Over the years, one of the biggest things I’ve seen trip up entrepreneurs (especially conscious, heart-centered, spiritual, love-based ones) is knowing how much to charge for your products and services. The struggle between trying to earn a solid income with how comfortable YOU are owning your own value is huge. So, that’s why I asked my friend Ali Shanti (you may also know her as Alexis Neely) to address this super important topic. (Because if you’re all messed up with what you charge, you’re never going to make it as an entrepreneur.) Take it away Ali!
Let’s get clear on one thing right off the bat—you cannot charge what you are worth, period. You are priceless.
What you can do is learn to charge for the value of the services you provide in a way that allows you to earn premium fees and still be the most affordable option for your clients.
And when you are clear on what you need to earn, your pricing can be reflective of your actual lifestyle needs.
I teach this to lawyers regularly to support them in shifting from hourly billing, or even from far-too-low flat-fee pricing (that actually hurts them and their clients), to learning to charge premium fees that their clients actually love to pay. Not only that, but the lawyers then earn a great income and have total control over their lives and calendars.
And, if lawyers can do it, you certainly can, too. I say that because the law is a profession that is notoriously deeply-mired in a mentality of billing by the hour, in six-minute increments, or they charge too little for the services they deliver on a flat-fee basis.
The Affordability Paradox
Where a lot of love-based entrepreneurs and service-providers get stuck when it comes to knowing how to charge for their services is that you want to be affordable. Maybe you’ve consistently gotten the message that people cannot afford your services.
And this can get you stuck in a feedback loop of thinking you need to keep your prices low in order to get clients.
But that’s actually not true.
What IS true is that you need to take a good, hard look at what you are offering, who you are offering it to, and how you are offering it, because if you are offering a service that your market truly needs AND that provides a valuable outcome, the people who need you can’t afford not to work with you.
So, let’s start there with your offer and audience.
- Choosing Your Audience
Pricing your services and leveraging the Affordability Paradox to command premium fees while still being the most affordable solution for your clients (so you can earn what you need) begins with a clear understanding of what you offer and who you offer it to.
In most cases where people aren’t able to command premium fees for their services, it’s because they are stuck in a trap of offering their services to the wrong audience. And more than anything, it’s a mindset issue.
Consider the possibility that there is a wide range of people who would benefit from your service, and that some people will value what you are offering more than others. Some people will also be able to pay more for what you are offering than others.
So begin by looking at whether you are marketing your services to an audience that either doesn’t value what you provide that much, or that can’t pay because of their own financial circumstances.
And be willing to look at whether that’s the case because of your own insecurity around people who have money. It’s a common thing for those who have not had money in the past, or who didn’t grow up with money or around people with money, to potentially be afraid to market your services to people with money.
Hint: If you are judging people with money in any way, you are likely afraid of serving them, and your judgment is a protective shield you’ve subconsciously created to keep you safe. Get support to shift that mindset if you want to command premium fees.
So, start by choosing an audience that will highly value what you are offering highly, and who are able to pay your premium fees because the outcome of your service, or the convenience you provide, is worth more to them than paying less.
And if you really want to serve people who cannot afford to pay your premium fees, then you can create a B1G1 (like Tom’s shoes—you buy a pair of shoes and they help someone in need with a pair of shoes), whereby for each package you deliver at premium fees, you offer a scholarship package to someone who truly wouldn’t be able to afford you. And you can build that into your marketing and pricing just as Tom’s has done, so you can continue to earn a profitable income.
Exercise: Make a list of all the types of people who would benefit from what you provide. Heartstorm this for at least five minutes (set a timer) and list them. When the timer buzzes, circle the people who would both value it the most AND who would have the means to pay you premium fees for the outcome you deliver.
- Getting Super Clear on Your Outcome
If you’re stuck on the exercise above, it may be because you have not yet fully articulated what it is that you offer. This is another place many entrepreneurs and service providers struggle when it comes to pricing and packaging.
Let’s make a deal, okay? From here on and ever more, you will never again describe your services based on how much time you spend with someone, or by the name of your profession, but instead based on the outcome you provide.
For example, you do not provide legal services, or massage therapy, or image consulting.
No, you help people get divorced amicably, so their kids grow up emotionally healthy. You realign their bodies, so they can perform at the highest level in life. Or you help them look so good every day that they are constantly getting compliments on their style.
Do you see the difference?
In the first case, you are a commodity that is indistinguishable from the other service providers in your field. In the second case, you are providing a very specific outcome.
Exercise: Describe the service you provide by focusing on the highest-value outcome that you are able to support your ideal clients in reaching.
- Crafting a Compelling, Premium-Fee Offer
Now, if you dial in on the right audience for your offer and the specific outcome you provide, you can create a high-value, compelling, “affordable premium” offer that has your ideal clients super-thrilled to pay you … while remaining the most affordable solution for them.
For example, a family embroiled in a divorce would be thrilled to pay a lawyer premium fees if they felt confident that lawyer could help them get divorced in such a way that would keep their kids emotionally healthy, right? And, if that divorce would eliminate ongoing hourly legal bills from lawyers who would keep the family stuck in conflict, and the cost of sending their kids to rehab or therapy later on in life, even if the lawyer charged premium fees for that service, they would still be the most affordable solution.
What kind of offer could you create that would be what we call an “affordable premium” for the outcome of the services you provide?
For example, if you are providing body realignment services (formerly known as massage) to CEOs who are operating in high-stress conditions—managing teams and revenue goals and conflict on a daily basis—a weekly massage could allow them to earn tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions in their company.
If you craft your offer well, you aren’t just offering a massage, but the opportunity for them to commit to themselves, relax, receive, and meet their goals.
As the masseuse, what sort of an offer could you put together that would inspire a CEO to make this weekly commitment to herself, and a monthly payment commitment to you, while at the same increasing the effective hourly rate of your services significantly?
If you are the image stylist who helps your clients look so good every day that they are constantly getting compliments on their style, maybe your offer is crafted for the middle-aged empty nester mom whose kids have gone off to college, and they are now ready to reclaim their confidence and style while creating the next iteration of themselves.
Exercise: Craft a high-value, premium offer for your services that takes into account the ideal client for your services, the outcome you can provide, and the value of that outcome.
Once you get exceedingly clear on the value of your offer, and who you offer it to, you are then able to price and package your offer to get exactly what you need to earn in exchange for what you give. And you know who to offer it to.
From there, how do you determine the price of your offer?
First, you’ll need to get clear on how many hours it will take to deliver the outcome you are going to provide. Then, you’ll need to establish the boundaries for how you are going to deliver that outcome, including the format (for example, 1:1 or group, online or offline, or a combination of both). Next, you need absolute clarity on what you need to deliver that outcome sustainably. And from there, you can identify the right price to charge for your services, at the intersection of the value of your outcome and what you need in order to deliver that outcome consistently and sustainably.
To help you begin the process of determining what you need, go get the Money Map Life and Income Planning process, as my gift to you.
Want more? Visit EyesWideOpenLife.com where we guide you to live your life and build your income awake, aware, and on your terms.
Note from Michele: Ali was also a featured expert in the “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book–you can get all the details right here.
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