Three Paradigms for knowing and explaining pricing your services.
Have you heard the expression “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? This is true for value as well. When we ask ourselves the question: How much are my services or products worth?
There are more than costs, mathematical formulas and market studies to consider.
At the end of the day people will pay for anything only what they consider the product is worth, and in almost every industry you will find that prices vary greatly. So, when you are starting it might seem very challenging to determine what to charge.
Let’s talk about challenges, in a previous article I mentioned how charging for my services was one of my biggest challenges. I am a Licensed Psychologist and a Certified Transformational Breath® Facilitator.
Did I mention that when I started my practice I offered people money to come take a session with me? No?
Well I did, not a salary to be my client but more along the lines of “I’ll pay for your bus fare so you can come.” As a Senior Trainer, a big part of my job is to make sure our facilitators in training know the value of their work.
So, if you’re willing to join me we will dig a little more into the subject and hopefully this will help you have a smoother transition when moving from the “student” or “salaried” world to the “entrepreneurial” one.
In my case abundance was one of the most difficult things to embrace, not for others, but for myself. There are certain paradigms that I had bought into and I found extremely hard to change. I also find that they are a bit more prevalent in our culture, at least it seemed this way in Mexico.
Everyone told me the same things over and over, grandmas, aunts, friends, colleagues and mentors! They shared three paradigms:
Paradigm 1: You must work HARD to be successful, and it will be YEARS before you see results.
Paradigm 2: Opening your own business is a risk, a salary is certain.
Paradigm 3: You should start by charging a very low fee so people get to know you.
My life experience fed into these paradigms too, when I graduated I was offered a position at my university.
Once I transitioned from student to employee I was the lowest man on the totem pole, therefore I was offered a ridiculously low salary, I worked 12 and 14 hour days for years and I was still getting paid a ridiculously low salary, even though I had received several promotions and seemed to take on more and more projects and responsibilities all the time.
On hindsight, this was a good thing, it pushed into making changes in my life.
Now, I am not here to share mathematical formulas or market studies to help you figure out how much you should charge, granted you should do that too. I am going to assume you’ve done all the work. You have the most incredible business idea or profession, you have done your research, you have planned and budgeted.
I already shared with you how I was hired after graduation, let me elaborate, when I was hired I felt very lucky and incredibly grateful.
When I met clients, who could benefit from going to therapy I was very grateful if they agreed to work with me, even if they didn’t pay me or paid very little. So, what happened is that for a long time this kept happening. I had half of the equation right: gratitude.
The other half was a bit of a problem, it was hard for me to let go of the paradigms,
I stayed in the world of academia a lot longer than I should have because even if I was making very little money I had a secure income and there was also a certain amount of personal achievement and pride in being so young and having so much responsibility. When I was just getting started as a therapist I still believed in those paradigms.
Why would people want to pay me what an experienced professional charged?
So, I charged less. I wish I had realized sooner that it wasn’t the amount of experience, or the hours of hard work that would make a difference: the change came when I realized it was MY own perception of the value I gave to others that abundance really was able to manifest in my life.
The way this manifested was a clear example of how amazing this change can be.
The day I decided I was going to double my fees I had a new client walk into my office, I explained the work I did and how much I charged, she agreed and we started her session.
She loved it so much that when she paid she also paid for a session for a friend of hers as a gift, her friend came and became a client, she in turn referred a new client and so on.
Do you think anything besides my perception of value changed?
My office was the same, the advertising was the same, my work had the same quality. I had just been able to complete the right equation: I had faith in my work, I valued what I did and I was grateful to be able to share it with others.
If you are still not sure how much you want to charge your clients ask yourself this question and answer as honestly as you possibly can: If I was offered this, and I knew ALL the benefits it would give me, how much would I be willing to pay for it?