Are you afraid of raising your prices? We discount out of fear. How many times have you basically said, “Well, this is what my price should be….but just pay what you want because I really want to work with you.” Or, “Here is what my price should be….but I’m going to give you a discount because I’m afraid you’ll say no.” Or, “Here is what my price should be….but who am I kidding to charge that?” Then you give and you give and you give and hope they like it. I see it time and time again – profit sacrificed for the sake of the design.
When we create, we want it to be the best because it is a reflection of who we are. We don’t consider what is best for this client’s budget, we consider what is my best (the client’s budget aside). Just one more peony here, just one more roll of film there, one more logo iteration, one more venue walk-through, just one more…just one….just one.
We discount our price, over-deliver, and then wonder “why do I feel overworked and underpaid?”
Do you feel alone in the struggle? You’re not.
For many creatives, putting a price tag on anything we’ve created is difficult for several reasons:
- Each product/service is unique and not likely to be a standardized object that society has reached consensus on how much it is worth.
- There is always fear and risk involved.
- Our creations can feel so personal, like they are a part of who we are, that it can feel impossible to put a price on it.
- Our work can feel so easy or be so enjoyable for us to do that it feels almost wrong to charge someone for it.
There comes a time in every entrepreneurial journey when a shift begins to occur. An ‘ah-ha’ of sorts when you realize that making money is the only way to sustain your craft without feeling utterly burned out, drained, and ready to hang up the dream. The lack of profit, systems, and financial freedom will eventually be the chains that stifle your creative spirit and threaten your ability to continue.
When I met floral designer Amy Osaba she was at this pivotal moment. She had just met with a financial advisor and he gave her some pretty devastating news. She was realizing that winging her pricing and spending all of her profit to make the design better was about to put her out of business. I’ll let Amy share more….
If you’re in a place where you are just keeping your head above water, here are five tips you can implement to avoid emotionally pricing your work (which usually looks like offering discounts too quickly and/or over-delivering on the design). Doing so will allow you to maintain healthier profit margins on your work.
5 Tips To Avoid Emotional Pricing:
- Get really clear on what you do and don’t do for your clients.
- Practice, practice, practice sharing this with your clients.
- Have a set number of projects per year you are willing to discount or total discounts per year. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to quit emotional pricing cold turkey and never deal with this again. Setting parameters around it will help you avoid the trap but also give you some room to offer discounts when you really do want to.
- If clients ask for a discount, instead of just agreeing, negotiate by decreasing the service or product amount they are getting. Tie a discount with a trade-off in their package. If we agree to a discounted price, we should also decrease our cost (either time or material costs).
- If asked to work for free, and it’s something you really want to do, at least ask for your material costs to be covered. You’ll be surprised how many people will say yes!
Learn how you can transform your business (and life) from surviving to thriving with Pricing For Creatives, a new digital course by business strategist and financial coach Shanna Skidmore in partnership with industry leaders Once Wed and Joy Thigpen.
If you want to learn more, Pricing For Creatives is on sale now. Purchase before February 11 and save $150 off the regular retail price.