Setting your prices when you’re self-employed can feel confusing. You don’t want to undercharge and feel you’re doing yourself a disservice; you don’t want to overcharge and price yourself out of the market or alienate prospective clients.
But let’s say you’ve gone through the process of setting your prices and landed on a number that feels good to you; it’s resonant, fair, healthy and you feel confident it’d allow you to run your business profitably.
What happens if someone then disputes your price, turns away horrified or asks for a discount?
Last year, I led a class about how to set good, solid, healthy prices and not drop them which you can access for free here and I’ve written lots on this topic, but I haven’t before mentioned the missing ingredient for so many self-employed people.
When setting your prices, there’s one ingredient that makes the world of difference
To make this ingredient clear, let’s take you behind the scenes with a conversation that happened in the private members-only Facebook group of one of my courses (shared anonymously, and with permission.)
One of our community posted this:
“I’m having a wobble about pricing and need some advice please. I did an estimate for one of the possible commissions I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I used resonant pricing; it seemed a bit high but I decided to go with it.
I got an email back today asking if I could knock £500 off the price.
I always find estimates tricky because I often don’t know how complicated and time-consuming the work is going to be. I’d feel quite resentful knocking £500 off the price but then I know there are those out there who will work for much less than that.
Part of me feels greedy and is saying “Who do you think you are asking for that amount?”
Another part of me is thinking that none of this is worth doing if I can’t earn a living, I should just try to get a full time job.
So, I’m not sure how to respond to the email. I could reduce the price a bit but, if I’m completely honest, it’s all leaving a bad taste in my mouth and it doesn’t feel like an ideal way to start a job.”
This might sound all too familiar to you, right?
Immediate support, immediate wisdom
She’d posted this on our Facebook group with 100+ members. Firstly, she received a reply from one of our community who’d taken the course before. (This is such a rich aspect of our online community – that people who’ve taken the steps before are now available to share their wisdom and experiences with those who are newer.)
“I’ve recently turned down some work because they didn’t want to pay full price, and some other prospective clients because they weren’t the right fit. In the past, this would have freaked me right out! You know what has happened? Today, I just took 3 bookings for my highest priced service. Taking that much money in one day didn’t used to happen. To put it in context: at a push, I could live on that money for a month.
I made space for these bookings by committing to my work. I don’t know your product but I believe in resonant pricing and by the sounds of it you do too. Working while resentful is too painful for us, especially when we love what we do.”
The participant who’d posted the original query replied:
“Thanks, I’m feeling stronger already. Glad things are going well for you – very inspiring!”
Then another participant offered their perspective.
“Stick to your price, you know it’s fair. Their idea of ‘value’ will be enhanced, in my experience. Don’t give reasons or try to justify your price; give a simple polite ‘the price is as it is’ and hold a picture in your head as you do it of a long list of eager clients – so you hold your resolve!”
Another joined in.
“So glad to hear you’re feeling stronger about this; sounds like your resonant pricing is spot on, and maybe this client is just not the right fit for you. Your passion and skill deserve to be well compensated …. and they will be. Let us know how you get on – we’re all rooting for you!”
And then a flurry more:
“Keep up the excellent work.”
“If you do come down in price you will resent it and then not enjoy the work at all – and that’s the thing that will make you feel down rather than feeling happy with your price and the work for the client and enjoying it.”
“Stick to your prices! The people who are not willing to pay your prices are not your ideal clients.”
“I’ve found that people who pay full price tend to give better feedback and are happier with my sessions than those who have asked for and got a lower price.”
“Stick to your price; your work can only be created by you…it is priceless! Good luck.”
The missing ingredient when setting your prices
From this thread, you’re likely seeing the power of community when it comes to the decisions we make in self-employment. Without office colleagues to ask questions of and bounce ideas around with, in self-employment we benefit so much from finding our own loving, insightful community – like-minded friends who can surround us and share their wisdom and practical experience, as well as moral support.
It’s not just a feel-good thing; it can actually make the difference between earning a healthy living doing the work we love… and not.
Here’s what happened next
Feeling supported and like her self-employed friends had her back, our participant responded to the prospective client and held firm on her price.
She later posted on the Facebook group:
“Just heard I got the job! They went to see a mutual friend who I’ve done quite a bit of work for and apparently she told them I’m worth my weight in gold. I love resonant pricing!!! I’m now feeling really enthusiastic about the project and know I’m going to enjoy it because I’m starting out feeling valued. Thanks for all your support.”
This was followed by a stream of “well done”, “fantastic!”, “congrats on your courage and the commission” and “thank you for sharing – we all need this reassurance”.
No matter where you are on your self-employment journey, if you have wobbles with pricing – or any other aspect of running your business – the power of loving, supportive community may be the missing ingredient. Find as many ways as you can to give it to yourself.
Over to you
And if you aren’t yet supported in this way, join Blog for Clients this June. It’s the final time this popular 6-week course will run so you’ll get access to the step-by-step How To materials for life, plus you’ll have access to our loving online Facebook community indefinitely. Get front of the queue here.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes 2015
You’ve set your price. They’ve said it’s too expensive. @CorrinaGB shares what one self-employed woman did