I love discussions about pricing. LOVE THEM.
Pricing as a positioning tool. Pricing as a way to increase or decrease demand. The emotions and mindset around pricing, both for the buyer and the seller. As you’d therefore expect, there’s a bit of all of that in my decision to redo my packages and put my prices up.
Here’s a quick summary and then I’ll expand on each one:
- I’m not purely putting my prices up
- I’m seriously good at what I do
- So people understand the level of businesses I’m aiming at
- I’m starting to feel a bit cheap
- I’m an established coach/consultant now and my running costs have gone up
Let’s crack on with it!
1. I’m not purely putting my prices up
First off, the title is a teensy bit misleading. But ‘Why I’m putting my prices up’ was snappier than ‘Why I’m finally getting around to creating a suite of packages to suit different needs and making it more obvious why those offers are valuable.’
Yes, if you compare my previous six month, one-to-one package with my new one, it looks like my prices have gone up, but my new programme will have some bells and whistles that the old one didn’t.
For example, I’ve been working almost exclusively with established personal brands for a while now; it has made me more effective in knowing what to do with new clients, how to approach them and which techniques to use when. I’m now able to share a roadmap of how our work together is likely to unfold. That makes it clearer what I’ll be taking you through and increases your chances of success because the methods are tried and tested.
I’m also considering unhooking my package from a carved in stone timeframe. I used to work with people for six months, and what we got done in that time was what we got done. End of. I’m thinking of changing that as a reflection of what happens in reality; which is that with some clients we can get through the work quicker, other people, slower. The pace depends on how busy they are, their working style, whether they have marketing experience etc. The upshot is that if we get through all the work in 4 months or 12 months, the investment to you will be the same.
But Janine, is it fair that some people get to work with you for 12 months and some only 4, and yet you’re charging the same for both?
My response to that would be:
- It’s standard practice to charge more for a quick result. So in that way I’m being generous. : ))
- I worked with a consultant last year who took this approach. I really appreciated that there was a set fee and when COVID and homeschooling stole half my working time, she didn’t charge me more to finish working through the body of work we’d agreed on.
Anyway, semantics aside, it will be more expensive to work with me and this is one of the main reasons why.
2. I’m seriously good at what I do
Does that sound arrogant? That’s ok. Tongue-in-cheek swagger is part of my brand! : )
I’m serious though, I’ve put in the hard yards and I’m highly skilled at what I do; helping small business owners who operate as personal brands to get better results for less effort through razor sharp positioning of their business and offers.
It’s that virtuous circle of getting good results, getting more confident and then getting even better results because I’m more confident.
When I get a new client, I already have a good idea of what I’ll need to do with them to get the results they want. In fact, I’m better at drawing out their version of success too.
Clients have spontaneously started sending me messages of delight. ‘I got my first new client at the higher price!’ ‘I finally understand the value I bring to clients!’ ‘I now realise why that lead magnet wasn’t working and what I need to do to fix it. This call alone was worth the whole £3.5k fee of working with you.’ that sort of thing. Yes, those are real life examples.
The areas I’m particularly gifted at include:
- Positioning you as the go-to person for what you do.
- Moulding your current offers into must-haves and creating new no-brainer offers that suit you and your audience.
- Cutting straight to the reason why your current offers and marketing communications aren’t working as well as you want and devising a way to fix them e.g., I have people come to me after failed launches. Some have even done one of those ‘Magical Launch Formula’ programmes and then come to me because the formula wasn’t so magical after all.
- Making sure your offers and your target audience (aka dream clients) are in line with your values and desired lifestyle. What I do goes beyond marketing. I want to make sure you’re creating a business that sustains you and takes you towards your long-term vision of success.
In short, my new prices will more fully represent the value I bring to my clients.
3. So people understand the level of personal brand businesses I want to help
Using pricing as a positioning tool is an absolute given to trained marketers. What price you pick, as well as other levers like branding and the types of people you’re targeting is drummed into us so hard that it’s easy to assume everyone thinks like that.
But I can see they don’t.
When you’re a personal brand business, deciding what to charge becomes emotional. It feels like you’re putting a price on your own head. Like you’re putting your own self worth under the microscope.
I feel that too, despite the training and corporate marketing experience. I’d have to be a robot not to!
But I’ve also experienced what happens when I don’t charge enough. I’ve undersold myself in the past and these are the things that have happened:
- I attracted people who were too early on in their business journey. People who couldn’t pay me the rates I wanted but who still felt my fee was a huge financial stretch. This led to a mismatch in our feelings of what constituted a fair exchange. Not their fault, my fault.
- I attracted people who still had massive money mindset issues. People who haven’t yet invested significantly in their own business struggle to believe that someone would invest in theirs. When you’re in this situation it can feel excruciating to sell anything because you don’t truly believe people would buy services that you’d never fork out for. While the phrase ‘skin in the game’ gives me the heebie-jeebies, this is what it’s all about. When you’ve paid out a big sum of money, it becomes imperative that you earn that money back and then some!
- With more established clients who have higher revenue I’ve had the opposite problem. They can easily afford me so they assume that the work we’re doing together doesn’t require deep work and elbow grease. Their shiny object syndrome continues unabated and they buy courses, programmes and packages from other coaches and consultants. I find this frustrating because I’m sat right here, willing and able to unpick anything they’re struggling with when it comes to business strategy and marketing. And as the adage goes, too many cooks spoil the broth!
