In the U.S., small business (less than 250 employees) makes up nearly half the GDP and accounts for more than half the employment. But with the Great Recession, a number of these small businesses have gone bankrupt. The bets that entrepreneurs put on themselves came up short. But that’s why they are called “bets” — these entrepreneurs are knowingly exposing themselves to risk, and potentially, a great reward. But for many, the reward is less than they had hoped. For every Facebook, there are hundreds of companies that fail, bump along on the bottom of the market, or are acquired for a song and a glass of wine. Drive around Silicon Valley looking for buildings with a blank spot on the wall that used to be a logo. They’re not hard to find.
It may sound like a pretty obvious thing to say but the single most important people for a startup is its users. While it is true to say that investment can criticial, and staff help drive a business, a service or product has to have users in order to attract both of those in the first place – with very few exceptions.
All startups are inherently focused on their users to help them grow, but that same focus needs to be maintained when companies are in a less successful position, or perhaps even a downward spiral towards closure.
I’m a geek and given the choice I will always choose to hangout with my own “kind”. Having launched a product and started a service business I quickly realised that I had to break out of my habits and start going to where my customers really are. That’s why, when I was given the opportunity to speak to an entrepreneur and startup founder about this subject, I immediately jumped on board.
Jeremy Kagan is the founder & CEO of Pricing Engine. A web service that helps the “little guy” make the most of online advertising by optimising their resources and budget, while making suggestions on what ads they should invest in. Last May, instead of going to Internet Week in NY or TechCrunch Disrupt, Jeremy decided to build a group of experts and go to where their customers were.
Hands down, pricing your services as a freelancer is tough. So tough that no one has really mastered it. There isn’t really a secret formula to pricing your services just right, no magical tricks that will help you land awesome clients, and no one way to price your services so that you can guarantee that you will be rolling in the dough.
There is this idea in the freelancing industry that freelancers shouldn’t really discuss how much they charge, which doesn’t help you, as a new freelancer, learn how to do it yourself. I’m not sure why pricing is so hush-hush in the freelancing industry, other than freelancers considering it a “business secret,” which I can understand.
This is tough though for a starting freelancer or even a student who wants to freelance while in school. Where can freelancers who are struggling to price their services get some help in setting their fees and making sure they are appropriate?
It’s easy just to tell a starting freelancer to “figure it out” on their own, or send them different articles that talk about pricing, while none of them really give solid information or actionable steps on how to come up with their fees. But why does it have to be this way?
Let me attempt to bust this secretive bubble. Sure, I am probably going to break a few of the unwritten rules of freelance pricing, but with everything I do involving my freelancing (including writing about freelancing and helping students start freelancing), I am focused on helping other freelancers succeed, because when freelancers can succeed individually, we all can succeed as a group.