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How To Charge What You’re Worth

By June 9, 2015Branding, Business
How to charge what you're worth cover image.

Before I jump into this post, I want to ask you a question. Think about a time (recently) you had a really amazing purchasing experience? What a purchasing experience? When you did something that involved spending money. Did you go to dinner at some new restaurant and have the most amazing dinner ever? Did you go see the most amazing movie you’ve ever seen? Did you just come back from a vacation that you’ll never forget? Those are purchasing experiences where you had to spend money, but the value you received in return was so worth it. Were you concerned with the price? Maybe a little, but you know it was worth it, and you’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Keep this memory in mind as we continue on through this post, and then I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. What was your experience, what made it so great, and how worth it was it to you?

Ok, on to the post!

When you’re really good at something and you absolutely love doing it, it’s only natural to want to turn it into your profession, hence why you became an entrepreneur in the first place! But – often, for passion-focused businesses, we often feel afraid, or unworthy to charge for the products or services we provide when it’s something that we already love doing in the first place. This is particularly true for artists or service based businesses.

This is because when we love what we do and we do what we love, working doesn’t always feels like work.

CHARGE WHAT YOU’RE WORTH

How to price the value you provide through your products and services and still get your client’s to say you’re worth it.

We as entrepreneurs need to shift our perspectives – instead of thinking as the service provider, think as the service recipient. Pretend we are our own clients for a moment and think about what it is that we are buying. How much value does it provide to me. What is that value worth? What am I willing to do and pay in order to receive this value?

UNDERSTAND THE WANTS v.s THE NEEDS OF OUR CLIENTS

Anything that provides pleasure or joy to others is valuable. Whether it’s art, food, music, or anywhere in between, if what you’re passionate about provides joy in the lives of the people you work with, then your passion provides value.

But understanding what that value is worth for your clients is where the clarity in your pricing will come from. Are you fulfilling a want or a need? And what is that solution worth?

Do you provide a product or service that comes from a place of need? I’m talking about something critical to the health, and well being of an individual? This could be food, transportation, medicine, etc…

Or do you provide a product or service that comes from a place of want? Something not necessary for survival, but it’s necessary for the soul?

When we talking about making purchases we’ll often say, “I NEED to buy this”. Looking at our own products and services, do people really need to buy it? What is it that they are ACTUALLY buying from you? An item, or an experience?

EXAMPLE:

When I was going to purchase my new computer for my business, I knew that I NEEDED a Mac. There was no other option in my mind for the brand of computer I was going to buy. I am a Mac girl through and through. I still have my original iPod from way back when.

While other PC computers are perfectly capable of handling the requirements I have for my technical needs, I NEEDED a Mac.

Did I really NEED a Mac? Honestly, no. I WANTED a Mac. I could have done just fine with any other laptop and I probably would have saved a lot of money, but to me, the Mac was what I needed and I was willing to pay more for it. The simplicity of the Apple programs, user-friendly experience, completely connected applications to all the Apple products and the quality that comes with the Apple brand is worth it to me. So while another computer could have filled the most basic needs for my business, to me the Mac was worth it.

We make purchases like this all the time. It’s a combo of both WANT and NEED, and knowing what that combo is worth to our clients. Then knowing how much value we bring to solving that need and what that value is worth.

So how do we build up our want-need value in our brands? By amplifying our brand’s experience.

 


AMPLIFY YOUR BRAND’S EXPERIENCE

Your brand needs to be seen, felt, touched and heard.

Life is all about the experience. Our brands need to create an incredible unique experience that is seen, touched, felt and heard, making that lasting impression that helps provide the clarity in the value we offer. We can give them something that they can’t get anywhere else.

Through our products and services, we are actually providing someone with an opportunity for a treasured experience. No matter how mundane we might think the product to be, focusing on the experience it provides for the use will help provide clarity in it’s value.

