Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Busy Creator Podcast with Prescott Perez-Fox

The Busy Creator Podcast is a discussion program where creative professionals from across the spectrum share tools, techniques, and habits they use in their practice. Listeners are introduced to strategies and pro tips to be their most creative, productive selves.

Full website available at and for the show specifically.

Mar 16, 2015

Salary & Fee Negotiations

Jim Hopkinson (@HopkinsonReport) is the author of the book Salary Tutor: Learn The Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You. His website,, offers free resources and online salary negotiation courses to help creative professionals, students, and freelancers increase their confidence, develop a negotiation mindset, and get paid what they’re worth through effective negotiation.

This conversation discusses how creatives can use their natural abilities to get the job, how to negotiate for a top salary or raise, and how freelancers can approach fee negotiations for project-based work.


Show Notes & Links

  • Jim Hopkinson, The Salary Tutor
  • Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You by Jim Hopkinson On Amazon and On Audible
  • FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)
  • A previous blog post about The Humble Coloured Folder
  • Jim’s first few negotiations were on the employee side, but while working at a small startup, he had the opportunity to act as the HR side, which gave him both perspectives
  • Jim worked at ESPN and Wired
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss On Amazon and On Audible
  • Jim wrote The Hopkinson Report blog and hosted a podcast for five years (iTunes link)
  • 10,000 hours
  • Creatives don’t necessarily approach negotiation from a different perspective
  • Creatives have advantages built in: standing out through design

“Everyone has the same boring Microsoft Word resume template; designers have an opportunity to stand out visually” –Jim Hopkinson ← Click to Tweet

  • Having “something to show” is a strong negotiation or job-hunting tactic
  • Put your research into a well-designed graphic layout, don’t just do the research or memorize the figures

“How you do anything is how you do everything.” ← Click to Tweet

“If you want to be, do.” ← Click to Tweet

  • On getting a raise for a current job, “it’s about proving your worth”
  • A montage showing “war”
  • Creatives should find the analytics; other folks should make it visual
  • A portfolio example might show adding a Facebook widget to a website, then detailing the before-and-after statistical impact on traffic and revenue
  • Top Performers can earn more than regular employees
  • Verbal hacks: “how can we …”, “let’s look at this together”, “compensation” (instead of fee)
  • Vanessa Van Edwards, body language expert
  • Your benefits can be worth up to 1.4x your base salary (article source)
  • Use an appropriate response for different scenarios (non-profit, new job, big company, etc.)
  • There’s now a culture of “Double your rate!

“It’s not coming up with a specific number, it’s coming up with a framework for how you work with clients.” —Jim Hopkinson ← Click to Tweet

  • How Much Should I Charge, a talk at SXSW by Jim Hopkinson
  • M.Y. R.A.T.E. (Mindset, Yes or No, Research, Adjusting, Techniques (like “anchoring”), Experience/Execution
  • Value Pricing, a different way of calculating things
  • “V&A” pricing (Value + Agony)
  • 5% is considered a “big raise” on a year-by-year basis; according to Jim, 2-3% is standard (article source)
  • Special landing page for listeners of this podcast:
  •  Jim Hopkinson on Twitter
  •  Jim Hopkinson on YouTube



  • Create a website if only to take over your Google search results
  • Use your creative and design skills to make your resume/case studies/portfolio look like a sharp project
  • Work on your mindset before you even attempt to negotiate
  • Use a Past/Present/Future model to address your value for a current job
  • Use goal-setting as part of an overall negotiation
  • Continually gather praise, evidence, portfolio samples
  • Demonstrate that you’re already doing the role of someone higher
  • Make a pie chart or visual reference, especially for a before-and-after
  • Grab newspaper headlines to illustrate the landscape of your industry
  • Bring your design work back to the bottom line. Show that your work has context, not just the work itself.
  • Get the timing right — both during the week, and during the calendar year (know your company’s budget cycle and overall financial health)
  • Do not reveal your past salary!!
  • Never lie!!! (It’ll come back to haunt you)
  • Try hourly billing for new projects or loosely-defined scope
  • For a new client, start hourly and give them a “homework assignment” such as gathering logos, copy, etc.


  • Continually gather evidence of your work; numbers are best, anecdotes are useful as well.
  • Always observe the market and know what your industry is doing

Try Free for 30-Days

Visit for your free trial trial from The Busy Creator

Get Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You by Jim Hopkinson as a free audiobook
Jim Hopkinson

Get the Episode


Subscribe to Get New Episodes

Subscribe in iTunes

Subscribe to The Busy Creator Podcast on iTunes