Monthly Archives: March 2014

Pricing Yourself: You Are So Worth It | Elizabeth Atkins

You are so worth it.

That’s what this is all about. You are so worth every penny you charge. You are so worth having great clients, a great business, a great portfolio. You are so worth it.

Owning your own business isn’t easy, especially in a competitive and saturated market. There are good days, and there are awful days. More often than not what we struggle with the most is value, worth, and somehow pricing ourselves to make it all come together. Our biggest challenge is seeing our own worth as it relates to clients and perspective clients.  Some feel guilty about how much things cost, while others struggle with undercharging and feeling under appreciated. Even more feel like they’re competing with businesses that are far less expensive than they are. Pricing yourself can be the pits.

Pricing is one of the most difficult business topics on the entire planet. There’s no shortage of information, calculators, and guides dedicated to teaching you how to price yourself. Sadly, what gets overlooked in these guides is HOW you’re going to start charging to be sustainable. How do you communicate the value and worth of your services to potential customers? Pricing isn’t just a number, like most guides will have you believe. Pricing is a part of your marketing voice, and ultimately your branding. If you charge $XXXX a shoot, and never give anyone a real reason why, (with value that is relevant to them and their needs), they’re a lot more likely to compare you to a competitor based only on price. I’m simplifying, but really; people are a lot less likely to walk away if they feel they are getting something very valuable for the price you’re giving them. It doesn’t matter if that value is actual or perceived. It just has to make sense so that the person can wrap their heads around a number and understand why it is the way it is.

You have to back up, back track, and think like your target demographic. What do they want? Why do they come to you? And if you’re struggling with that question, you need to go back even further and ask why people hire you, what are you offering, what can you capitalize on? You can say you’re $1,000, or $3,000 or $5,000, but pricing yourself doesn’t matter if your client doesn’t understand why you are the way you are. How many times have you set your prices and delivered them to an inquiry only to hear nothing back? Or worse, hear that you’re too expensive? The frustration builds as you feel like you’re doing something wrong. You waffle, feeling like you should just lower your prices or have a flash sale.

Stop. You are so worth it.

you're worth it2
Images courtesy of Kathleen Frank’s video for PostFilm’s Highlight Reel 

If you’re struggling with pricing and completely lost on why you’re not booked solid, now is a perfect time to pause and start evaluating. Grab a piece of paper, and follow the next few steps to help back track from where you are now.

How to Assign Value to Your Prices

The Basics:

  1. Start with the price list you deliver your potential clients.
    First and foremost, make sure your prices are sustainable for your goals. We all have different goals, and therefore, different prices. Take a good look at it. Does it help you meet your goals? If the answer is no, it’s time to tweak your prices until they make sense as a business first. 
  2. Is your price list easy to understand? 
    We don’t want customers to base their decisions entirely on what your services cost, but we do want to make it really easy for them to understand what you’re offering and what you’re charging. Simplify it as much as you can. Make sure there aren’t too many options. Take your most inquired about items and make them your main focus. Don’t worry about all the little extras, just let your clients know they can create add-ons if they want to.

The Hard Part: 

  1. Discourage price comparison
    When a customer looks at your prices you don’t want them comparing you to anyone else. So how do you stop them from doing that? By knowing your client and tailoring a message specifically for them. Pricing yourself is no different than marketing yourself. Price is just a number attached to the services and experience you’re going to offer your client. If you know your ideal client very well, (who they are, what they do, what kind of people they are), you’re going to be far more successful offering them something they’ll likely need. 
  2. Create your own marketing message
    Don’t deliver pricing without a marketing message. If you’ve taken the steps to get to know your target audience and understand them, now’s the time to shine with a great message. Tell them why you’re valuable, and help them emotionally and mentally connect to you. Delivering pricing is a great opportunity to help them understand all the wonderful things you’re going to do for them. If you craft a successful message, the price becomes secondary. 
  3. Take every opportunity to communicate your value
    If someone asks you in an email, “How much are you?” don’t be afraid to answer their question. Instead, take this as the perfect opportunity to tell them all the reasons why you are the right choice for them, and then deliver either a starting range of services, or a nicely designed price sheet with a marketing message attached. Show them more of your beautiful work. Include short testimonials. Always encourage them to connect with you. Offer to call them, Skype with them, or Google Hangout with them. Let them know you’re interested in explaining your pricing further, and hearing about them.
  4. Don’t just deliver pricing
    If you’re shelling out price lists without creating a marketing message and communicating your value it’s a lot tougher to get your clients to see you’re worth whatever price you’re charging. Don’t hide what you cost, but don’t expect a client to instantly emotionally connect with a price sheet either.
you're worth it3
Images courtesy of Kathleen Frank’s video for PostFilm’s Highlight Reel 