EXAMPLE:

For those of you who know me personally, know that I LOVE cooking. Pasta is my current obsession right now and I am in love with my amazing pasta maker I bought off Amazon. If you’ve ever looked up the giant variety of pasta rollers there you’ll know that they range in prices from $20.00 – $200.00.

I love hosting parties and bringing people together and a great way to do that is through food. So I wanted to buy the pasta maker that has all the fancy hookups so that everyone could customize their own pasta when we had our pasta night parties.  Does the machine make the pasta taste any better because of the price of the machine? No, that all has to do with the ingredients, but the custom options make for an amazing experience had by all, and even though it might take about an hour and a half to eat dinner, the experience is totally worth it.

 


WHY WE NEED TO CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

In most situations, people get more value out of something they pay money for vs. something they receive for free. By making a financial investment into something, the buyer naturally becomes more personally invested into the purchase, invested into the overall experience, and invested in getting the most from their financial investment. So by charging for the products and services we provide, we are actually helping the buyer receive more value in return.

EXAMPLE:

I know all you bloggers and online businesses will be able to identify with this one. Remember back when we were first getting started and we kept hearing about “self hosted” and “free hosted” sites? Free always sounded great and all but I knew I wanted to have the accountability that came from self hosting my own site and investing financially in the success of my brand. Knowing that my hard earned cash, especially when my cash income was still low, was going toward my website, I was way more committed to investing time, energy, and more income into making it successful.

If I had opted in for the free-hosted site options, I would most likely not have committed so much time and energy up front and my likelihood of being where I am today is less likely.

I am not saying that free-hosted sites are any less amazing, it all depends on the individual, but for me, making that financial investment, I was so much more committed to a successful outcome.

Of course, we all love free stuff too. If you asked someone whether they wanted your product for free or to pay for it, most likely they are going to want it for free. But if we continue to offer our products and services for free, this is only teaching our clients, and our community, to expect this from us. Then, later down the line, when we decide to now charge for our work, people are going to expect a whole lot more from us since they are now paying for something they always used to get for free.

But what about those times when we don’t want to charge? Or we’re not ready to charge yet?

 


BRANDING OUR SALES TERMINOLOGY

In the beginning, charging for our products and services can be really uncomfortable, but this is the most crucial time for our brands development. The decisions we make early on will be guides to how our brands will be received by our audiences later down the line.

If you don’t know what the dollar amount of your value is worth just yet, don’t let that ruin the future of your prices. Pay attention to the terminology you use when offering your services, especially if you’re choosing to offer them for free.

Instead of using the word “free” or “sale” or “discount”, choose words that keep the pricing and value power in your court like “gift” “offer” or “bonus”. Those words describe actionable rewards from the seller vs. un-actionable efforts from the seller. Telling someone you are going to give them something as a gift because of _______ (fill in your reason here) this makes the receiver feel that much more special and chances are they will value your product/service/time so much more because of it.

This choice terminology also lets people know that these “bonuses” are not a permanent factor in how you run your brand. This is a limited time bonus that won’t last and might never come back again. These makes for a sense of urgency on the receiver’s side to be sure and take advantage of this amazing gift and holds them accountable for when they miss out on it.

If you are just getting started and looking for people to test your products and services out to, let them know why they are receiving this incredible gift from you and what you expect in return.

EXAMPLE:

You have a product or service that a friend or family member could totally benefit from and you want to give it to them for free, but in return you want to use them as a case study for future clients, or get a testimonial to use for your product/service, or even have them help promote your new business and get your name out there.

There can be lots of reasons why you give away your value for fee when it comes to financial value, but always have a reason.

 


 

“CHARGE WHAT YOU’RE WORTH” THE WORKBOOK

Charge What You're Worth Workbook by ©Julie Harris Design 2016Need a little more help in defining and pricing out your brand’s value? I’ve created a personal pricing workbook, here to help clarify all our small business and personal expenses as we develop our creative process and pricing for our various products and services. By understanding the different elements that factor into our brand’s pricing strategy, we can focus on creating an engaging and personal purchasing experience for our clients and provide more value through our products and services.

