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freelancer pricing and packaging mistakes that cost you money and clients

Are you a freelancer? Maybe with a service-based business? Pricing and packaging your services can be a bit of a puzzle, amiright? 

So, in this blog post I’m going to share the 7 common mistakes pricing and packaging mistakes freelancers make that cost you money and clients.

What do you offer, how many options should you have available, what should the pricing structure look like… so many questions!

Luke Perry from Beverly Hills 90210 saying "that's a deep question..."

I’ve coached hundreds of entrepreneurs, and these same 7 pricing and packaging mistakes pop up over and over again. 

So I want to help you avoid them. I’ll tell you how to look at your packages and pricing with fresh eyes and start attracting more of your ideal clients!

7 common freelancer pricing and packaging mistakes that cost you money and clients (and how to fix them)

Mistake 1: Creating a package that you think your clients need

I see new freelancers as well as experienced digital marketers and coaches make this mistake on the regular. 

They spend a lot of time and energy creating and trying to sell a package or a product that they THINK their clients need. The problem is that their ideal clients don’t quite get it. And they don’t buy.

So where is the breakdown here? It’s not that you don’t know your avatar. And what you’ve created is probably exactly what your clients DO need. But you have to remember that you KNOW so much more than they do. You know what they really are struggling with and how to fix it. So you are 10 steps ahead of them.

You have to bring yourself back to what your ideal clients are thinking about right now.

What keeps them up at night? What’s their biggest challenge as they see it?

Make sure your packages address the problems your ideal clients are feeling head on. So when your clients see your offers and talk to you, they know you understand them. 

Then, once your new client is happily on board with you…because you read their minds… you get them results by resolving the actual problem.

There’s a saying that goes something like this… sell them what they want, but deliver what they need. And that leads me to…. 

Mistake 2: Not talking to your ideal clients

How do you KNOW what your potential clients are struggling with? Ask them. 

It’s the easiest way to get out of your own head and avoid Mistake 1. Talk to your people.

If you are just getting started, if you don’t have an audience or a following, that may sound like a challenge. But that’s where social media is your friend. 

Part of getting to know your ideal client is figuring out where they hang out online, who they follow, what platforms they gravitate to, what groups they belong to. 

As you start to narrow that down, go to those places. Watch and listen to what people are asking and saying. Answer questions. Join conversations and add value. 

People will start noticing that you show up, that you help. You’ll begin to develop relationships, and you can start having 1:1 conversations.

Use all of the information you gather to create your packages. Use your ideal clients’ words to describe the solutions you provide. When they check out your website, once again they’ll think you read their minds.

Pricing and packaging aren’t the only things you need to think about when starting a freelance business. Find the answers to some common other questions here.

Mistake 3: Having too many options

The third most common mistake I see freelancers make is having too many package options available. 

At first, that may seem counterintuitive. Why wouldn’t you want potential clients to have multiple options to choose the perfect package for their needs?

Here’s the problem with that. 

First, too many choices overwhelm people. 

Instead of seeing all the choices as exciting, fun, and freeing, your potential clients will get confused, find it too hard to make a decision, and walk away out of frustration.

Second, as I touched on above, your client doesn’t always know exactly what they need to solve their problems. 

They think they know, but they often don’t.  By narrowing things down and offering a limited number of package options on your website, you make it a much easier and friendlier experience for your potential clients. And that makes them much more inclined to jump on a discovery call.

Mistake 4: Not looking for what your clients need next

Addressing mistake 4 can be a game-changer for your freelance business. Chances are that once you solve one problem for a client, another problem immediately presents itself. 

Your advantage is that you can see and anticipate the next thing your clients will need. And, because you know what the next thing is, you can create a package that takes care of that problem.

The best part is that while you are working  with your client on package/problem number one, you can be planting the seeds for what’s next. So again, you position yourself as the mind-reading, problem-anticipating, solution-driven expert. And your client snaps up your next offer because you are just. so. good.

Mistake 5: One size fits all solutions

Now, I know I recommended keeping it simple when I discussed Mistake 3. But you don’t want to limit yourself by offering only one size fits all packages. Because you may serve ideal clients who are in different stages of their business journeys, your packages should reflect that.

I’ll give you an example. Perhaps you are a tech VA who works with creatives. You may have clients who are just getting started and are looking for basic website design and email automation using a free solution like Mailchimp. And you might also have clients who are more established and need help with funnel design and more complex automation solutions.

Both clients are your ideal client, but they have different problems. So a one size solution simply doesn’t work. Develop package options for each stage of your client’s business journey, and you’ll find your clients can grow with you.

Mistake 6: Fighting to the bottom

Pricing anxiety is a real thing. I’ve felt it. I know my clients feel it. How do you set the RIGHT price for your packages and services?

Pricing can be especially challenging when you are just getting started. You feel pressure to be the least expensive option out there because you are new. 

There are two problems with that thinking.

First, by positioning yourself as the “cheap” option, you devalue your services in your mind and in the mind of your potential clients.

Think about it this way: do you really want clients who are drawn to you simply because you are inexpensive? Or clients who will continually comparison shop, who will push you to increase project scope without paying you any more money? 

I still get anxious when I think about one particular client who was all about putting more on my plate while insisting it was part of the original scope of the project. Which it wasn’t. 

Second, you are never going to be the cheapest option.

Someone will always undercut you. So there’s really no competitive advantage to being inexpensive. It draws clients who are a poor fit for you. And it creates a situation where you aren’t focused on the value of the results you provide.

Mistake 7: Selling the process instead of the results

Speaking of results, that’s what freelancer pricing and packaging mistake 7 is all about. I know you love what you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t have jumped into the online biz pool. And it’s a beautiful thing when your work makes your heart sing.

The issue there is we can get all caught up in whatever techno-babble suits our service-based businesses. And all the businesses have their own geek-speak. Whether it’s copywriting, graphic design, or web development, there’s all sorts of terminology that’s so much fun to analyze and talk about.

But there’s a pretty good chance that your ideal client isn’t up to speed on all those details. And she also doesn’t care. 

She cares about HER business and how you are going to help her. 

So make sure that your packages focus on the results your service delivers. Whether it’s increased visibility, brand identity, or simply freeing up your client’s time so she can focus on revenue-generating activities, make sure you sell the result. Save the process stuff for the project description in your proposal and contract.

Have other questions about your freelance, service-based business? Join my free community where we talk about business and life – and we have some fun, too!