This week we’ll bring it all together so you can find a grounded price that feels right and works well for where you and your business are at. We’re actually going to talk about reasons for charging a bit less…. that will actually help you charge more in the long run.
Understanding your Place in the Market
Assuming you roughly know what your pricing range needs to be, the final piece of pricing is the market, and where you stand in it. Who else is also trying to get paid to do roughly what you do? And where do you stand in relation to them? Here are some ways you can get the edge on your competition and strengthen your price. If you’re unsure where to put yourself in the overall price bracket for what you do, this will give you some ideas too.
How unique or special is what you’re offering?
The more you stand out, the better positioned you are to charge more. (Assuming you stand out in a way that’s valuable to other people. Read this for more on understanding the value of what you do.)
The specific thing you do may not be especially unique, but the way you do it can be. If you understand your unique pattern of strengths, you have a head start in articulating your uniqueness. Are you quicker? More innovative? Easier to get along with? The best problem solver? Do you have the best flowers and serve the best coffee (I’m all yours if so).
Often it’s a particular cocktail of things that make you special. So, you’re really fast but you’re also very kind. Maybe you do a lot of reading on philosophy in your spare time which means you’ve always got an interesting twist on things that makes you really compelling.
How easy are you to find?
Marketing. Basically, the easier you are to find, the easier it is to buy from you. The more people are buying, the stronger your position when it comes to charging a bit more. Sometimes this is as simple as telling people you’re up for doing xxx.
If you squirm at the thought of marketing, let me give you a sweet reframe. If you’d just baked a plate of chocolate brownies, would you hide them in the cupboard for fear people would feel coherced or exploited into eating them? NO! You’d be sharing them around with glee! Your work is just the same – if you’re doing something useful, you’re doing everyone a favour by letting the world know about it.
How consistent is your brand?
Here’s a shot of wisdom from Mark Silver of Heart Centred Business: the purpose of marketing isn’t to manipulate people into buying from you, it’s to make people feel safe with you so you can help them. The better you are at doing this, the stronger your price can be.
If you’re not showing up consistently, your brand is wobbly, or you’re just a new kid on the block, you can still charge for your time, but you’ll be taking a cut. People have to take more of a punt so, in addition to paying you in money, they are also “paying” you with a little bit of extra trust or risk-taking. This is fine – we all have to start somewhere – and just know that you have to adjust your money-price to account for the trust/risk-price
The Inner Game
The fact is, we all have feelings about this topic. Money all by itself is a big one. How much do I deserve? Can I trust myself with it if I get it? Will other people be jealous? And then, actually asking someone to give you money in exchange for your work can feel like a big deal all by itself.
So the 4th element to how much you charge is how you’re feeling about your price. You need to be brave, and challenge yourself to perform, and keep stretching with the price you charge. But you also don’t want to freak yourself out so much that you freeze up. You need to be confident about your price – people will pick up on it otherwise.
Look for any sense of “I CAN’T” or “that feels terrifying” or “wrong”. I’m talking about loud, intense, urgent feelings. You might also find yourself just zoning out or overwhelmed. For example, every time you sit down to think about how much you need to charge, you get a swirly feeling and can’t concentrate.
These feelings need attention! Ignore them at your peril! Write out what’s going on using your journal or, even better, find a buddy to swap time with weekly and explore what feels hard, scary, IMPOSSIBLE. Keep chipping away at this area, there will always be new challenges and you will still make progress.
(gasp!) Reasons to charge LESS
I’ve included this section because, well, sometimes you aren’t going to go for top dollar and that is the best strategy right now. This conversation isn’t actually about squeezing every penny out of every hour/client/employer. It’s about balance.
I started this series with Chitra Ramaswamy’s quote about “being supported to do what needs to be done”.
What needs to be done can include a range of things. Maybe you just need the business right now. Perhaps you want to try out a new method with a number of people and get some good testimonials and referrals. You might want to charge a bit less right now because you don’t want the pressure of performing at £1k/day. Or perhaps momentum and flow and the opportunity to learn is as valuable as actual cash.
And, let’s close the circle with this thought: “being supported” can mean a lot of different things. Remember, money is a means to an end. Its a way of getting the things you need to support yourself – so. Be open for support to come in many ways. Just be clear what you need and let it come.
Creating spaciousness around the need to have money coming in is actually really important. Stay clear what is really important right now, and make sure you’re resourced to make that happen.
The final piece: you actually know.
So here’s the last thing about this conversation. We’re so used to going into a supermarket and seeing a fixed, non-negotiable price. (You can’t haggle on Amazon, right?) Let’s not forget: Humans actually judge value subjectively – what it’s worth to you. That goes for your time, and your customer’s money. Who’s to say what each of those is actually worth? Well, the two humans involved in the transaction. You can’t actually “get it wrong”, you can just keep testing the waters and trying things out until everyone is getting what they need out of the situation. Its as simple (and sophisticated) as that.
If you take a few moments to go quiet and feel into your body, can you sense what the right price is right now? Something that’s enough to be exciting, not too much to be scary, and not too little to be disappointing? Quite often you’ll find that “your” price actually takes into account many of the “hidden” factors we’ve been talking about in this article – and if it doesn’t, you have plenty to go to work on.
Over to You
Was this helpful? Did I miss anything out? Have you got some great tips on feeling more confident about your price? What have you done that’s worked? Leave me a comment and if you loved this, pass it on to someone you know needs it.
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