Time to wind down for the weekend with some hilarious Cohere and coworking shenanigans from the week.

Today has been all about link sharing.  Enjoy this snapshot of our irc chat between @_achiang, @rockstar, @sgillies and @coherellc

<achiang> http://i.imgur.com/UTSDN.jpg
<achiang> seang: rockstar ^^
<seang> … D’ALBA
<seang> barbera?
<seang> mmm
* Angelk doesn’t want to see rockstar dance
<achiang> awilliam: so, king weiner?
<awilliam> achiang: sure
<seang> yes
<awilliam> achiang: I’m leaving in a few, I’ll just meet you @cohere
<achiang> http://www.asofterworld.com/
<Angelk> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=832P-WWv0JM (trolololo guy with real sounds)
<achiang> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqxIZD4phJw&feature=related
<achiang> Angelk: hitler and balloon boy
<achiang> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM5Bpz9HA5k
<achiang> hitler ipad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lui0-4IW64
<achiang> wait, this is a better hitler ipad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHchZtRL40Y&feature=related
<achiang> HTFU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EY7lYRneHc
<achiang> yay, weiner quorum
<smallakin> I’m still looking at this frequently. http://i.imgur.com/MgxEY.jpg  love them

Additionally, Cohere welcomed many of our old Coherants back into the folds of coworking on Wednesday night.  There’s something about having @reusmith, @shirjoycreative, @kevin_u and @coherellc (the person) in #inappropriate corner that lends itself naturally to science + graphs + relationships.

We got on the topic of “levels of nerdery” and naturally we had to use some XY graphs to represent each of us.  Fossil fuel, mucus production, chocolate intake and keyword density were all found on at least one graph.  Enjoy these pictures of the results.

Raise your rates

We determined earlier this week that you aren’t charging enough for your services. Greg Fuhrman (Freelance CFO) helped us through the nuts and bolts of rate raising.  We also got a butt whooping from Redhead Writing too.

Once you have landed on your new (much higher) rate. You can use these tips to break the news to your clients.

Existing Clients:

  • Will appreciate a little lead time.  Don’t say, “Hi, I doubled my rate, effective 4 minutes ago.”  Start with your longest term and favorite clients.  Call them up and let them know that your rate will be increasing on X date (about 3 months in the future).
  • You can go for broke and do the whole increase all at once on X date BUT
  • Consider stepping up the rate over time.  Your long term clients will appreciate being put on an adjusted rate schedule.  This allows them to project their budgets more accurately which will cause any good project manager to hug you. For instance, you might increase your rate by $10/hour every month for the next 3 months or until you hit your target rate.

New Clients:

  • You have the benefit of historical ignorance here.  New clients probably don’t know how much you were charging last week so you can implement your new rate ASAP with new clients.
  • Consider giving a discount on your normal rate when the project will be very large or long term.  You can afford to cut them a bit of a deal for the sweet security of a long term contract!  A good rule of thumb is to discount your rate by about 10-20% for these situations.
  • There’s no harm in trying to get new clients on a retainer deal.  Retainer=they get a special rate for committing to X number of hours per month.  In return, they get your special “retainer rate.”  Again, the security of a long term contract frees you up to work on your craft instead of being out scrounging up new clients.
  • Remember that clients on aggressive deadlines get to pay you A LOT more for your expertise.  They need the product of your brain in a hurry so they’ll have to pay for it.  Consider doubling your rate when you get these types of calls.
  • If you are writing proposals for clients on the east or west coasts, adjust your price UP by 25-50%.

Let us know how your rate setting/increasing conversations are going!

#financefriday: Setting your rate

Normally a superhero dons a cape and mask before saving someone.  Today, Greg Fuhrman arrived at Cohere Coworking Community in relatively inconspicuous attire: a blazer. Greg is a “freelance Chief Financial Officer.”  I’ve given him that title because he works p/t or interim for small and growing companies that need a little CFO love.

Greg helps the group understand rate setting

Greg taught us what a CFO’s role is, why we might want a CFO’s help, how to set and raise rates, adding employees and tips and tricks for securing venture capital!  Yep, all that in just one hour at #frankfriday today.

Today’s financial focus will be on RATES.  How much are you charging and is it enough?

  • Never undersell yourself.
  • Longer projects can be at a lower rate in return for the security of a long term contract.
  • Urgent projects demand a premium rate, sometimes double what you normally charge.  If a company expects you to drop everything for them, it’s going to cost ’em!
  • Measure yourself against your peers.  Your peers are people in the same industry with similar experience.
  • What seems like a lot of money to you may not phase a company with deep pockets.
  • You should not be charging less than $50-60 per hour.  Yep, you read that right.
  • Know what your minimum dollar amount to survive is and work backwards from that number factoring in how many billable hours/month or week you can tolerate as a creative.  (Angel’s note: I’ve noticed that many technically creative people can only produce high quality work for about 5 hours/day. This 5 hours/day is in addition to the more functional parts of freelance like billing, writing proposals and catching up on twitter).
  • When setting your rate, factor in taxes, retirement, insurance and the cost of doing business in your field.  What software or equipment do you have to keep up to date?
  • Get off on the right foot with a new client by telling them your normal rate and then discounting their project.  “My normal rate is $120/hour but I can do $100/hour since this is a large project.”

In summary,  you probably aren’t charging enough.  What could you accomplish if you doubled your rates and worked half as many hours?  Marinate on that and tune in later this week for Greg’s advice on how to raise your rates.

Contact Greg (gregory@fuhrmanconsulting [dot] com) if your business needs an interim CFO, business planning or a long-term strategy.

Linchpins Igniting for Free

Yikes, the upcoming week at Cohere is nuts!  Here’s what we have in store this week.

Monday 6pm: Seth Godin’s worldwide Linchpin Event at Trebuchet Group.

Tuesday from 9am-5pm: Free Coworking Day at Cohere, includes a giant sandwich for lunch.

Wednesday: Catching up from Monday and Tuesday and prepping for Thursday and Friday.

Thursday at 6pm: Ignite Fort Collins.  Cohere is representing with Paul, Angel, Moriah and Reu taking the stage.

Friday at 12pm: #frankfriday lunch and learn Q&A with Attorney Christina Robertson.  Come ask questions about topics that are relevant to freelance.

#frankfriday | steve martin

Steve Martin (right) of Clever Cubed shares his business redesign with Cohere. Matt (left)

Yes, Steve Martin was our guest at #frankfriday here at the Cohere coworking community.  Steve recently redesigned his business from general web dev. to a company that focuses on information architecture and user interface.  Here is the recap *summarizing*:

Cohere: “Steve, why did you decide to redesign your business?”

Steve: For the last year or so I found myself telling clients that I really like to work on the info architecture and user interface aspects of web development.  After awhile, I decided I should probably just focus on what I love to do, I’m better at this one part of web dev. so why not specialize?

Cohere: “Why Specialize?”

Steve: I think it’s important to be really good at one thing rather than mediocre at many.  It’s hard to do a website from top to bottom when you’re really thinking, “I know someone who would be way better at the graphic design part of your project than I am.”  It frees you up to focus on what you’re really passionate about.  I feel so much better about my business and this direction.

Frank Friday on the Cohere patio

We also talked about user interface tools and techniques and the importance of specializing as well as who would be an ideal client for Steve.

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