What’s your budget?

There’s a special kind of hell for people who quote projects with this question.

Most often the professional who uses it is a designer, videographer, or writer.

The yield is either:

  1. My budget is large, and you’ll ask for all of it
  2. My budget is small, and you’ll do shitty work.

There is no in-between, because the creative person always says “yes.” Perhaps it’s the creativity in them, forcing them to think they can make it work.

Which begs a question — what’s a creative person worth, anyway?

If they keep asking clients, everyone loses. If they divide the income they need by the actual hours they work per week, the client loses.

A filmmaker can count the views on a client’s how-to video. A writer can compare social shares, or increased rank authority, or longer time spent on a pricing page.

Designers, though. That’s a tough one.

A designer’s job is to solve problems. Should a designer promise faster click-through rates on your application? More event attendees because the flyer was kickass?

I think it’s hard for designers to price their work is because most designers don’t understand their value-add. All they know is how to produce pretty pixels, and to spend twice as long on a project than they estimated.

To all the creative folks out there, don’t ask about my budget. Ask yourself, what’s my purpose?

Because if you don’t understand your value, then you might not be adding any.