The Dark Art of Pricing


(The Correspondence – fuente no verifica)

Iknow many of you went to art school and I’m assuming most of the people reading this article are designers, illustrators or others working within the world of what we reluctantly call “communication art”. When we graduated from art school, a career was promised to us. We wouldn’t spend our days covered in grape jelly, masturbating before crowds to win a spot at the Whitney Biennial—we would live normal lives, work at offices, bask in the glow of our computers. We would have stability and wouldn’t have to worry about how our “art” would pay the bills. Our parents were happy, we were happy, our fine-art friends called us sell-outs and all was right in the world.

We found our first job. After a couple years we wanted a change of pace and found a new one. Things were good. Life was easy. Mornings were spent perusing cute overload before the coffee kicked in. We designed without ever having to really deal with clients, invoicing, negotiating—all the icky businessy stuff that bums everyone out. Our left-brain atrophied.

Then one day we woke up with the itch. It became more and more powerful as we dragged ourselves to work on blizzardy days or suffered through hangovers under fluorescent lights and drop ceilings. At 7am, half awake under the weak arc of water emptying from our shower head we said to ourselves “I’m going to do it! I’m going to go freelance!” We threw on a towel and the world felt sparkly and new. We’d make our own hours! We’d sleep until noon if we wanted to! We’d no longer worry about using up all of our sick days. We’d be in control! (The freelancers reading this are without a doubt rolling their eyes at the naiveté we all once possessed). We gave notice at work and a few weeks later our dream was a reality. As time went on though, we realized this reality was not always a dream come true.

Now we were more than creatives, we were business people. If we were one of the lucky ones, we picked up enough client work to keep us from retreating, tail between our legs, to our previous lives as employees. We completely fucked ourselves over on those first few jobs but eventually cobbled together a relatively good standard contract and learned to say enough is enough after the 10th round of revisions. This is not the stuff we learned in college. If you even thought about contracts and invoices before that art school diploma hit your hand I commend your professors, but most of us were off in la la land developing identities for fictitious products, complaining about how we only had seven weeks to get that logo right.

You can learn a lot of the business end of design and illustration by trial and error and reading articles and books, but one thing that is seemingly impossible to get a grasp on is pricing. Whether you are a student, a young designer, or a seasoned pro, pricing jobs can be one of the most frustrating parts of the creative process. The cost of creative work is shrouded in mystery and very subjective. While it makes some people uncomfortable to talk about art and money together (as we all know creatives are really meant to suffer through life and die penniless), they are incredibly similar when you think about it. What is money other than dirty rectangles of pressed tree pulp? Because we all believe it has value it is valuable.

I know you’re all dying for me to get down to brass tacks and explain how to price for each and every design situation, but what follows won’t be anywhere close to a definitive guide, just some of my own opinions and words of wisdom on how to avoid screwing yourself and the rest of us over by doing too much work for too little pay. We’re in charge of assigning value to what we do. Alright, here we go!

 

Pricing hourly punishes efficiency  >> Leer más “The Dark Art of Pricing”

Social Media: Quality or Quantity?

Quality – of information, of leads, of interactions – helps us focus our efforts and energy in the right places. It makes relationship development a more scalable activity, because we can reach one-to-one or one-to-few more personally than we can one-to-many. It provides a richness and depth of experience, or the feeling of a worthwhile investment, and helps us conceivably derive a better value-to-effort ratio for the things in which we invest our money or brain power.

Quantity, on the other hand, provides us with the field of information, leads, or interactions to draw from. More isn’t always better; 10 outstanding blog posts is arguably better than 50 mediocre ones, and a representative sample is better than a whole pile of garbage data. But some is often better than none, and quantity (even a minimal one) gives us a starting ground for most things. That can be the potential reach of an audience, a field of data with which to at least begin some analysis, or simply a diversity of perspectives upon which to make an informed choice or decision.


brasstackthinking.com

Social Media: Quality or Quantity? - Brass Tack Thinking

In social media, is it quality or quantity that matters?

Yes.

Here’s what I mean.

Quality and quantity, in the cases of many goals and objectives, are inextricably linked. They’re relative, and one can outweigh the other or the scale can be different. But it’s a rare case in business when it’s actually only one or the other.

Quality – of information, of leads, of interactions – helps us focus our efforts and energy in the right places. It makes relationship development a more scalable activity, because we can reach one-to-one or one-to-few more personally than we can one-to-many. It provides a richness and depth of experience, or the feeling of a worthwhile investment, and helps us conceivably derive a better value-to-effort ratio for the things in which we invest our money or brain power.

Quantity, on the other hand, provides us with the field of information, leads, or interactions to draw from. More isn’t always better; 10 outstanding blog posts is arguably better than 50 mediocre ones, and a representative sample is better than a whole pile of garbage data. But some is often better than none, and quantity (even a minimal one) gives us a starting ground for most things. That can be the potential reach of an audience, a field of data with which to at least begin some analysis, or simply a diversity of perspectives upon which to make an informed choice or decision.

The key is to find the point of diminishing returns: when the quality of outcomes is offset or even negatively impacted effort of collecting additional quantity .

That’s not going to be the same for my business as it is for yours. It’s not going to be the same in B2B as it is in B2C or for a nonprofit as it is a Fortune 100 consumer brand. Questions to ask yourself might include:

  • What constitutes a valuable use of one hour of my time consuming content? Is it one big idea that I can implement in the next year? Three small actions I can take next week? Entertaining myself or taking a break from work to rest my mind?
  • What’s the cost (time, technology, or a combination of the two) for me to collect 1,000 email addresses, or 100? How much money do I need to make back from those addresses to have made it worth my while, or is there another outcome or cost savings that I can count as a return?
  • Can I further worthwhile discussions of my cause or point of view if I don’t have a platform upon which to spread them? How big does it need to be to gain traction? How small does it need to remain to feel focused?
  • How much “engagement” can I generate via my social profiles before maintaining that level of interaction won’t scale and will frustrate my community? If they had to choose, would my community prioritize individual attention over speed of information?
  • How many months of data do I need to track to know if my campaign is having the desired results? Am I tracking the data points that tell me something useful, or just tracking lots of them? Leer más “Social Media: Quality or Quantity?”