yes. That was one of my very first clients. I put that into my proposals and contracts and they came back and renewed a contract with me. I guess it didn’t hurt them too much, but you learn from your mistakes when it comes to pricing and laying down ground rules.  

Monique Jenkins: What do you think you need to get pricing right? So if I’m a designer, I’m coming to this, or any field, any entrepreneur, what do you need to get your pricing right?  

Jessica Valis: I heard this saying that if you can sell a product at the same price three times with ease, then it’s too low. Up the budget again. And if you sell it again at that amount for three times for the same amount, then up it again until you hit that sweet kind of that sweet spot.  

Jessica Valis: And when people no longer want to buy your product, that’s when you either need to decrease the price or you have found the right client that you don’t need to get, you know, 10 clients if you could only have one and you’re making the same amount of money.  

Jessica Valis: So I kind of think of that sometimes. Yeah.  

Monique Jenkins: I would agree with that. You don’t want to price yourself too low. You don’t want to price yourself too high. I tend to lean on the high side of life. I have lots of experience. I have a multitude of industries.  

Monique Jenkins: You’re getting the expertise of not only design, but user experience. And you’re going to pay for that service. So you’ll have to love me on that one. But I tend to overcharge. And I won’t say overcharge because I’ve not had a problem getting clients to purchase the services that I offer at that price point.  

Monique Jenkins: Although there have been a couple who are like 250 an hour for what? I’m like, to get your business right so that you could get sales so that you can continue moving forward. That’s for what? Listen.  

Jessica Valis: I don’t let him get you. Listen, I’m the person who, when I was in elementary school, you’ve got girl scouts, right? I was in this group called Campfire Girls. And instead of cookies, we sold candy bars.  

Jessica Valis: It was my least favorite time of year. I hated going door to door and being like, can you buy a $1 candy bar from me? I absolutely hated it. Asking people for money makes me so uncomfortable. So that’s probably why I’m putting myself on the low end of everything.  

Jessica Valis: I’m like, just give me a little bit of money. Give me something. I just hate being that salesperson. Thank you.  

Monique Jenkins: Yeah, I wasn’t a good salesperson because I worked in insurance for a little bit and that definitely was not the thing that Monique should have been doing, the code calling. I can’t be a part of big guys.  

Monique Jenkins: Although I do have some funny stories from the times that I worked in insurance, but I think what started to change or shift the idea around pricing for me was when I worked for the government. I worked for the government, I don’t know, probably about a year or so like that.  

Monique Jenkins: And I stumbled upon this spreadsheet and it had everyone’s salaries in there. And at the time we had a UX designer who worked there and she was making maybe 97 or something. And I think I was making 70 at the time.  

Monique Jenkins: And she would go to sleep under her desk and she would take like six hours’ smoke breaks and she would show up late for work every day. And I was like, she’s literally getting paid almost $100 ,000 to take a nap under her desk.  

Monique Jenkins: I am not pricing myself right in work and in my business. Like I’m not doing something properly if someone can sleep under their desk and still be making almost $100 ,000. So after that, I started to get real specific with companies about what I want.  

Monique Jenkins: In my intentions, I let them know upfront, this is what’s gonna happen. So after I left that job, actually at that job, I threatened the deputy director, sorry, Jotson. He’s probably listening to this podcast and it’s such a strong word.  

Monique Jenkins: But I was very clear with him about what I wanted moving forward. Like I was like, I wanna make $100 ,000, how can I get there? And he said something to me, which will never leave me, which is why would I pay you $100 ,000 to get you to do what you are already doing at $70 ,000?  

Monique Jenkins: And you’re an amazing designer. And I was like, because you’re taking advantage. And he’s like, yeah, but you didn’t negotiate. You’re here and you didn’t negotiate your salary and that’s what it is.  

Monique Jenkins: And I started a countdown at my desk. I put like Post -it notes on the outside where my name tag was. And I was like, you have a designer for six months. You have a designer for five months. You have a designer for four months.  

Monique Jenkins: And when we got to zero, I was going to quit that job and I was gonna be at another place who was gonna pay me my $100 ,000. We lost our contract, we all got fired anyway. And that’s what happened. But the next job that I took, I was like, I’m not going there for less than $100 ,000.  

Monique Jenkins: And someone offered me fricking like 93 or something. And I was like, do you have $7 ,000 in the budget? Cause if you do, you got a designer, but if you don’t, you don’t. And the guy was like, you would really turn down a $93 ,000 job because it’s not a hundred.  