The Hardest Part Of All: 

  1. Finding your worth
    Finding your worth takes a combination of experience, time, and a lot of experimenting. If you’re brand new at running a business, it’s really easy to get discouraged. Don’t give up. It takes a lot of time, effort, and mistakes to find your business path.
  2. Creating your marketing message
    Creating a marketing message isn’t easy for everyone. It takes research, and knowing who your clients are. If you’re struggling to create a good marketing message, don’t get discouraged. Start at the basics, poll your past clients, start seeing your business from the outside in. If you’re really struggling with the business basics, sit down and make a plan about what’s bothering you. Make a list of questions, then start from there. Putting pen to paper is more powerful than you think.
  3. Re-assess your visual branding and marketing
    Make sure your words, visuals and your marketing match your business model. If your words say Fancy Feast, but your website and your branding look like Meow Mix, you’re not going to get very far very fast. But, keep in mind, branding is a once in a business lifetime thing, and not the same as graphic design. If you’re struggling with whether you’re ready for branding or not, here’s a great article on what branding is: Free Branding 101 Guide

Also, big shout out to the amazing and extremely talented Kathleen Frank Photography for providing me with awesome images for this post from her hard work on PostFilm’s Highlight Reel! She is one talented mama, and I am singing her praises.


Giving Back | Tony Hoffer

Kenya eduKenya

The prime ages for wanting to change the world are right around 18-25. You’re old enough to do something, but young enough to think it’s possible. For me, I was also too young to know that I had weaknesses. I think I always just pictured that someday I’d be famous enough to make a big speech about all the injustices I cared about and they’d go away. Then I turned 26. Then 27. Then 30.

Somewhere along the road I realized that aside from not having the skills to do the things I’d always thought I would, I mostly lacked the commitment. I was certainly committed to other things in my life, I just wasn’t committed to anything that didn’t benefit myself.

Somewhere around my 30th birthday, I came to a realization: I needed to stop waiting for myself to figure everything out. For all the gifts and skills I lacked, I had developed a few good ones too. That’s when I realized that no one that does great things figures it out first. They’ve just figured out how to go do something.

So instead of trying to get noticed, I just tried to get moving. Amy and I bought tickets to Kenya. We spent 2 weeks taking photos for an organization (eduKenya) that we’re passionate about. We spent a TON of money to do it. We got sick. We were uncomfortable. Sure, we made a few friends and we learned a few new things, but mostly we just worked. That’s the best we could do.

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When we got back, everybody asked us how the trip was. I think they all expected elation, but the truth was… It was really hard.

Since returning from Kenya 2 years ago, I’ve changed in subtle ways. I’ve started to realize how small the world is. Mostly, I’ve started to realize that if I really want to see things change then I better do something before I ask anyone else to. There’s a lot of people that will tell you everything that bothers them, but not enough that just put their head down and do something about it. For me, that’s meant a few things:

  1. I need to get used to the idea that I won’t keep a lot of the money I make.
  2. I have to make time and sacrifices to make things happen without any potential rewards.
  3. I need to learn that it’s ok if things don’t work out.

In the last two years I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my skills are and how I can use them. At first that started as a print sale with our business. Then it turned into a Christmas gift and print sale. Then I started doing a bit of design work for eduKenya. Then I started The Giving Gallery.

The Giving Gallery

The Giving Gallery is a way for photographers to donate an image that they love and for people to buy prints of that image at a good price. All of the money that’s made from sales (about 50%) goes directly to our friends at eduKenya. We do all the admin work ourselves and pay for all the little things involved.

I’d love to sit here and tell you that we’ve donated millions of dollars and that The Giving Gallery is a modern day success story. The truth is that we’ve done OK. It’s been a lot of work and a lot of time trying to get people to donate or to buy. Ultimately, it might be a huge success or just fade away. Either way I’m fine. It’s not that I’ve given up on trying to change the world. Quite the opposite! It’s that I’m learning that the joy comes from both the process and the results. If I truly want to change the world, then I need to be satisfied with just being part of the process without getting credit for the results. I think I’m getting there.


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