DUN DUN DUNNN — the dreaded question!
… And one I’m asked all the dang time by my coaching clients, especially in my group incubator The THUNDER Collective, where participants are constantly testing and selling new offers.
And it’s no wonder, right?
Pricing is arguably the greatest (and sometimes most painful) personal growth practice the business space offers us.
Even for industry veterans, placing a dollar figure on an offer or idea can bring up every speck of self-doubt we have — because we’re asking people to give us money for our skills, and the work we love to do.
Enter: The Temptation to Underprice
What if our customers don’t like it?
What if it doesn’t work?
What if it’s not worth what we want to charge, actually???
It can be scary stuff!
This is also why, I suspect, so many entrepreneurs, especially creative ones, and especially especially women, tend to underprice ourselves.
Because sometimes, charging low feels like the safest choice (even if it’s going to drive us utterly bananas with resentment later).
Surely if folks haven’t spent a ton of cash, they can’t possibly get upset with us if something goes wrong, get angry they didn’t “get the value”, or say mean things about us on social media.
Well… sadly no.
You Deserve to Get Paid Well
No matter how hard you try to create an awesome experience, deliver value, and make fulfillment seamless, if someone wants to complain, they’re gonna… whether they spend $50 or $50,000.
In that case, we might as well get you fairly compensated for your effort, yeah?
So today, I’m gonna walk you through a few questions I always ask my clients — designed to help you actually approach pricing yourself fairly and strategically.
You ready? Here we go:
How to Make Sure You’re Compensated Fairly – Questions to Ask
At this initial stage, your job is mostly to quiet the noise, and think clearly.
While we can’t anticipate every reaction prospects will have, our aim is to help you land on a price that feels great, helps you achieve your financial goals, and serves as a fair exchange for your efforts.
The first question I encourage my clients to ask themselves is this:
“How much do you want to make? How much more would feel fantastic to bring in every month or every quarter?”
There’s usually a bit of the ol’ silence after that.
It feels like such an obvious initial step, but so many folks forget to start here.
(Mostly because we’re so anxious about asking people to give us money, we forget what that money can mean.
BUT! Having a feel-good goal in mind is the north star that’s gonna make this whoooole thing a lot easier.)
What will this money do for you?
So consider: how much more a month do you need or want? And what would the purpose be for that money?
Would it help you reach that sacred $10k-$20k/mo in revenue?
Or allow you to feel more financially secure?
Or give you a leg up to save aggressively for a larger goal?
Or pay for school for the kiddos, or cover a mortgage, or let you take that really fab vacation you’ve been eyeing?
Then, when you’ve got that monthly/quarterly number in your head, I’ve got another question:
What is your ideal client or customer load?
“How many clients do you want to work with, or customers do you want to close each month or quarter, to reach that number?”
This one is ESPECIALLY important for memberships.
Because I know everyone’s only trying to charge $50/month for that monthly thing they’re gonna pour their heart, soul, and time into in the name of “easier income”…
… But we so often forget that kind of price point is a) a volume game, and b) often meant as a springboard into a larger offer.
If you don’t have a sizable audience or any plans in mind to reduce churn, or you don’t have that larger-offer ecosystem set up, you’re heading for a LOT of additional work for not-so-much-money a month.
And that kind of structure tends to go south quickly.
If you’re in this space, go back to the first question again.
How much do you want to make, AND is the tiny membership price point in your head gonna get you there?
If not… rethink those plans.
Thinking Like an Architect Will Help with Pricing Your Offer
Another spot most folks get stuck is in pricing strategic offers.
Especially if you’ve been in the execution sector of your field for years (copywriters, designers, and VA’s, I’m looking at you!), it’s easy to underprice yourself for strategy because you’re not “technically” doing the thing.
As a result? It’s very easy to over-fill your strategic client roster to try and make your numbers, and burn out quickly as a result… which isn’t great for you, OR your clients. (More on this in a second!)
If you struggle with pricing for strategy packages, consider this reframe: it’s like the difference between being the architect and being the construction crew.
No one gets mad the architect isn’t there swinging a hammer. Their whole job is to do the strategic and mathematical thinking that would give those doing the building a clear process to follow to get the final result.