This 40 page workbook includes research chapters, worksheets, charts, spreadsheets, stat trackers, audience profile questionnaires and extra resources to help empower your professional workflow and pricing confidence. At $10.00, this workbooks is seriously a steal! Raise your rates, and clarify the value in your brand today and still get your clients to say, “you’re worth it!”.

Communication is only successful when the receiving party understands your content exactly the way you meant it to be understood. So by exploring what other factors influence your ideal clients’ purchasing habits, we’ll have a greater clarity on how to best position your sales. Learn more about the workbook HERE.


 

We are our brand. We need to treat our brands the way we would want to be treated. We teach others how to treat and respect our brands by how we treat and respect our brands. And this includes how we price our value.

Remember that memory I mentioned above? How can you apply elements of what you loved so much about that memory into your own brand experience? How can this added value in your brand experience raise the worth of your products and services?

Please share with me your thoughts in the comments below.

And of course, if you know anyone else who could benefit from this post, please share it and help spread the word!

Here’s to charging what you’re worth! (trust me, you’re worth it) 

Sincerely,

Julie & Steve signature.

SO, HOW CAN WE HELP YOU BUILD YOUR BRAND?


PHOTO CREDIT: © Dollar Photo Club

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23 Comments

  • Veronica says:

    Love this, just what I need!
    I WANTED a Mac too, and I really struggle with pricing my stuff, which varies from design services to actual paintings and art. I recently asked some people to look over my Etsy shop (because I’m not getting any sales) to see if I’m doing anything wrong. What I got back was: “You’re not getting sales because your paintings are priced too high”. Well too bad, because it took about 30+ hours to do one painting, what should I charge for that? $100 for a week worth of work, no I charge about $700-$900. Seems fair to me, but it still really bugs me that people just don’t get it. Oh well, rant over. Thanks for listening.

    • Julie Harris says:

      Thank you so much Veronica for taking the time to read my post. I am so glad you found it so helpful. I feel like the “pricing” conversation is often glossed over and not given enough credit in the world of branding and entrepreneurship. While we don’t necessarily start a business to make money, we need money to stay in business. It’s a simple truth. As an artist (or really any type of entrepreneur) our work is like our child. We take how other’s receive it very personally. Especially painting, where you had to devote so much time and energy into a piece, pricing can be really scary. My advice to you (having not seen your art myself) is to really identify who you are marketing your art to? Who are your ideal art buyers? Are the people who checked your Etsy shop art lovers? Or more specifically, your type of art lover? It all comes down to value. What is your art worth to your ideal client. Not only how much you charge based on time and resources, but the emotional value that I will gain by having your art in my home. If I don’t value art than your prices will always be too high. But if I value, understand, and appreciate art, than I’ll understand what your work is worth. I recognize the time, skills, and resources it took to make and that will be worth something to me (your client). Ranting is completely acceptable. It helps clear our heads and get out the stress and frustration we might feel so we can make room for progress. My advice to you (and this is without having looked at your shop) is maybe, Etsy isn’t the right place for your work. Are the individuals who shop for your type of work the kind of people who will turn to Etsy to find it? Understanding where and how your target audience seeks out their art will be key for your sales. Then being really clear about how and where you present your art so they understand the time, energy, skills, and value that went into each piece. I wish you the best of luck!

  • Sadaf F K. says:

    Must recommended post! The details you put up there is enough for one to go through pricing dilemma. I myself is going through this process for setting up my mini design studio. I’m sure this words will help me out to focus on the line which I really should. Also what you would say regarding setting up prices to the one who has no portfolio in hand?