Monique Jenkins: And I was like, yup. And he was like, well, we don’t have anything less than a budget. And I said, well, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I really got to, you know, it felt good getting to know your organization.  

Monique Jenkins: I wish you all the best in your search. And I said, no, I’m not doing it for less than $100 ,000. And I got that offer from a startup that I went to right after that. And I was good. Actually, I got that $100 ,000.  

Monique Jenkins: And I think I got a $10 ,000 signing bonus. I’m not playing. You all accept these numbers or you got, I got to go. But I think that people were too willing. And I mean, it was difficult. I was going from a hundred, I mean 70 to a hundred.  

Monique Jenkins: And that’s a big, a pretty big leap. But I think that people were too willing to be like, oh, it’s just, it’s 93. I’m almost there. I was just like, no, I’m not moving off of that number. And $100 ,000 even, is it even a lot of money when you start to take into account taxes and all the other jazz that you kind of have to do.  

Monique Jenkins: But at the time, as a younger designer, I was like, yeah, I’m not going, I don’t care. I don’t want to hear your excuses. I don’t care nothing about what she’s saying to me unless you can get me to this number.  

Monique Jenkins: And I did not budge and I’m happy I did. Cause it informed how I priced my work now, informed, spec, this.  

Jessica Valis: I was listening to a podcast, I think it was by the Daily, which I was into the Daily, Daily. And it was a podcast about the gender wage gap and about this woman who saw an internal email she shouldn’t have seen about how much her counterpart was making and how significantly more it was than her.  

Jessica Valis: She approached her boss and he was like, no, kind of the same situation with you. So she started interviewing at other places and every time she got a higher offer to go work somewhere else. She would show the offer letter to her current boss and be like, so are you going to match this and keep me or am I going to leave?  

Jessica Valis: And he would match it. And she’s like, and at some point I just did interviews for fun. But I mean, if that’s how you’re going to find out what you’re worth, I mean, the least you can do is ask and try and find that balance there.  

Monique Jenkins: Yeah, I’ve read similar stories. I think it was like an engineering manager who was making maybe 160 and she found out that her male counterparts were making, I think 210 was their number. And she was the manager of their team.  

Monique Jenkins: So she had five guys underneath her who were all making 200, 250, G60. And she went to the company and she’s like, hey, I’ve been doing an amazing job. Like, it makes sense for you to match the salary that they have.  

Monique Jenkins: Cause I think the guys were talking about like, I don’t know, they were like buying a yacht over the weekend or something. It was a ridiculous conversation where they were talking about spending a lot of extra money and she was like, how do we understand like how is, I’m barely making it with my family.  

Monique Jenkins: Like how do they have the resources to do so much? Which is interesting, cause I would have assumed that she was in the salary negotiations, but I know that they do separate those things. Once she found out that she was making, I don’t know, 50 or $60 ,000 less than her co -worker, she went to their manager and she was like, I want to make the same amount of money.  

Monique Jenkins: And he gave her, she was like, he just gave it to me. Like he gave me the money right away. And she was like, once I realized that he was going to give me the money, she was like, I started looking for other places.  

Monique Jenkins: And I think she ended up making, like going to another company where she made an extra $100 ,000 or whatever the case is. But like, they knew her value. And as soon as she asked for it, they gave her the money, but she didn’t negotiate her salary upfront.  

Monique Jenkins: And that led to her being underpaid for the, I don’t know, five years that she worked there. And she went to a different company and she’s making more money. Cause to her, it wasn’t about the amount of money, you know, that she was not making.  

Monique Jenkins: It was about the fact that they never respected her enough to give her more money, which I don’t think companies do. I think that they’re like, hey, if you’re going to take $40 ,000 to do a $100 ,000 job, cool beans, we can save that money and we can use it in other places.

Monique Jenkins: And I think that we do that a little bit too often.  

Jessica Valis: I was gonna say, how much were you making at your very first job ever when you were in like high school? Very first job? Eight dollars, I think? Yeah, I was making $5 .50. And I was hired the same time.  

Jessica Valis: It was me and a guy, we were both in high school, both same age. I made $5 .50 and he made $5 .75. This is why the gender age gap thing for me is such a big deal because it started from the tender age of like 14, 15.  

Jessica Valis: So I’m just trying to close that gap. But I did, I ended up, so it was with McDonald’s. I ended up jumping from different fast food restaurants. So I started at McDonald’s, Bergen was gonna pay me $6 .75.  

