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.
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
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Images courtesy of Kathleen Frank’s video for PostFilm’s Highlight Reel
The Hardest Part Of All:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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