Ahhhh, the cost of living. The past few years have been a crazy blip in the scheme of the universe, and they’ll probably go down in the history textbooks of 2050.
The past few months – hurt by the bushfires, the COVID pandemic, and now interest rate rises – I’ve seen businesses that I thought were going strong struggle and even close down owing millions. What’s more, your average Joe on the street is finding their savings depleting because everything costs more now, and fun things like live music that were an important part of the world’s bounceback from the pandemic are just not something most people are willing to pay for. That puts even more pressure on artists who were already struggling, with some taking to social media announcing that for the first time in their careers, they need support or they might have to cancel their shows.
So, yeah, things are looking a bit rough.
The thing is, when inflation rises and businesses take a hit, one of the first things they’ll do is raise their prices in line with the increased costs they’re facing. I’ve chosen not to do this, and here I’m going to explain why.
#1: I’m fortunate to have not been hit by cost increases
I’m a graphic designer and digital microbusiness owner. Unlike a restauranteur, I don’t need to buy inflated produce to then cook and sell as part of my business model. All I use is my computer, my design programs, my hardware, some software subscriptions, and my insurance – none of which has really gone up in price. So I’m not going to pretend I’m facing “cost increases” in order to fleece money out of my clients.
Sure, I’m paying more for my groceries and petrol, but so are you.
#2: I’m thankful for my clients
Why on earth would I choose to raise my prices when my clients are already choosing, in this rough economic time, to spend their money to support my business and life’s passion? I don’t think that’s ethical, and keeping my prices the same for 2023 is how I say thank you for your continued support. 🙂
Plus, I just spent 5 months travelling the world while continuing to work remotely. I’m so thankful to have a job like that, and as a show of gratitude, my pricing is not changing for the foreseeable future.
#3: I’m perfectly happy with my rates as they are
I charge $85 per hour (as a general rule, built into individual value/quoting considerations). It includes GST and is built to cover my expenses, my super, and the sometimes unpredictable nature of freelance work – but even after subtracting those, it falls around or above the average hourly rate for a tertiary-educated Australian professional. I’m still growing my business, and for now, I’m comfortable with this figure – despite many business owners charging a minimum of $100 per hour, and several of my industry peers telling me I should probably be thinking about doing the same.
I first raised my rates to $85 sometime in 2020 or 2021 when I registered for GST, and one of the key benefits cited by the rise was that I wouldn’t have to raise them again for some time. So here we are in 2023, and this amount is still just fine, thanks.