"I don't know what I'm worth in the market."
"It's been a long time since I looked for a job. Am I too high, too low? What do you think?" I get asked this a lot by new and prospective clients.
What is your market value? It is what you say it is convincingly enough to find a buyer of your services.
Supply and Demand rule all markets. These fundamental laws of economics are the same today as when they were first conceived. You trade your labor in much the same way as selling a product.
If you categorize yourself as a commodity product that is largely the same as any one of thousands, perhaps millions, of others in the market then you are a commodity. Your bushel of corn is no different than the truck loads of corn lined up at the grain elevator. The price for your commodity services will be low and governed by a very tight range of fluctuation.
However, if you properly brand yourself as a wholly unique offering to the market then your price is what you say it is. Think of original works of art. The sum of its parts are commodities: canvas, wood, paint. But, there is only one of its kind and it moves people emotionally.
Increase your value. Don't be a commodity. Be a precious work of art.