The One Thing Missing From Most Pricing Articles
We’ve all heard the advice. Hell, I’ve even written about it myself: Charge your worth! Don’t undervalue! Don’t undercharge! Ask for what you’re worth!
And while that’s generally good advice, one thing I’ve come to learn recently is something very important is missing from these conversations.
If you’re out to make as much money as you can and you aren’t too picky about who you work with, then it makes sense to price the higher value you know you can deliver. But what happens when you have a specific target audience in mind and you know they don’t have the cash to pay for that value? What do you do?
Do you decide to go after a new target market and more money? Or do you stick with who you’re passionate about serving, even though it means making less?
It’s at this crux where you have to make that make or break decision. And since I recently had to make it myself, I’m here to walk you through it.
This conversation is going to be absolutely filled with business speak you hear over and over and over again, ad nauseum. How many times do you hear those phrases--”charge what you’re worth,” “identify your target market,” and “scale your business to six figures!”? I can’t scroll through Facebook without being accosted by at least ten ads telling me I need to scale my business to a billion dollars.
Cutting through the noise of all these business phrases and articles and advice and identifying what YOU actually want can be hard. When all these big #bossbabes-- with their large followings and their guides to six-figure months, and their work from anywhere laptop lifestyles-- are shouting from the rooftops that you should want the same...it can actually feel bad or like something is wrong with you if you don’t want those things.
This is why some of the most important things you can do for yourself when entering the entrepreneurial world are:
Know your WHY. I know, I know. You hear this all the time. But knowing your why will help guide you when making those business decisions. If your why is to make a million dollars vs. if your why is make a difference in the world or someone’s life--well you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that those two very different ‘whys’ are going to lead you to make two very different sets of decisions.
Know your TARGET MARKET. Again, I know. This advice is everywhere, but it is so crucial to know when you start talking about price (as I’ll give in my personal example here in a bit). Your goal of making a cool million probably won’t align if your target market resides in a very low income bracket.
I’m going to use myself as an example here. I recently added a service to my site where I take people’s content and design on brand ebooks and pdfs for their business. By all accounts, an outsider would look at my prices and say I’m severely underselling myself and they wouldn’t be wrong. They would come to this assumption because as an outsider, they aren’t privy to my WHY and my TARGET MARKET. My WHY, however, is clearly stated on my design page: “As a small business owner myself, I know what’s it’s like to try and do big things with a small budget. Why should only big companies be able to afford beautiful things for their business? That’s why I’ve made it my mission to provide branded eBooks and PDFs at an affordable price for the boss on a budget.” My why is helping those just getting started. My why is knowing how much it sucks to be at the beginning of your business journey and not have the budget for nice things like the bigger and more established businesses have. My target market is spelled out right there in that why: “the boss on a budget.” More specifically, the MOM boss on a budget. It’s why ads trying to entice me to triple my prices and aim for six figures don’t work on me--they aren’t aligned with my why or the person I am passionate about serving.
I recently saw someone charging $87 for a one page designed document and $497 for a 10 page ebook/workbook. For reference, I charge $25 for 10 pages. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with her service or what she’s charging. If she’s making almost $500 to design 10 pages, then more power to you, sister. She had testimonials from Kate Northrup which is AMAZING. One look at her prices and her sales page tells me that she has aligned herself as a luxury brand for high income entrepreneurs. And that is 110% awesome. That’s her target market and she has done an amazing job reaching that target market and if I had to guess, I’d say she’s making some pretty serious bank.
BUT what I don’t want to ever happen for you, or me for that matter, is to decide that you’re meant to serve lower income clientele and then see those charging more for luxury services and start to feel bad about your choices. Neither choice is inherently right or wrong. It’s just different. Could I align myself as a luxury service and make more? Not to seem braggy, but probably. But the question is, do I want to? Nope.
The clearer and more confident you can be in your why and in knowing who you want to serve, the better you can put on blinders to those messages that you’re undercharging, undervaluing, and doing a disservice to yourself and your business. You can serve those you want to serve, you can charge what you want to charge, AND you can still celebrate those doing business differently than you.
If you’ve been struggling with your pricing lately or having a hard time figuring out how you want to align your business, I want you download this worksheet and work through these questions. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here. There is simply clarity about what YOU want and about what matters and is most important to you and your business.
Yours in business + motherhood,