Pricing is something that we all hate to talk about. I say “we” because I used to be the same way. But it’s time to stop looking at money like a dreaded monster—instead, we should learn how to “make friends” with money and use it as a powerful ally to succeed in our business. The five tips below will help you appropriately price your services or products and make money in your business.
1. BE CONFIDENT
The first key to pricing? You have to start being confident about you, your services, and your products. You need to sell yourself to you first before you’re ready to sell to your client.
I know, this is very difficult because many of us have that little voice that always tries to sabotage our best intentions: “Maybe it’s not the best product,” “Maybe I don’t have enough experience to take on this project,” “Maybe this is not the right client for my offer,” “Maybe this client won’t like what I sell”. And so, what do we do? We charge less, we give discounts, and we give away services and products for free in the hopes of getting that client.
But if we do get the client, then what happens? Because of these low prices and freebies, we now need even more clients to pay our bills. And this means more pressure, more stress, less time available for yourself, and less time available for your clients.
So, work on your sales pitch and be confident about what you sell. Be so excited about what you have to offer that your client will say “YES! I want to work with you!” Once you bring your confidence back to life, you will be able to raise your prices because you know your clients will follow you. And don’t be scared about losing clients when you raise your prices: you will probably lose some (it’s inevitable), but those are the clients you don’t need anyway. They’re only looking for a deal, but the right clients will recognize that you offer tons of value. That means that you’ll end up making pretty much the same amount you were making before, but working fewer hours to do it.
2. TRACK YOUR TIME
You have no idea how many people don’t track their time when they work—and as a result, they don’t know how many hours they really work on a project. This is one of the main problems I see with my coaching clients. They just charge their clients by guessing the number of hours they will be working with them. That means they end up making the huge mistake of undercharging for their services or products. They don’t take into consideration a lot of details like phone calls, emails, research, packaging, and so on—and that’s precious time!
Instead of losing money by guessing your hours, use an app or system to track your time. You can simply Google “time tracker” to find some suggestions and then download your app of choice on your phone.
3. TRACK YOUR FINANCES
As creative entrepreneurs, we’re driven by our passion, but passion won’t pay our bills. What fuels our business is our income, and we need to take care of the business side.
One way to keep your business on track is to hire a bookkeeper, but if you can’t afford one yet, you have to take care of this yourself. The key is to make sure you closely track your income and expenses, especially if you’re subject to high and low seasons. You can’t set the right prices if you don’t know what your income needs to cover.
In addition, tracking your finances will help you figure out if pricing is really the problem. Some of my clients think they need help with their pricing structure because their finances are in bad shape, but the issue is really their spending and expenses. It doesn’t really matter if you charge your clients appropriately if you’re not managing your that income wisely.
4. TALK ABOUT MONEY
Really, let’s talk about it! Don’t be ashamed to discuss your prices with fellow professionals, and don’t hide your prices because you’re afraid someone else in your industry will steal your numbers. That makes no sense! You don’t own those numbers, you simply use them to put a value on your products or services. Wouldn’t it be better if there were transparency about the fees that we all charge? Wouldn’t it help the entire community?
That’s because the lower you go with your prices, the less your clients will expect to pay. And you may lower the standards of your industry to a point of no return. That will haunt not only your colleagues but also you in the long run.
Remember, there’s no competition here—there’s just a community of thriving artists and professionals who want to succeed. There’s enough business out there for everyone. I strongly believe in collaboration, and when you join forces and become more transparent with each other, you will thrive and succeed together.
5. ADD INCOME STREAMS
A new pricing structure won’t immediately transform your finances. Luckily, having multiple sources of income can definitely take some of the pressure off from your pricing issues. Depending on your specialty, you can think about adding services and products to your business to reach a wider or different audience during slower months. I’m talking about things such as:
- Classes and workshops for clients and/or fellow professionals
- Webinars or online courses
- Portrait sessions for wedding photographers (one of my coaching clients recently added a newborn and pet division)
- A Facebook group where you can grow a community and market special offers
Think about your strengths and be creative to find new income streams that work for you.