    • Julie Harris says:

      Sadaf! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this post. Pricing is a crucial part of our brand’s development process and setting your self up for growth as a new designer is key. Since you don’t currently have a portfolio to showcase your work, sometimes sharing examples of mock-ups you’ve done or personal examples is a great way to promote some of your skills, even if it’s just for your own brand. When starting out, reach out to other professionals or friends/family whose businesses you can collaborate with and maybe use them as a case study for your portfolio. This will help give them some excellent new design services while allowing you to grow your portfolio, hone your creative process, and really get an idea of how long and how much energy/time you need to invest into each project. While I never recommend guessing, understanding what your costs are (materials, time investment, delivery, client review, etc…)and what your experience is worth NOW (in the beginning) v.s. what it will be later, is a great way to begin to develop your prices. Once you have a set deadline for experience and growth, you can revisit your prices and be able to raise them or at least adjust them so that the better reflect the value you’re able to offer. I hope that helps at least a little bit as you work on your own pricing.

  • Sheila says:

    Love this one. Totally agree with you on “branding our sales twerminogy”. In fact, I started my work day with a special social media consultation session with a food blogger friend. She was thrilled to know that I am booking her free of monetary charge for the consultation and 4 1-hour coaching sessions starting next week.

    I told her I find giving this offer neccesary because I need to gather feedback & input, & I also need to see for myself how much time and effort my services would cost me. All so that I can come up with a pricing plan that is fair to me and while I give my future clients efficient and top quality service.

    This “special offer ” phase is really important for someone like me who is quite uncomfortable blurting out figures. Many times in the past I felt bad, cheated even, and remorseful for not standing up to how much my services had been worth.

    I am glad to have read this article, Julie. I have learned lots. 🙂

    • Julie Harris says:

      This is EXACTLY what I meant by sales terminology, Sheila. You approached this example perfectly. This will help you tremendously when it comes to accurately pricing your services while also honing your client process. And it will help your blogger friend understand that there are expectations on both sites since you’ll be treating this as a “paying” client project. We can read about business, study pricing, and know all there is to know about marketing, but actually DOING it is a whole other ball game. I hope that this collaboration with your friend helps bring clarity and confidence to your pricing.

      Terminology is huge! Especially when it comes to teaching our community HOW to work with our brand. Choosing our words wisely allows us to leave space for alterations down the line and change as we become more aware of what our prices should be while not allowing terms such as “free” to diminish the value our followers see in our products/services. We as small business owners can’t compete with the major brands like Victoria’s Secret or Target who offer “free” bonuses all the time. Those brands are so big, they can afford to give away things for free. We need to promote our value in other ways. The exclusiveness and intimate attention that comes from one-on-one consults is incredibly valuable. We need to respect our own value in order to show others how to respect it too. The clique goes “treat others how you want to be treated” well the same goes for our brands, we need to treat it the way we want others to treat it too.

      I am so glad you stopped by and shared your experience here. Thank you so much!

  • Katha says:

    Hi Julie.

    First of all, a Mac is always NEEDED 🙂

    I got very excited when you announced in your newsletter “Charging Your Worth” will be your next area of focus after the incredible “Branding” series. I’m currently in the middle of restructuring my services and I’ve also decided to put prices on my website. This has brought up the usual doubts and fears that come along with charging for your services. So your post came definitely at the right time and I can’t wait to read more about this topic from you. Your posts are always so insightful and very practical. I really appreciate how much time and effort you put into this, making your posts very helpful and a pleasure to read.

    I’ve recently come across a few clients who proudly told me that they have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and that they can take care of small updates and edits themselves. At first I didn’t think too much about this but now I find that these clients are most resistent to my pricing. They seem to think having the same tools as me, makes them know exactly what I’m doing and how much I should be charging. This has turned into a bit of a challenge lately.

    Thank you for listening to my thoughts. Well, I need to go now and figure out how much I’m worth.

    Love from Down Under.

    • Julie Harris says:

      Haha yes, I completely agree Katha. I am a Mac Girl for life! Thank you so so much for your amazing words about my content. I am so glad you enjoyed the newsletter. That workbook I shared with you there pairs with this post and I’ll be offering it for sale here later this month.