Jessica Valis: I jumped there and McDonald’s was like, yeah, we’ll pay you $7 if you come back. And then I went to a shoe store for a little bit. They were gonna pay me $8 and then McDonald’s was like, yeah, we’ll pay you $9.  

Jessica Valis: I just, I mean, I lived in the middle of nowhere. My options were limited, so I did what I had to do. you  

Monique Jenkins: So, Jessica, why do people struggle with pricing?  

Jessica Valis: I think it’s a moral dilemma of, and also the imposter syndrome of not feeling like you’re worthy, you don’t have enough background, you don’t have enough experience. And then there’s also, we’ve been talking about this, the society expectation as well.  

Jessica Valis: And so for me, I’m like, oh, I charge an extra $150 an hour, and you’re like, I’m $250 an hour. That’s, and I said earlier, I was like, you make me feel like an imposter, like I’m undercharging, or am I even worth $250?  

Jessica Valis: Like you have me second guessing myself now. Because I’m like, am I that good? Am I worth?  

Monique Jenkins: I think that people struggle with pricing because money is such a sensitive topic. Like I think that we have been told in our corporations that you shouldn’t ask about your co -worker’s salary and that you shouldn’t disclose that information.  

Monique Jenkins: You should be very guarded with that. And I think I was at one point, and I’ve definitely made people uncomfortable in my conversations about money. But I just, I can’t continue to like run down this path where I know that someone’s making less money and they could be making more and I’m not having that conversation with them.  

Monique Jenkins: I think it’s imposter syndrome. But I also think like you’re just so grateful to have something. Like people are just so grateful to have a job and especially when they work at fun companies like Google and Yahoo or whatever else is out there.  

Monique Jenkins: They’re like, oh, my office is really cool. It has a pool inside the parking garage and there are free bicycles for people to take and they give us free lunch. Okay, well, did that give you a paycheck?  

Monique Jenkins: Cause making, you know, $60 ,000, but getting free. I don’t care about that. I don’t want your free lunch. I want my money specifically during COVID because you couldn’t access any of those services anyway.  

Monique Jenkins: I don’t care nothing about your skate park inside of the building. I don’t care about the fact that you got sleep chambers in there. I don’t care nothing about the fact that y ‘all all love each other and y ‘all feel like family.  

Monique Jenkins: None of that is important to me. My revenue is important to me and there should be value alignment. That’s all fine and good. Whatever. Let’s talk about money though and let’s get real specific about those things.  

Monique Jenkins: Cause like, if you think about all the people who probably accepted a lowball offer from a big organization because there was like fun stuff to do in the office and then during COVID, they didn’t have the ability to utilize any of those services.  

Monique Jenkins: You did yourself a disservice cause now you’re sitting at your home, got each own snacks that you had to pay for by yourself with that money and you should have been getting more money and I don’t play them games.  

Monique Jenkins: So it’s a hard class for me. And I think that that, I think that money makes people struggle anyway.  

Jessica Valis: So we’re going to talk about this in a future episode when it comes to proposals, but because money is just such a gut -wrenching experience for me. When I’m putting my proposals together, I kind of have it laid out, smorgasbord buffet style, where I allow my clients to pick a package that best suits their price point.  

Jessica Valis: And it eliminates the conversation about money that makes me uncomfortable, that might make them uncomfortable. If I come out and just ask, and I do this, I do ask how much, you know, how much is it within your budget?  

Jessica Valis: And they might say, we’ve got $10 ,000. And then I’m like, okay, I am going to put a proposal together that is $10 ,000 worth. I’m also going to put one together that is 12. I’ll put one together that’s eight.  

Jessica Valis: And I’m going to outline everything. I mean, normally if you just come out and say, you’ve got $10 ,000, I’m going to make you a proposal for $10 ,000. But if they’re not short, then I will put together three proposals.  

Jessica Valis: And they’re all templated. They’re all the same for the most part. And then you can figure out what you want. But then there’s also add -ons. So maybe you want me to do the website, but you’re going to write your own copy.  

Jessica Valis: Well, I have an option for copywriting. So if you click that, you know, it’s going to increase the invoice, just like you’re shopping online. And then by the time you, you know, click to go to the contract, you’ve made your own proposal, essentially, and you’ve stayed within a price range that the client feels comfortable with, but you’re still making that money and you’re not losing out.  

Jessica Valis: And because you made the contract and the packages, you’re not lowering your kind of like your standards, like you’re not going to do more work for less money. What do you do for putting together pricing and proposals?  

