When they ask me “How to earn more?” I want to say “Do your job well”. It’s not because it’s a universal principle, but because you have to start with it. But if I said that it is enough, I would lie to you.
The level of income and skills overlap, but do not depend on each other completely. For example, a good musician will earn more than a good designer. Not because he is better, as a person. It’s just that the entertainment market brings more money (people are more likely to subscribe to Apple Music than to buy a design layout).
Similar logic works within the same profession. Designers of the same level can earn different amounts if one of them chooses a more profitable sphere.
Working in the studio, increasing the salary of one designer affects the total cost of the project for the client, so managers are not always ready to make concessions. In food companies, the story is different. The profit of the company is not directly linked to the cost of an hour’s work of the employee, so product designers usually earn more.
When I asked for a salary increase on the first full time from $1,000 to $1,500, the managers looked not at how much money I bring to the business, but how much I am valuable to the company. If you are a good specialist, it will be easier for you to raise your salary than to look for a new employee and spend a lot of time on his adaptation.
How to earn more by working for a client
If we talk about client work, here I see several ways to earn more.
The first way is to choose a profitable industry. A profitable industry is one that is well scalable or with high margin profit. In this case, the business is ready to invest more money in development, because it will pay off more than that.
I managed to get the most income by designing financial services for large banks. On such projects, you can get a monthly income for a week of work. But it is not easy to get to such projects. I was helped in this by recommendations from people I worked with earlier.
Recommendations are one of the most effective channels. That is why you need to invest in each project, even if it does not look promising from the beginning. You never know what it will bring in a couple of years.
The second way is to raise prices. It will be easier for loyal customers to pay you more than to look for another designer. But the problem is that new clients may never show up, because there will always be someone willing to do the work cheaper.
The only way out of this situation is to be not just better, but to be different. In this case, the question of price is relegated to the background, because there are no more people like you.
Recently, I have mentioned several ways that will help a designer to stand out from the rest:
Your works can be minimalistic or the opposite can be a rich combination of different colors. You can have your own palette, corporate color or font.
You can focus on premium orders or reduce the cost by betting on speed.
You can work in one area, for example, fitness, creating services for a healthy lifestyle. The advantage of this approach is that you can choose your favorite theme.
You can focus on clients from specific regions.
You can deeply immerse yourself in each project by conducting analytics and thorough research, or you can use ready-made developments (free mockup), speeding up the work several times.
Being unique does not negate the fact that you must be good at what you do. Some designers give up, and do not have time to bring their style to the level for which they will be ready to pay. It is easier for them to imitate others, because they are already paid for it today.
There are times when you just need money, so you are ready to take on any job without thinking about the industry and uniqueness. This is life. But you will always have a few extra hours in the evenings and weekends, which you can invest in the future.