Written by Nguyen Le

Your standards dictate your outcome and results. That sandbox that you’re playing in and that mental ceiling that you’ve created for yourself will create the results you’ll keep getting.If you believe that the maximum rate you can get for a job is $50 per hour. Then you’d be afraid or reluctant to charge that much. So perhaps you ask for $40 per hour instead. This is your standard.

If you believe that the maximum rate you can get for a job is $150 per hour. Then this is your standard.

If you believe the maximum rate you can charge is not hourly based, but the value that you can provide for clients. Then a day can be worth $5000 to $20,000 to you or it can be worth $800 or a lot more or less. This is your standard or your norm.

Each standard will most likely attract a certain type of client, job or business model. So from a financial point of view it will either be the top of the market (the top 10%) or it can be the bottom of the market (the bottom 30%). Based on our above examples.

Standards and pricing is a form of marketing and sales.

Something a lot of designers don’t want to touch with a 10ft pole. It’s uncomfortable and for most us doesn’t come naturally. We don’t mind being the unsung hero sometimes. And that getting to be creative is the privilege and focusing on the money is selling out.

But pricing and getting paid what you are worth matters.

It says to the world and prospective employers, customers, clients and leads that you are at a certain quality. That this represents your standard.  When you think of good quality vs. low quality what is a common determining factor?


As a rule of thumb poorly made goods are usually cheaper. While quality items usually cost more - yet people are more than happy to pay for them.

There is a market out there that is happy to pay you more. Attract and gain the awareness, interest, desire and action of that market. Whether it be a freelance client or an employer.

Have the audacity to say I can work hard to raise my standards, that do things that scare me a little but will help me grow.

How can you raise your standard?

  • Read and learn more to build the mindset and confidence you need to take the next step
  • Get a mentor to benchmark yourself against them and their blueprint
  • Keep yourself accountable with the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly actions
  • Does your output reflect the standards that you have set for yourself? If not work to close that gap. Through practice, through repetition, through execution, through consistency
  • It starts with mindset to action
  • Do something that is slightly out of your comfort zone and keep building on top of that.

Standards are a belief and a value system, if you have a higher standard than the average population – it will require you to think differently than the most and it can be a difficult thing to do. Because that’s the conditioning and the messaging that you’ve been given by mass media and perhaps the people around you.

It applies to other areas of your life as well. If you have good healthy standards and habits it will influence other areas of your life. Like your health, relationship and finances. Eat healthier, move more, invest better, be a better listener. These are all standards you can set for yourself. The most important thing is don’t fret or be hard on yourself if you fail. The journey of improving and closing the gap is reward. The results will be the cherry on top - for the actions that you are taking to meet those standards.

Start reaching your highest potential. One day you’ll look back at the beautiful but arduous path you’ve crossed that got you to where you dreamed to be.

And made you who you are today. 

This is not just written to you dear designer friend, but a conversation to my past self. This expanding of the sandbox had me from making $20/hr in my early years to $200/hr, to now approaching 7 figures. If a chump like me can achieve it, through continuous growth, nudging my comfort zone and changing my mindset through time by learning from others. You can too. It was hard no doubt about it, but I just want you to know that it's possible.

If you would like to continue ways of earning more as a designer, I highly recommending checking out my free money workshop video here.