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Does your price match your value?

Often I have conversations with clients around a recurring theme — pricing and value.

One recent conversation was with Catherine who was creating a new online teaching course, and she was struggling with what to charge people. I thought her price was really low, and I asked why.

She told me that she just knew not all her customers could afford to take the class and she really wanted everyone to have that opportunity.

I asked how she knew that they could not afford the class. She wasn’t able to answer that question. It was just her gut instinct.

When we dug further with the question, it was really that she would not have paid that amount. I asked her what she was doing living in someone else’s wallet and deciding how someone else spent her money.

We talked about what her value was, and she went on to charge a higher price. And yes, her classes have filled with people who absolutely love what she has to offer.

There is something to be said, too, about people expecting value at a certain price. Would you expect the same value in an online class that cost $50 vs. an online class that cost $350? Would you put the same effort into the class?

If you are the instructor, what value do you place on yourself at each price point?

It’s not really all about delivering value on your end, it is about valuing what you do deliver.

Another conversation I had was with a neighbor who is struggling with when to leave her high-paying corporate job to fully commit to her creative arts business.

She is a wonderful pet photographer. She keeps telling me that it is impossible for her to make what she is making in her day job.

Maybe she won’t make her nice six-figure salary, at least right away, but I say it is an excuse that just holds her back.

She is afraid to make that leap, and she is afraid that people won’t pay her.

Yes, she is living in their wallets, too, feeling sorry for them, deciding how they will spend.

And, she is stopping herself from the joy of making her own decisions about her business and her life.

And, then there’s Jan, who makes incredible mixed-media art quilts.

Last month a couple was interested in one of her pieces. Great, only they told Jan that they couldn’t afford to purchase it and asked her if she would negotiate on the price.

Jan started questioning whether her work was overpriced and whether she should lower her price. Jan really wanted to make this sale.

Again, Jan was living in someone else’s wallet not her own. While it’s fine to be empathetic to someone’s plight, I think Jan was being sympathetic and living in her potential customer’s wallet.

Jan had a couple of options. Saying no because she knew her value and waiting for the right buyer. Or offering to work out a payment plan with the couple.

None of us really knows how our customer values herself. None of us know what her expenses are.

We all decide what holds value for us and how we spend our money. We don’t have the right to decide for other people.

If you want to purchase something of value, do you look at what your expenses are and decide if they are worth trading. For example, is that cable bill really necessary if you want something else in your life?

And, if your potential customer decides her cable service is more important than your art or service, that is her choice. It’s not your goal to help her have both.

I believe that your ideal client is out there, the person who will pay you what you think your classes or your art is worth.

Yes, you do have to be clear on who they are and where they hang out.

And, you have to be super clear on your value. So find your value and stop living in someone else’s wallet.

It’s your turn!

How have you dealt with the pricing issue in your creative arts business?

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4 Responses to “Does your price match your value?”

  1. Karen E Overton said:

    You are a mind reader! This is exactly where I struggle ~ as in your first example I wouldn’t necessarily have the funds to pay for what I offer but that doesn’t mean my ideal customer has that same mindset. Timely article ~ thank you! My services have value and I’m on a treasure hunt for my raving fans 😎

  2. Morna said:

    Karen, Mindset is so tricky. It is so easy to decide your customer is like yourself when they aren’t. You will find those raving fans!

  3. Laura Winckel said:

    Thank you for this article. I am keeping it on file to read whenever I find I am questioning my pricing. I have a disabled woman who works for me, I am helping her with pricing her items she has learned to make. She has a lower IQ so I work with her on her prices. I told her the other day she can lower her prices if she wants to work for free after she pays for her supplies. That hit home and she said no she doesn’t want to work for free. I wish everyone who sells their art would value their time and work!!!

  4. Morna said:

    Laura, glad it will serve as a reminder for you. And, I love that you were able to help someone understand her own price and value.

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