- In a similar vein, I’ve had clients make massive business decisions in between calls without letting me know. Now, I’m not your mum/boss/partner and it is your business, but if you launch a new service that effectively pivots your whole business and changes your target audience, it can scupper all our work so far. Sometimes the decisions are a great move, and all it takes is a little wriggle to get our work back on track, but other times I feel like tearing my hair out and screaming into the cupboard. I’m a trustworthy and valuable business confidant. Not some little tactical, quick-fix.
I know that by pricing my packages more appropriately that these issues will improve because…
…prepare yourself for a revelation…
The price is part of the value of the package.
Does that sound like the worst kind of marketing wank-speak? Well, I don’t apologise because I know it to be true.
People who pay more turn up, do the work and get better results. I’ve experienced this as the coach/consultant and I’ve felt it in action as a client when I’ve invested for my own business.
The first time I first put my prices up significantly I was working with the most expensive coach I’d ever worked with. One month I looked at my forecasted revenue (you can take the woman out of corporate but you can’t take the corporate out of the woman…) and I could see that I wasn’t going to be able to afford to pay her fee. It motivated me to pull out all the stops. To get brave. To sell more. To try new things. And you bet that I earned more than enough to cover what was owed.
By the end of the year, I was charging the same rates as her for one-to-one work. Not because she told me to, because she didn’t. I did it because I’d grown in confidence and I could finally feel what my work was worth.
In short, I put my prices up that year because I’d started to feel a bit cheap.
Speaking of which…
4. I’m starting to feel a bit cheap
My current one-to-one, 6 month package £3,995. If you’d have told me a couple of years ago that charging that much was ever going to feel cheap, I’d have laughed in your face.
But we grow and we change. The more people I work with, the more I realise the value I bring. I’ve also learned the huge amount of energy I pour into a client’s business.
One potential client last year sounded really keen to work with me but her objection was that, if you break it down to an hourly rate, I was very expensive.
There’s a reason I don’t charge by the hour; it’s because I’m doing so much more work than just on our one-to-one calls!
- I do a huge amount of preparation for each call.
- I’m constantly thinking about client’s businesses; including in the evenings and the weekends. I can’t help it.
- I find myself researching topics we’ve discussed.
- I think of people in my network who I can refer on to my clients.
And, to play that broken record again, it’s not about the billable hours, it’s about the benefit to your business.
One client came to me to help her put together her first £10k package. I felt like a bit of a berk telling her that it was going to cost her significantly less than that to work with me. It sends the wrong message!
Here’s another example if you’ll indulge me; I helped one of my clients negotiate a £100k+ deal with a big corporate. Together we made sure her marketing materials were in the right format, covered off all her client’s possible objections and I helped her decide what price to pitch at. Did I mention I’m trained in advanced negotiation techniques? It helps in matters like this! She has since used those materials to secure other high quality clients. This was only a small fraction of what we covered in our time together.
The final point I want to make is that this deep work that I do with clients all takes up a hell of a lot of my headspace. Of which I only have a finite amount.
I refuse to stuff my days with as many clients as possible to increase my revenue!
Burning out isn’t going to lead me to giving a good service to my clients. It isn’t going to help me be a good mum to my kids. And it wouldn’t leave any energy for me to develop and scale my own business. This is an absolute must because that’s what I help my clients with; not exchanging time for money and developing and scaling their businesses! Lead by example and all that.
How much will my new business coaching/marketing consulting packages be?
I haven’t finalised all the details yet. But as a rough guide, my intensives (e.g. ‘Stop Charging By The Hour’ pricing structure intensive, Launch Diagnostic and Revival intensive) are going up from £500-£750 to around £1,000-£1,200. And my one-to-one package is going up from £4,000 to around £10,000-15,000. I might keep my one off ‘power hours’ at around £295 though since they require zero prep or follow up and they can lead on to more work.
5. I’m an established coach/consultant now and my running costs have gone up
I know, I know, cry me a river. The fact remains that I have running costs. This is how businesses work. You charge your customers enough to pay your employees a motivating salary and have more than enough left over for tax, utilities, raw materials, equipment etc.
You’d think as a solo business owner, that my running costs are low. And they are comparatively, but all the bits and bobs add up.
This is where most of my costs lie:
- Apps and software e.g. Zoom, BookLikeABoss, LucidChart, ActiveCampaign, ThriveCart, LearnDash… The list goes on and on. I’m ruthless though- anything I don’t need any more, I cancel it.
- Outsourcers: One good thing about the pandemic is that it forced me to get over my fear of outsourcing! I now work with a VA, a repurposing copywriter, a web developer, and a graphic designer.
- My own training and development. I adore self-development and mindset work! I have a business coach who I’ve been working with for a while now and I regularly invest in consultants. Also, if I have a knowledge gap, I’ll buy a course or a book. What can I say, I’m a swot. And the beauty of it is that it all makes me more able to help my clients!
- Tax. I know I’m a weirdo, but I love paying my tax bill! I moved over to the Profit First way of accounting before I had to pay my first tax bill and it felt so good to have the money just sat there. I felt like I had a proper established business when I made that first payment.
I had a sales call with someone recently who was shopping around. She’d had a few calls with other coach/ consultants. Then one by one they all got back to her and said they were going back to a corporate job.
By the Power of Grayskull, I vow NEVER to go back to corporate!
My name is Janine, I’m a professional business owner. I’m in this for the long haul and I’m invested.
Thinking of working with me as your business coach/ marketing consultant?
If you’ve been thinking of working with me as your business coach/ marketing consultant and want to get in there at my outrageously low prices, then book a call with me quickly.
I only have two spots to start working with me one-to-one before I put my prices up on 30 April 2021.
Book a call with me and let’s see if we’d work well together.