Both are wildly valuable. And, both deserve to be fairly compensated for their labor.
Which brings me to my the final question I ask my clients…
Is this a fair price for your labor?
“With these things in mind, does the number you’ve landed on feel like a fair energetic exchange for your labor?”
Honestly I’m not really one of those ~money is just energy, mannnn~ folks, but it IS important to think about whether the amount of work you’ll be doing will align with how much you’ll be paid.
To go back to the membership example again, let’s say you’re set on $50/mo… but you’ll be doing weekly calls, answering questions, running a monthly workshop, and creating piles of templates and extra content for your members.
If, realistically, you can anticipate 10-20 members for the first 6 months at least… does an additional $500/$1000/mo align with the amount of effort you’ll be putting in?
Weigh Opportunity Costs Before Deciding on a Pricing Strategy
Similarly, let’s say you’re a copywriter planning a strategy package you’ve set at $1,500 (a fraction of your web copy package because you’re not doing the thing)… but the strategy package has a similar number of calls to a copy package, and you plan on putting a 20-page overview doc together that’ll take you about a month…
And let’s say this strategy package prevents you from picking up copy contracts at the same time, because of how much effort it takes…
AND! Let’s say you want to bring in an additional $5k/mo, but could reasonably only do two strategy clients at a clip with your current offer structure…
Is that still a reasonable price point for your strategic labor?
You tell me. ;)
Test and Evaluate To Overcome Doubts
And yes, of course you should also consider what price point you feel your market will bear, but that’s often a mirage in some ways.
What your self-doubt-y brain THINKS your target will refuse to pay doesn’t always line up with the reality of what they’re ready to spend on the problem you’re solving for them.
So don’t be afraid to test, test, test.
But above all in your approach to pricing, I urge you to give yourself g-r-a-c-e.
Earlier in this email I called pricing a personal development practice, and it is just that — a practice.
No one nails it perfectly right out of the gate.
Asking yourself these questions doesn’t mean suddenly all your self doubt stuff will be healed, and you’ll confidently say the words “This package costs $25,000” at clients who can’t wait to sign on the dotted line every single time, without fail.
Sometimes, you’re gonna decide on a big number and realize it’s STILL not enough.
Other times, you’re gonna realize there’s a disconnect between the audience you’re speaking to and the investment level they’re ready for.
Other times still, you’re gonna speak that scary price tag on sales calls, and watch as a string of yes’s flow in… and you’ll slap your own forehead and think “Why did I wait so long to do this?!”
That’s just the way it goes. And that’s alright.
Bottom Line: Price with Intention and Purpose
What’s most important is that you price yourself from a place of intention and purpose… instead of fear and doubt.
So here’s to the practice.
Here’s to money making.
And here’s to all the possibilities pricing yourself smartly can open up.
Take your time. Trust yourself to know what the right call for you is. <3
And go get ‘em out there,
If you’re curious about my group incubator The THUNDER Collective, Season 4 is just coming to a close! Enrollment for Season 5 is coming soon. Just follow this link and enter your deets at the top of the page to hop on the “I can’t wait to hear more about it” list.
For the uninitiated: THUNDER is a 6-month experience alongside me and 15 other creative biz owners on the same path, all about helping you build major momentum for your business… without needing to parse through another curriculum, course, or program.
Because for real –you’ve already got more information than you can shake a stick at, right? But you’re still not moving forward the way you want.
So I’ve built an agile, come-as-you-are container that includes all the stuff you actually need (like dedicated weekly co-working, goal setting and tracking, feedback hot seats every other week with office hours in between, 1-1’s with me, brain coaching for those tough mindset moments, and more).
It’s been running for 4 seasons now, and we’ve already got folks signing up to receive “next round” details…
Why do folks love it so much?
Because THUNDER is, above all, a space entirely dedicated to helping you do the thing; like finally:
- selling that well-priced offer
- getting out there more with your content
- updating your website and brand
- taking more daring swings to build your thought leadership platform — like selling that course, running that workshop, and putting yourself on those podcasts
- AND MORE.
Sound like something you might need?
If you’re curious, you can check out the sales page from Season 4 and get on the waitlist here.
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash