Negotiation = Confrontation?

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Negotiation is a conversation, not a confrontation

If you are like most creative professionals, you hate talking money with clients.

The thought of negotiating makes you sweat. You may even believe there’s something wrong with negotiating, that it makes you look "weak" if you don't "stick to your guns."

But if you avoid the money conversation, whatever your reason (or excuse), you are probably leaving money on the table, as they say.

So if you want to command the fees you deserve and get paid what you’re worth, you may want to learn to love the money conversation.

Negotiation is not a confrontation

The first thing to know is that negotiation is not a confrontation.

That may be how you imagine it. You against them. Winners and losers. A zero-sum game. But that’s not it at all – at least it doesn’t have to be.

Shift the way you think about it.

Instead, you could see it as a conversation. A back and forth, where you and a client discuss the value they're seeking and the value you bring and assign a number to the place where those two things overlap.

That's your price, which is why I maintain that there's no such thing as a "going rate" for creative services. 

Each client needs something different and each creative professional brings something different. To find that overlap, you have to discuss it. (More about that in a recent podcast and webinar for the Graphic Artists Guild.)

Speaking of negotiating....I love Jill Anderson's recent guest post on this blog about a type of negotiating that is almost impossible to avoid, though most creatives do and end up losing money. 

You know how when the scope of a project starts to creep and the client is asking for more than you initially agreed to?

Rather than even broach the topic of money and suggest you may need to charge more, your tendency may be to just "eat it" because you just know they won't be happy about it and it's sure to be a confrontation!

However, if you lay the groundwork in advance, it won't come as a surprise to them and you won't lose money (and feel like a loser).

In Jill's post, How to Avoid Re-Negotiating When The Scope Creeps, she shared a technique she learned recently that I also think is very smart. 

Here are a few more resources to help with pricing:

Illustration credit: Ed Shems of and

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