Today I got my report card. Well, not the report card that tells me how I'm doing as far as quality and expertise in my field, but a report card that compares my 4th quarter income to other designers that use the same FreshBooks invoicing system as I do. To be honest my 4th quarter was pretty slow for my graphic design business, since I focused a gigantic amount of attention on my photography business during that quarter (those invoices are billed through a different system so they aren't on FreshBooks) but instead of rambling on about how much money I didn't make in the 4th quarter, I wanted to point out some interesting facts that this report card tells me about my business.
I do realize I only scored 4 out of 5, but I'm going to explain why 4 out of 5 isn't such a bad thing, particularly for my clients.
1. I don't break the budget. However, my services are still top-notch, my clients rave about the quality of my work. I simply do not charge what my competition is charging in most cases. Take the average invoice size on the report card above: My competition is charging nearly 6 times more on their invoices than I am. I even sent out more invoices than my competition in that quarter. That does add up on a company's design budget!
2. My clients keep coming back for more! They like the work I do, so they keep coming back, probably because I'm cheap but I'm going to flatter myself and assume it's the quality original work I produce for them. While my "new client" revenue is down compared to others in the design industry, my "recurring revenue" is up, which means my clients are loyal and enjoy making return visits.
3. I'm dirt cheap. Just look at that average amount invoiced per client billed! Whoa! Others in my profession are charging 10 times more per client than I do! That's a lot of George Washington's people! Maybe this is why I still drive the vehicle I bought 10 years ago and not sporting that new lime green Volkswagon Bug I've been craving for years?
In summary, I work hard for my clients and get them their money's worth. I ponder that I could be making more money if I would put my foot down and catch up with the Jones's....but I love my occupation and enjoy the fact I get paid for doing what I love, even if it isn't "comparable" to what my competition is getting paid, I think that's A-okay. Because in the end, after the project is done and the invoice is sent, I know the report card from my clients is going to be an A+...and they will still have change burning a whole in their pockets to pay me for additional design services down the road.
Wed, January 20, 2010
by Melody Hansen