      As a designer myself, I too have had client’s with similar design programs who are confident in the updates required for a site. Bloggers especially, who are already DIY minded are generally more protective of their content and confident in their ability to maintain and edit their own designs. This is not something to be bummed about. I’m generally more excited about working with these clients because they have a better understanding of what goes into the work we do. While they may misunderstand the level of skills required to do what you do because they think they know the same programs, the value you are offering here is not just the designs, but speed, accuracy, professionalism and time. While yes, they could go take a tutorial somewhere and spend lots of hours testing out different things until they find what works, they hire you so that you can cut out their learning curve and create something professional in a quarter of the time, allowing them to focus their energy elsewhere and do what they do best. That is extremely valuable! We all only have 24 hours in a day, so making every hour count is crucial when running our own business. Making sure your clients understand this time element will help them to see the value you offer through your services and they will then hopefully understand and see the value in your prices. I hope that makes sense! Good luck Katha!!

  • Great read, and some majorly great points we all have to remember when starting a business! This is by far (for me anyways) the scariest part, deciding on what to charge or even where to begin, along with that nagging feeling “is it to high?”. We are definitely worth what we provide so we all have to remember to charge that way. You make some great points on how we all think when we “need” something, we should price that way and create how much we charge by thinking like a buyer (if that made any sense).

    Thanks for sharing, your great wisdom & advice once again!

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs
    xx

    • Julie Harris says:

      That totally makes sense, Lauren. When first starting out, understanding what our tangible costs are (materials and tools) our time (hourly and how long it takes to do something) and what VALUE our services/products will add to our client’s life are the building block to strong and accurate pricing. That VALUE element comes from understanding where the need for our service comes from and what other solutions are out there for our clients to choose from. Knowing what we offer, and not only how it differs but where it’s truly unique from our competitors will help clarify our value to our clients. Thinking like a buyer will help remove the guilt that comes from pricing. Pricing is hugely apart of the educational side of branding. Educating our clients on what we do, why we do it, how we do it and what that’s worth are all crucial details in our brand’s client experience. If they don’t understand our value, our prices will always be too high. If they understand our value, they will most likely understand our prices, and see that we’re worth it.

      Thank you so much Lauren for stopping by! I always appreciate your feedback and thoughts 🙂

  • Hello Julie,

    This is such a tough subject! This is always an ongoing question with new entrepreneurs. It was really hard for me to come up with pricing. I did offer services for free for testimonials and that did help solidify how long a project took to help me narrow down pricing. I love that you mention sales terminology. Bonus, gift, and offer sound so much nicer than free.

    Thanks for sharing this!
    Lillian

    BTW – I’m a Mac girl all the way!

    • Julie Harris says:

      Thank you so much Lillian!! I always appreciate your feedback. You are so right. Money is such a personal thing, and when you tie in time, and your own creative efforts, it’s easy to get emotional. Sales terminology is key. I love how you worked offering your services while still getting value for your business in return. Especially when first starting out, we have to work for free sometimes in order to get experience, but “free” should never be invaluable. Cost is only one part of the puzzle. Thank you so much for stopping by!! (iFans for LIFE! 😉 )

  • julie durham says:

    Hey Julie,

    Thanks so much for your wise words, so glad I stumbled upon you site. I have always had a complex about pricing my products and services. I love how you put it “you are your brand”. I have always put forth my best effort in what I create, but fall short in my confidence about what price to suggest. I look forward to more of your pearls of wisdom.

    Julie Durham/ Lavender Lane

    • Julie Harris says:

      Hi Julie! First off, excellent name 😉 Thank you so much. I am so glad you found your way here. Pricing is a tough point for everyone, especially in the beginning. But the only way charging what we’re worth gets easier is to start charging for it. The way in which we conduct ourselves when representing our business factors into how we teach other’s to treat our brand. When we respect our brand and stand behind our pricing, products, and services, it teaches other people to trust it too and that build confidence in our worth. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

  • Shannon says:

    Oh, my! I need to rethink my sales terminology. Thank you so for the insight!

