The biggest mistake I made starting my freelance business

The biggest mistake I made when starting my freelance business from

Today I want to tell you a little story about a big mistake I made when I was just starting my freelance design business.

I had the opportunity yesterday to do an interview with the truly super awesome Ashley Wilhite for her new program Cubicle to $10k. As part of this series she asked me to talk about making my first $10k and so I went back through my spreadsheets from 2010 and 2011 to see how much income I made.

People…I was shocked. The prices I was charging when I first started freelancing again were atrociously low. Like cringe-worthy low. Like I’m in middle school making blog headers for my friends-low.

I’ll let you jump over to her site and watch the interview for the exact numbers, but suffice to say, I was massively under charging for my services.

When I decided to start freelancing I had almost 15 years of design and development experience, 6 of those in a corporate setting. I had multiple clients under my belt and expertise in Photoshop and WordPress. But I didn’t have any recently designed sites online or an official-looking business website (I was soliciting clients through a blog post), so I took it upon myself to start from square one.


I wasn’t taking myself or my business seriously and therefore I didn’t think I could charge serious rates. Major mistake.

For two years before leaving my full-time job I worked with a ton of clients, I put in a TON of hours, and I didn’t end up making that much money.

After having such a giant slap-in-the-face reminder myself, I thought I would share what I should have done with you . . .

  • If you’re starting a business, really take stock of the amount of experience, knowledge and talent you have. Don’t be like me and base your prices solely on the fact that you’re just starting to offer freelance services. If you are seriously about your work you will attract clients that are serious about theirs.
  • Be realistic about how long a project takes start to finish and what that breaks down to hourly. (If you don’t know then you NEED to start tracking your hours) For some projects that will come out to a pretty big number. Ask yourself—can I do the work and can I do it well? If the answer is yes, then you should be charging that number. (even if it feels a little scary) Don’t start worrying that it’s too expensive or you’re not good enough to charge that amount yet. Trust me, it is downright painful to find yourself in the middle of a project thinking, “I should have charged more…”
  • Consider how many clients you can take on in a year to meet your financial goals. If you want to make $30,000 is that 30 clients or 300. (It’s not 300, please don’t say 300)
  • Lastly, imagine yourself two years in the future—looking back, how would you feel about your current prices?

If you’ve been in business for a while check back over your pricing.

  • When is the last time you increased your prices?
  • What skills or knowledge have you gained over the past year that would warrant a rate hike?
  • How far in advance are you booking clients? More than a few months out and you can probably raise your prices.
  • Is your pricing in line with other similarly talented people in your niche? Remember, under charging doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts everyone in your industry.

I know that pricing is a huge dilemma when starting a freelance business, so my recommendation is to aim high. Don’t lowball yourself just because you want tons of clients immediately or you’re afraid people won’t hire you. Gain some more skills and get hustling!


Tonight I’m hosting another Twitter chat! Join me at 6:30pm Pacific / 9:30PM Eastern to talk about making time in your schedule and staying motivated to blog! Use the hashtag #badassblogchat to join!

Blog Love: the best of blogging and biz this week


This week was for . . . quickie dates at Starbucks, napping in parks, food truck rallys, black lipstick + black hats, buying even more lipstick, starting a redesign of my own site, the longest hair appointment ever, an idea-filled Badass Babes hangout (but aren't they all??), and finally getting hooked on House of Cards. The winter session of READ MORE >>>

Photoshop: How to use the healing brush tool

How to use the healing brush tool in Photoshop to edit blog images

Today I've got a quick Photoshop tutorial to help you zap zits and clean up your photos! If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I posted the same photo that I used in this week's Blog Love, but there were two small differences between the photos. You'll notice the orange cone and whatever that pink thing is are missing from READ MORE >>>

Mental cleanse + a reading list


I've been feeling off this week. I've been restless knowing I want to start another big project or create something new, but not sure what that should be. I've been working, but when my to-do list is done enough for the day I've been wandering mentally and physically. Twitter to Facebook to Pinterest to the store, around the block, to the READ MORE >>>

Blog Love: The best of blogging and biz this week


This week was for . . . heading back to class and finally nailing the end of this drop, Target runs with Vanessa, Fourth of July-themed bikinis, naps in parks, waffles for lunch, having the messiest apartment on earth, and playing on the studio's outdoor aerial rig. It's finally warming up and I cannot wait to add beach days to that list again! (I READ MORE >>>

Fix-It Friday wsg Caitlin Brehm


It's Fix-It Friday and I've got a special guest hanging out with me today! Caitlin Brehm of Coffee Rings & Scribbled Things is here to dish out some SEO tips for your blogs! Caitlin takes a holistic approach when it comes to SEO because solid content + appeasing the Google robots + social media are what make up SEO. She helps bloggers and READ MORE >>>

The big badass guide to ecommerce platforms

The big badass guide to ecommerce platforms from

Today's post is all about ecommerce platforms! As someone who sells digital products on multiple websites I know what a pain it can be trying to sort through all the options. The second you think you've found the perfect one, it's missing that one tiny feature that you NEED. So today I've asked a bunch of badass babe business owners to READ MORE >>>

Blog Love: The best of blogging and business every week


This week was almost entirely dedicated to late night rehearsals and performing in my first show here in SD! I got a spray tan for the first time and it made me feel like a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills. I've been taking it easy during the day, so I'm excited to get back on a more intense training schedule next week. Also really excited to eat a READ MORE >>>

10 easy ways to automate your blog & business

10 easy ways to automate your blog or business from

This week I shared my top 12 monthly tasks for keeping your business healthy and one of those ways was to simplify and/or automate my processes. All that admin-type stuff can take hours, so now I have more time for the important stuff like creating content and building blog themes! Here's how I do it . . . Buffer This was and still is my READ MORE >>>