The 3-part “sweet spot” formula for creating your Day Rate offer!

I’ve been talking about the benefits of Day Rates a lot over here, and one of the most common questions I get asked around how to structure a Day Rate is, “How do I determine what to offer?”

Quite honestly, there are two ways to go about figuring this out: the messy, imperfect action way, and then of course, the more refined, strategic and scaleable way.

In this blog post, I’m going to share how I personally did it back in 2018 – the messy, imperfect action method!

As you’ve probably already assumed, in order for this to work, your offer needs to be compelling, valuable and in-demand.  The challenge is to figure out what is something that you KNOW without a doubt that you can get done in a day (or a half day, or whatever amount of time “intensive” means to you), what is something that is high in demand, and what is something that has you jumping out of bed on a Monday morning.

The magic “sweet spot” happens at the intersection of:

  • BEING REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT CAN GET DONE
  • WHAT YOU’RE CONSISTENTLY ASKED FOR
  • SOMETHING YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT DOING

So let’s dive in a little more.

To figure out what you can actually do in the timeframe that you are going to allocate to your intensives, you need to start practicing. 

Think about a current client that you’re working with right now, and think about the tasks that you’re working through.  Set aside a day, or a half day this week and start timing yourself.  No multitasking allowed! A time-sucking monster, the time it takes to switch from task to task is eating up a huge percentage of your workable hours. 

According to the American Psychological Association, ““[A]lthough switch costs may be relatively small, sometimes just a few tenths of a second per switch, they can add up to large amounts when people switch repeatedly back and forth between tasks. Thus, multitasking may seem efficient on the surface but may actually take more time in the end and involve more error. Meyer has said that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.”

There’s a ton of research on this topic, so if you’re interested in learning more a quick google search of “The High Cost of Multitasking” will produce a plethora of results!

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, your goal is to carve out a chunk of time that you can dedicate to this exercise, and just start doing the work – I promise, you’ll be AMAZED at how much you can get done when you’re not jumping from one client to the next!

What were you able to accomplish? How long did it take you?  If you did a 4 hour chunk, double that, and think about what’s possible in 8 hours!

Next, you want to think about what your existing or prospective clients repeatedly ask you to do.  Like me, maybe you find that clients are always asking you to help them “refresh” an unprofessionally designed Divi website.  Or alternatively, maybe creating brand identities is your specialty and you are always asked for branding help.

Honestly, it doesn’t even need to be graphic design work! 

  • Maybe you’re a copywriter, and everyone is always asking for help with writing an About page, or their sales page. 
  • Maybe you’re a social media manager and your clients want help with setting up a 12-month content calendar.
  • Maybe you’re an interior designer, and clients are always asking you to help with specific parts of the design process such as how to decorate a large wall or bedroom design. 
  • Maybe you’re a kitchen & bath designer, but you really prefer just one or the other.

Brainstorm all the possible combinations of services or mini “offers” that you could create, keeping in mind your allotted timeframe, and test them out with your time-tracking app of choice!

For me, my first Book Me For A Day client was an existing client.  I had already designed her brand and her website, and she had reached out to me, asking for help on a punch list of updates to her website. Her email looked like this: 

Maybe you’ve gotten similar email requests, and the thought of pricing it all out a la carte style is exhausting.  You’re not in this business to nickel and dime clients, and like me, you might hate having to justify and write out the details of every little thing that your client wants.

So think about what sort of requests you get and brainstorm your solutions!

Lastly, just because a client wants something from you all the time, doesn’t mean it’s the work you were born to do! Ultimately I want to help you get you to a point where you’re doing things that you were MADE FOR!  Work that is equally as impactful on you as it is on them.

So take some time and journal about what you WANT to be doing all the time!  If you could be doing anything in the world, what would that be?  What does it look like? Write about your picture perfect clients, your ideal day, how does your work make you feel, how do your clients react to your work, what are you able to do more/better as a result of the passion that you feel for the work that you’re doing?  Get specific!

Now take everything you’ve written above, and look for the commonalities.  Where do they intersect?  Write out what this magical service looks like, who it’s for, how long it will take.  This will likely change over time as you get more experience with intensives and figure out what you’re REALLY good (and fast) at doing, and what you truly love!

Remember, the magic “sweet spot” happens at the intersection of:

  • BEING REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT CAN GET DONE
  • WHAT YOU’RE CONSISTENTLY ASKED FOR
  • SOMETHING YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT DOING

So my initial Book Me For A Day offering was “Have a punch list of design items that you just want DONE?!!”  That’s how I got my start.  

I eventually started adding other options such as “simple” brand identity packages, Divi website refreshes, and Squarespace builds, but as the recovering multitasker that I was, doing “punch lists” served as the perfect bridge from multitasking work to dedicated and focused branding and website intensives!