The way in which we value money plagues me. It bothers me that we value it so differently and yet we are expected to fix our price for things that are totally subjective in how they are valued. So, I have decided to do an experiment. I essentially want to make a difference. I want to reach anyone who will benefit from my particular flavour of expertise and experience. Above all I want us to figure out whether it is right for us to work together without money interfering with the decision.
Over the years I have really struggled with this issue of pricing just like anyone else. Price things too low and you not only undersell yourself and potentially run the risk of making a loss but you also price yourself out of the higher end markets that only value high priced items.
Price things too high and you can find yourself with no sales at all and of course you can’t help the people who actually need your particular offering the most because they can’t afford you.
There is nothing that grieves me more than seeing incredible talent being hidden away and locked in a dark cupboard where no-one can enjoy it just because they are suffering from a lack of financial abundance. I absolutely do not want to discriminate against talented people just because they do not have the cashflow to purchase the very things that could help them improve their chances of achieving their dreams.
I found it interesting too that when I launched my Arts Marketing Correspondence course recently, the feedback ranged from “It’s fantastic value” and “It’s too cheap” to “I’d love to and know that it would be worth it but it is just too much for my meagre pocket at the moment.”
So my thinking is why not let people choose what they pay?
How do you value money?
£1 to one person can hold a far greater value to them than to someone else. Businesses and people are different and function on different scales of value. It is therefore nigh on impossible to get pricing right for both producer and consumer. The producer needs to earn a living and make at least some profit and the consumer needs to get suitable value from spending their hard earned cash.
The reality though is that money is just an interface and measuring device that helps to translate the value of one thing and compare it with another. It is not a product in its own right despite sometimes being treated as such.
I firmly believe that whilst I would love to be in a position to give everything away for free, there is also the issue of people valuing what they buy. If they pay nothing then there is a psychological rebound of the purchase consciously or subconsciously being given a zero value which often leads to them not getting value out of it. Handing over something of value in exchange for something else of greater or equal value forms an integral part of the ceremony and experience.
When we purchase something we should give money with a positive mindset
- generosity not resentment
- confidence not fear
- abundance not scarcity
- trust not suspicion
- love not indifference
- excitement not boredom
- inspiration not necessity
Patronage and Paying it forward
All transactions also have an element of paying it forward. Buying from individuals helps to maintain their financial fluidity which ensures that they are able to keep doing what they do best. We can then benefit and enjoy what they do for many years to come as a result. That surely is a good thing to consider!
When I do find something extra special that I know will make a difference to others, I will often ask how can I help others to benefit from this too? If there was a tiered payment option which allows me to pay just a bit more to enable others to benefit then I know that I would add that extra with a great deal of willingness. The more that I can afford the more that I wold give thus furthering that ‘Pay-it-forward’ philosophy.
With all these thoughts in mind I shall be introducing the option to select how much clients can pay for both my 1-2-1 coaching and for a redesigned Arts Marketing Correspondence course for which I will be starting a new group at the end of January. I am not sure whether I have chosen the right price points yet but I figured I just needed to start somewhere. So now when someone wants to book a coaching session with me or buy my course, there will be a drop down box with a series of prices from which they can choose from high to low.
Along the way, I will also offer the opportunity for people to be able to add to the pot – as it were. If they are receiving more value than they antiicpated or what we are doing begins to pay off, then they can contribute further funds.
I will post links to the pages below once they have been published. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
Rules of the game
Decide what something is worth to you by asking yourself
- What do you hope to achieve?
- What is it costing you to not achieve your objectives? Financially? Emotionally?
- What are the rewards for achieving your objectives?
- What is it worth paying to achieving your aims?
Calculate what you can afford – please do not pay more. We want you to be able to afford to come back again.
Mean it when you pay it.
Give what you choose freely with a positive mindset i.e. with confidence, trust, generosity, love, inspiration, excitement and abundance.
Trust that you have made the right decision.
If that takes too much effort to think about, then trust your instinct and pick what feels right!
If you promise to do that then I promise …
- To trust that you have made the right decision.
- To believe that you have been fair in your choice.
- To not judge why you have chosen the amount that you have.
- To accept your choice with gratitude knowing that it is the right price for you to pay for your needs.
- To offer you exactly what has been promised regardless of what you have chosen to pay.
I shall be observing how this experiment goes and sharing my findings in the coming months. If however you have something to share then please do add your thoughts and comments. My view is we are all in this world together so why not make it easy for people to be able to benefit in every way possible. We can make this work together so that we all win.
Do you think that I am mad to think that this could work? Or do you think that this is an idea worth exploring?
I love your approach and think it will work.
I have been listening to what Charles Eisenstein has been saying over the last few months and agree that things have to be done differently. In fact I am reading his latest book and that has inspired me too, to adopt a fee model very similar to what you are describing.
I wish to offer my services and to to serve my Client in a way that they feel gives them value. Like you, I agree, that the exchange of energy needs a reciprocal exchange, whatever that may be. This approach also enables a senior member of a business to pay more that a junior member, thereby avoiding the common problem of how is it possible to charge two people a different fee, just because one is more senior than the other. Rather than us saying we are worth more to the senior person as they should receive more value from it, it will be given from their side of the table.
I wish you well with your idea.
Thank you Colin for your thoughts. Very much appreciated. I totally agree with you about the desire to serve our clients in a way that gives them value. Trust and empathy play such an important part in this and to me should be the way that we do things. Hence my rules of the game approach. In other words “I am willing to give you a chance and support you trusting you to acknowledge that for the game to continue, it has to be a reciprocal arrangement”.
I have got as far as downloading Charles Eisenstein’s book ready to read it. I liked his short film and really equate with the philosophy. I am looking forward to delving into it further soon. Please do share your thoughts and experiences as you develop your ideas too.
First experiment is now up for the Arts Marketing Correspondence course.
This was originally priced at £349 with a launch price of £149 for a small select group of people. The pricing was based on costs and the anticipated number of people who would be taking the course. The feedback varied but all said that it was thought provoking and valuable. I have put the starting price at £45 just to see what happens. The more that people buy it the more that I can reduce it further. The more that people pay a higher price, again, the lower the price can go. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
Arts Marketing Correspondence Course for Artists, Designers and Creatives