It’s an ongoing point of discussion in every self employed or small business sector I’ve been involved with. How can you price yourself in a way that reflects your worth but also creates a sustainable thriving business?
There’s also the thorny issue of working for free.
A subject that is a continual hot topic in the arts world, but it extends across all sectors. Whether it’s labelled pro bono, in-kind, volunteering or doing a freebie, in essence it’s still the same thing – delivering a service for free which you would otherwise, normally charge for.
I currently do several little bits of work which are for free and am happy to do so. With all of them it’s about giving back and being a decent citizen, with some it’s about gaining experience or particular skills. But regardless of the motivation, I’m always really clear with myself about why I’m doing it and how much I’m willing to do.
This comes from years of practice. I’ve always either been self employed or leading a small organisation. So I’ve over 20 years of experience, rumination and self-flagellation under my belt about what I’m worth in monetary terms. It’s still flawed and an ever evolving thing, but I can now look someone in the eye and confidently say “I’m worth X”.
On starting my coaching practice, I made a decision to raise my prices in line with how busy I was. When I got too busy, I’d put my price up. This felt like a clear cut and simple way of going about it. Except nothing is that simple. What I didn’t account for is that coaching is only a part of my work portfolio and there would naturally be ebbs and flows with my work as a producer in the arts.
Also, I didn’t take into consideration what a hustler I am. I work fast. I don’t really know any other way. So as a result, I get busy quickly so it feels like I’m always putting my prices up, which isn’t really a sustainable model.
With other life stuff going on in November, I slowed down a little and it gave me a bit of perspective. I realised that there’s a price point for my private coaching that I feel is about right. It’s a bit lower than the average coach, but higher than some.
But it feels right for me.
I’m good at what I do and, if a client is ready to change, we can make things really shift. That has proper value so now I’ve set my price at a place that feels comfortable and appropriate.
There’s an ongoing debate in the coaching world about whether to advertise your prices on your website. I am very much in the camp of being transparent and upfront, so you can click on my coaching page and see what you would invest to make those changes you’re yearning to make. Other coaches think differently, but I'd never arrange a call with a prospective coach without knowing if it was within my budget first.
I’m also changing in how I initially connect with clients and start our journey together. I was offering a 20 minute conversation, which was successful in terms of gaining clients. But I felt I was short changing both the potential client and myself, especially those who hadn’t experienced coaching before.
As you’ll know from this blog, I’m hugely passionate about coaching and believe that everyone could benefit from having the right coach. So I want to make sure than anyone who books an initial chat with me also gets to experience coaching. For free. Because when I’ve done that and that person becomes a client they’re already on the journey. They’ve already committed to change and we can get so much more achieved. And if they don’t become a client, at least they’ve had that chance to experience the power of coaching.
So that’s the plan from now on: Charge a fee that feels reasonable and fair, and serve my potential clients well from the start by not just talking about coaching but actually doing it. It feels like the right thing to do and I’m fired up about it. Which is good, as I’ve got 5 sessions with potential clients in the next week. Bring it on!
If you want to get better at looking someone in the eye and say “I’m worth this much”, come talk to me and let’s see if I can support you to achieve that. It takes a bit of bravery and lots of practice but it’s totally achievable.