Monique Jenkins: But I don’t have an Alucard service. You won’t pay what I said that you’re going to have to pay. I will say, um, so I, I do specify in my proposal that services are not Alucard, that in order to have a well rounded project, it is contingent on all of the services that are being listed out.  

Monique Jenkins: Obviously that would be different if someone just came to me for branding, but didn’t want any website work. But I’m not going to, I think that this is a full investment into your business. And because of my price point, that full investment costs money and that all of these services are a requirement for that type of investment that you want.  

Monique Jenkins: So I’m not doing the Alucard option with you. This is the price.  

Jessica Valis: So just a reminder that Monique and I serve different clients and that is completely okay. Monique has clients that have money and funding, they know exactly what they want, they’re ready to offload everything, get it done.  

Jessica Valis: Let me see the conversion rates and we’re good. Whereas my clients are smaller scale businesses, they maybe have one to 10 employees and they’ve been burned before by their first design agency. And so they’re very hesitant to hand over large sums of money and they wanna figure out what they want and need.  

Jessica Valis: And they’re not thinking, if I invest $50 ,000, what will the long run look like? They’re thinking more along the lines of, I’m gonna invest $10 ,000, but how will that look when I get to tax season?  

Jessica Valis: Or how is this gonna affect my salary? Because it is a smaller business and even I would think about that for a couple of things. Like is it worth me taking a $10 ,000 course if I’m not gonna see the return?  

Jessica Valis: And having been burned before, you’re just a little bit hesitant that being said. Once you prove your worth, then you can go back and ask for more money and come on as a retainer client, which is something that I do, that Monique does not do.  

Jessica Valis: So there’s no right way to price your services or there’s no wrong way, I should say, to price your services. You have to do what fits best for you and for your clients and you have to know how they’re gonna react to the money question.  

Monique Jenkins: I would say that I want people to understand that design is an investment just like other areas of your business. And I think that’s why I price so high. But I understand your business, Jessica, is about developing a relationship because if you’ve had a bad experience with a designer and you can’t fully believe in the things that we’re offering, I would understand your hesitancy to move forward.  

Monique Jenkins: Or if you’re someone who just starting their business, an investment of $50 ,000 might be too much. But an investment of $10 ,000 into your dream, that totally makes sense. So we have different clients, but both of them net revenue sources at the end of the day.  

Monique Jenkins: And we both keep paid. And that’s what’s important in that conversation. I do have a question for you, Jessica. How do you defend your pricing? So if a client comes to you and they say that price is too high, or if you get an immediate yes, or you want to increase your pricing with existing clients, how do you have that conversation with them?  

Jessica Valis: Well, if somebody comes back and says that the price is too high, then that’s usually the end of the conversation. First of all, I think I’m underselling myself to begin with. So if my price is too high, then we’re just not going to be a good fit, but also I do feel out my clients or potential clients before we hop on that call.  

Jessica Valis: You can’t just ping me and be like, hey, I want a proposal and me send you something. It’s not going to work. We have to have a conversation. Back at the beginning of this past year, I went to go visit a client and it was just kind of like a drop in.  

Jessica Valis: I brought donuts and coffee and I sat down with the owner for a while and we would just chit -chatting about the website and going back and forth with different ideas and we’re talking marketing and different strategies.  

Jessica Valis: And he was like, oh my gosh, like, you’re really good at this. Like, we definitely want to renew our contract with you. And I said, okay, if you want these additional services, I just need you to know that I’m going to increase my rate.  

Jessica Valis: And he said to me, Jessica, what else am I going to do? I’m not going to hire somebody full time to do this. You know what you’re talking about? We have the relationship. So yeah, go ahead and increase your rate and, you know, we’ll touch base when we need to.  

Jessica Valis: And again, it’s about knowing your worth. And also understanding that the economy changes. So if you’re charging $500 every single year for 10 years, you cannot just drop a bomb on your client at year 10 and be like, oh, by the way, it’s now 800.  

Jessica Valis: Every year you got to incrementally increase it because $500 is not going to be the same now as it is in 10 years. Like I said, so.  

Monique Jenkins: I don’t generally get clients that come back to me in the capacity that they do with Jessica. So like they’re on a monthly retainer. When we’ve had clients come back to us, it’s for like a promotional marketing page or something like that.  

Monique Jenkins: We’re charging them 30 ,000, but they’ve come back three months later and they need it in a shortened time frame. So they want this website to be up in a week. You pay a rush fee for having that service provided to you.  

Monique Jenkins: So it isn’t, I haven’t had to deal with as much of like, hey, you came here six months ago or three years ago and the price was $500. And now you’re coming back now and the price is $800. The price was $30 ,000 three years ago.  