    • Julie Harris says:

      Terminology is HUGE! Finding the words that clearly supported my intentions within my brand, and how I wanted to run my business, completely altered how my sales went. I no longer felt cheesy or fake. How we communicate through our brand, be it visuals, text, audio, video… plays a huge role in teaching our clients and followers how to engage with us. As an educator, my whole goal is to be sure that the message I’m trying to communicate is receive in the way it was meant to. That all comes down to terminology. Thank you so much Shannon for stopping by!!! I always appreciate your presence and time 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for letting me be a “student”. Brand new at all of this and the comments section has been an extremely valuable extension of what you shared with us. Again, your answers to questions have increased my admiration of your knowledge and willingness to share it. I hope the day will come when I finally settle on a niche for myself, that I can be an confident and continue to know my business as well as you.
    Thank you again for sharing yourself and your knowledge with us. 🙂

    • Julie Harris says:

      Awww Lisa! You are too sweet. It is my pleasure to help you as you begin your journey into entrepreneurship and blogging. I LOVE that you are taking advantage of comments. That’s what they are there for 🙂 I remember when I first started out, I was so scared of some of the bigger brands that I admired and it took me a while before I was brave enough to comment on their site, but once I did, it opened up a whole new channel of communication. Now some of those ladies are my closest friends. The best thing you can do for yourself and your brand is surround yourself with people who have been there before and can help support and guide you on your way. Settling in on a specific niche can be difficult, especially at first, but getting started through blogging, social media, Twitter Chats, and commenting on blogs will help you to develop your brand’s voice and you’ll soon discover what content really grabs you and where you find your self gravitating towards. BAM! You’ve found your niche 🙂 I wish you the best Lisa! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  • Sarah says:

    Pricing gets so difficult for me. I’ll price based on my day job’s hourly rate because that’s what I need to sustain if this were to become a full-time job, and the final price just seems like so much. It’s hard to not lower that price, so I need to remember this post when I get that feeling.

    • Julie Harris says:

      Thank you so much Sarah for sharing your thoughts. I’m so glad you found this post helpful. Pricing is difficult for everyone. But with time, we will get used to it, and we’ll become more confident with our prices, and that confidence will help our clients feel confident about the investment they’re making. Something to think about (granted I have no idea what it is you do or how you do it – but I did see that you have your MBA and MS in Marketing – that is some serious knowledge!), is what value you are offering to your clients? Are your prices are accurately reflecting that value. When I first started out, I knew what I needed to make monthly to afford running my business and taking care of my personal expenses. BUT because I was just starting out, I didn’t have the experience, or credibility built up yet to prove that value to my clients in order to make that much, so I needed to charge less. Eventually after more time, more experience, and more value being invested into the services I provide, I was finally able to make the income I needed to go full time. And I was able to clearly demonstrate that value so it was clearly worth it to my clients. But that wasn’t right away. This is definitely a sensitive subject for all entrepreneurs, but being honest with where we are at as we grow and increase our brand’s value, will help make us become more confident and gain a stronger level of clarity about what it is we are charging v.s. what it is we are worth. You know what you are worth. No one know the value you are able to provide as much as you do. Believe in yourself and your value, and don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth 🙂 Good luck with your upcoming eCourse launch, Sarah!

  • Natalie says:

    I absolutely love how you approached this topic! So many people shy away from this and you championed it beautifully! Thank you!

    • Julie Harris says:

      Thank you so much, Natalie! Pricing is definitely a sensitive subject for most people, but getting paid is such a huge element in running out own businesses. Knowing how to brand your buying experience and understanding how to convey your value through your prices is huge. The more confidence we gain in charging out worth, the more confidence our clients will have in investing in our products and services. I am so glad you like it!

  • Great post! Thanks for sharing these wonderful thoughts. It’s really important to know your worth and don’t just settle for less 🙂

    http://www.cybergenic.net/

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