The Subtle Mindset Changes That’ll Get You Paid More by Clients


Want to get paid more by clients? Sure, we all would love that. But you might be thinking there’s some trick or technique you need to use in order to make more money. Nope: there are no tricks or secrets to getting paid more as a designer or freelancer. It ultimately boils down to being valuable and being needed.

As with anything that is worth it’s while, it takes time, but it’s a pretty simple path to becoming more valuable and needed. There are 5 mindset shifts that’ll get you paid more by clients.

Unlike some techniques, a mindset shift takes practice and a little bit of time to truly set in. No magic bullets here (“make more money instantly!” “have clients begging for more!” … ugh).

But if a certain mindset shift makes sense to you, and you put in the effort to start thinking and working that way, then you stand to get paid more by clients for the rest of your designing and freelancing career – no one-trick-pony techniques that wear off here.

Sometimes the mindset shift and getting paid more can happen pretty quick if you’re confident in the new mindset and in your value you provide.

Anyway, onto the good stuff. Here are 5 mindset shifts that’ll get you paid more by clients:

It’s About Them, Not You

You’re doing them a favor by offering your services. As soon as you think of your clients throwing you a bone when they hire you, you get into desperate mode.

Be confident in your value and stand your ground. Make them think that you don’t need them, that you’re looking for the right clients, not the other way around.

I’ve lost count of the number of designers and freelancers I’ve talked to that said this was their biggest mindset shift that led to them making more money. They ended up settling on higher rates because they weren’t desperate, and they also attracted higher-paying clients this way.

Focus on Benefits, not Features

Nobody cares that you can crank out X widgets a month for your client. You have to answer why that should matter. In other words, focus on the benefits you can give your client, not features.

How many more page views, or leads, or new members can your work produce? And especially how much more money can you ultimately make your client?

The money portion might not apply in every situation, but it can always be tied into the benefits. “I can increase your X and Y by Z percent, which will result in more money for you down the line.”

Value concept modern design Creative light bulb idea abstract info graphic banner workflow layout diagram

Clients don’t know how widget X will benefit them, as the path to increasing their desired results is vague. For this reason, it’s hard for them to place a high price on your service, since the value isn’t clear. So spell it out for them and say that widget X will help them to increase their desired results by doing this and that.

Then the value will be clear, and your client will be able to more confidently place a higher price on it.

Don’t Make Them Think or Work

A client doesn’t want to think or work. That’s why they’re paying you. To take care of all the tasks and decisions for them.

Otherwise, they’ll think: “Why am I paying this person again? I could’ve just done this myself.” Definitely not a way to get paid more by that client, that’s for sure.

Think about it: if you call out a plumber, you expect the plumber to come in, do all the work, have his own tools and necessary accessories and analyze and make the right decisions. That’s what you’re paying for. If the plumber starts asking you for help carrying these tools over here, or pulling that wrench over there, or asking for your advice and thoughts on this or that problem, you start to get frustrated and ask: “Why did I hire this plumber again?”

senior plumber on duty portrait

A client is paying for convenience. That’s what they’re really paying you for.

See, the client could’ve done the research, learned the techniques, designed something without any help. But that all takes time and effort, and the client is either busy, in a hurry or not interested in learning all that. Or the client’s just lazy – we all are in certain aspects.

So make your client’s life easy and convenient. The easier and more convenient you make your client’s life, the more you stand to get paid by that client.

Be Reasonably Flexible

Now, don’t be a doormat. That’s obvious. But don’t be needlessly stern either. Instead, be reasonably flexible.

If your client asks for an additional unexpected task that came up, and it’s easy for you to do, then just do it. Of course, make sure to explain that the rate will go up as a result. But as long as you’re honest and reasonable, your client shouldn’t have a reason to disagree.

Bam. For a simple, quick task that takes you nothing to do, you’re now getting paid more. And this is usually the kind of task that someone wouldn’t pay just to have it done by itself, especially if it’s an unexpected one. But by tacking it onto your main project, you can get paid a lot more for relatively little extra work.

And you’re not ripping your client off either, because they’re paying for the convenience of you doing the task for them as well as the peace of mind they get because they already trust you.

Don’t Hold Back on Offering More

Your client already trusts you and hopefully likes your work. So why not offer more of it?

Don’t hold back offering more work, even while you’re finishing up a current project. Again, this goes back to #1: you’re doing them a favor by offering to give more of your value to them.

They want what you have. So give it to them – and get paid more by the client as a result.

It’s a lot easier to do more work and get paid more by existing clients than trying to find a new one.

Get Paid More by Clients

There’s no tricks or secrets to getting paid more as a designer, freelancer, or whatever. It ultimately boils down to being valuable and being needed. So with these 5 mindset shifts, you can become more valuable and needed and be able to get paid more by clients.

To recap, here are the 5 mindset shifts:

  1. It’s about them, not you
  2. Focus on benefits, not features
  3. Don’t make them think or work
  4. Be reasonably flexible
  5. Don’t hold back on offering more

Over to you: what other ways and mindset shifts have helped you to get paid more by clients?

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