Monique Jenkins: Price is probably $130 ,000 this year. And you have to decide for your business to be that way.  

Jessica Valis: What a big jump.  

Monique Jenkins: Look, the price is what the price is. But yeah, but you have their conversation a lot more often. So like, I would trust, I would, I would tap you in and be like, Hey, this makes sense to you. Because I think we reference each other in our respective businesses about pricing when we’re doing something.  

Monique Jenkins: Like, I definitely text you and be like, how much would you charge for this? And you’ll be like, I probably wouldn’t charge more than 400. And then I go and charge a thousand. And then I’ll.  

Jessica Valis: Stop undervaluing me. You did message me one thing and you were like how much would you charge for this? I said it’s not even worth my time. Yes  

Monique Jenkins: And then I was like, okay, well, I need to make sure that this is worth my time. So let me charge them, you know, 2000 and then I’m okay with those numbers. But yeah, I think that we have different clients so that conversation manifests a little bit differently.  

Monique Jenkins: So I think it’s more about like finding your niche client is and understanding like how this relationship will develop over time. And if you’re more inclined to like what my business is where you’re having one -off things with your client, then look a little bit higher over price is what it is.  

Monique Jenkins: If you’re in Jessica’s business where she’s going to be having a recurring relationship with these people that I understand, you know why and because of who your audience segment is.  

Jessica Valis: So, it was a really in -depth conversation. There’s a lot to kind of self -reflect on. I have to go back and look at my pricing because you’ve made it abundantly clear that I am undercharging for my services, even though I’ve been doing this for well over a decade.  

Jessica Valis: I’ve been doing this for people who get paid a million dollars a year. I was not getting paid a million dollars a year. Thank you for that, Monique. Of course. I don’t know what to say. But it’s my rate.  

Monique Jenkins: I will say, I like your pricing. Maybe just because it benefits me sometimes. So keep it the same. No, no, no, no. I believe in you, I believe in your work. I believe that you should get paid accordingly for those things.  

Monique Jenkins: I always just try to factor that in, which is why I’m like, okay, if I’m gonna pay someone $5 ,000 to develop the website, then I’m gonna charge $20 ,000. And I’m gonna pocket the rest of that cash. I don’t need to be able to develop.  

Jessica Valis: Because don’t forget white labeling. If you can’t do it, offload it to somebody else, which Monique does with me. And then ask, what’s your rate? When I come back and say 500, she’s going to say, well, I want to make money off this too, so it’s actually going to be a thousand.  

Jessica Valis: Sorry, but I got to do you justice. It’s going to be a thousand. Yep.  

Monique Jenkins: Yeah. It’s going to be more like 2000. But that is a wrap on today’s episode of Design Imposter. Thank you guys so much for joining us. We’re so grateful to have you all here. Next week we are going to be talking about finding your first client.  

Monique Jenkins: Finding your first client. So we will see you here same time next week. All right, guys.  

Jessica Valis: As we wrap up our captivating journey on today’s episode of Design Imposter, we want to leave you with an empowering message.  

Monique Jenkins: Self -doubt may be a universal experience, but it should never define your worth or potential.  

Jessica Valis: Embrace the power of your unique voice, trust in your intuition and abilities, and continue creating fearlessly. Remember,  

Monique Jenkins: you belong in this space and your contributions are a  

Jessica Valis: inslee valuable. Know that you are never alone on this journey. We stand by your side, ready to support and celebrate you and your business every step of the way. Thank you for joining us.  

Monique Jenkins: us today and being an essential part of the Design Imposter community.  

Jessica Valis: Don’t forget to subscribe, follow us at Design Imposter Podcast on Instagram and Facebook, and leave a review to help other imposters find us.  

Monique Jenkins: So we meet again, keep those headphones ready. Hey there, Design Enthusiasts, and welcome to the backstage pass of the Design Imposter podcast. I’m Monique, and me and Jessica thought it would be great to have you guys listen to some of the bloopers that we have had as we have been filming.  

Monique Jenkins: These you will be able to find at the end of every single episode of the Design Imposter podcast. So stay tuned and listen up. Thank you.  

Jessica Valis: Um, uh, you go ahead.  

Monique Jenkins: I’ll start that sentence over so it’s clear when you do it. Mine? Damn, I was supposed to ask you a question. It’s fine. Sorry, I was looking back at you.  

Jessica Valis: the beginning of it. No, that’s fine. It’s fine.