Welcome to ProprietHER, this is episode 16! Today, we’re going to go over the 3 questions I get asked the most. As I said, the women who have asked these questions range from people JUST starting out, to women who have been in business for years, and who you wouldn’t think have any questions, so there’s something here for you!
The first question I get is kind of a two fold question:
1.) It’s about Pricing their business for profit, and getting people to purchase when they’re just starting out.
Before I to dive into pricing I want to make one very serious PSA:
There is a difference between your economic worth (what your skills and experience merit in the marketplace) and your personal worth.
If someone won’t pay your price, or a certain price that you ask, you cannot take it personally. It can be easy to get offended, to feel knocked down, and to think “well, they just don’t think I’m worth anything.” But listen here sister, this is not the case at all. Your personal worth has NOTHING to do with your economic worth.
I’ve also heard people say “charge what you’re worth.” and while that is a powerful message, it’s muddling the line between your economic worth and personal worth, and that’s not a line meant to be muddled. Your personal worth, has nothing to do with how successful you are in business. So whether you charge $100 for a service and someone else charges $10,000 for a service, you have the same personal worth no matter who you are, what you do, what you charge, or what you wear.
Pricing your product or service is tough stuff whether you’re starting or you’ve been in business for years. So let me start off by saying, if pricing terrifies you, you are not alone. I know I say “you’re not alone” so much on this podcast but it’s really true! I really want you to understand that all those feelings, hesitations, questions, and concerns that you have- THEY’RE SO NORMAL IN BUSINESS. Especially when it comes to pricing. We’re going to talk about pricing in two ways. First, for those just starting out, and second for those who are already in business because maybe you’re looking to raise your prices and you don’t know how or are terrified.
Let’s tackle the newbies first. Now if you’re just starting your business. Like. Have an idea, a name, all that fun stuff but no experience or clients yet, I feel it is 100% important for you to do some work for free. I know I know. You probably didn’t see that coming. But hear me out. Word of mouth, and proof of your work like photos, reviews, etc is going to so important for your business. If you have NO customers, you need to get some STAT and if that means doing 5 free sessions, or making your craft for 5 people- do it.
When I knew I wanted to start my photography business, I asked EVERYONE if I could photograph them and I said it would be free just so I could build my portfolio because I knew that the portfolio, and the experience a family or couple would have with me, would help me gain the momentum I needed to start my business and get paying customers.
I understood I needed to establish my authority as a photographer by having clients, and even though those families and couples didn’t pay me, I loved on them SO HARD and all I asked for in return were reviews. I understood that to start getting paying clients, I needed MOMENTUM and sometimes in business, as was in my case, I had to CREATE my own momentum. When I posted pictures from my free sessions, other people on social media or who stumbled on my website didn’t KNOW they were free sessions. They just saw my photos and a raving review. BOOM. Done. Plus, the people I worked with, told OTHERS about me. BOOM done again.
Now after I gained some momentum with my free sessions, did I jump immediately up to a $500 session? Absolutely not. As much as we know what others are charging, and as fast as we want to be there, you have to understand that experience does account for something. So I started small and with each session I upped my price a small amount. I did this once I entered the wedding business as well. After each wedding, I raised my price $300 dollars until I hit where I wanted to be. If you start to big, without the experience to back you up (and remember, experience is shown to your potential clients through your portfolio, and your reviews) you’re not going to see the business you want. You’re not going to buy a $100 handmade sign from someone who says they make them and only have 2 pieces of work and 2 reviews to show for it. You’re going to buy the $100 signs from someone who has a larger portfolio and more reviews, AKA more experience. So you’re job, is to get the experience. Get the momentum. Even if you have to create the momentum, get momentum and then increase slowly from there.
Now if you’ve been in business for sometime, and you’re feeling like it’s time to raise your prices, let’s talk it!
I know this is always a question in the back of everyone’s minds! Even when we are just starting right, we’re always wondering “when can I raise my prices!?” But there are a few things to consider when thinking about raising prices!
- What are your goals?
Often times we’re so caught up in wanting to raise our prices, we forgot to stop and remember that we all have our own unique goals! Is your goal to book 20 clients this year and you’ve booked 30? Then it’s probably time to raise your prices! Is your goal to book 20 clients and you’ve book 3? Then there might be something going on!
You need to be looking at what are your booking goals, or selling goals, and where are you currently with those goals.
A good rule of thumb is if you keep finding yourself feeling over worked, over booked, and just like you’re working ALL THE TIME, then you probably need to raise your prices.
2. The law of supply and demand
Analyzing what your current demand is like. How many people are knocking on your door? And not just knocking, but saying YES I’m ready to book or buy? That answer is really going to help you decide if you need to raise your prices or not.
If you’re getting too many inquiries for a certain date, or for a limited amount of customers you can take, then you need to figure out how you can control the demand, because you cannot control the supply. For example, photographers who can only book one wedding a day, cannot clone themselves and shoot 7 sevens in one day, so they have to control the demand. Same if you take on clients, you can only give so much before you’d have to start cloning yourself to make sure everyone is getting the quality you want right? So how do you control the demand?
3. Are your clients hesitating?
Is there any hesitation when they hear your prices or when you’re talking about your prices? I believe you’re priced well when your clients have to think about your pricing for a second. When they can say, “oh ok, that’s the pricing, but you know what, I see the value, I’m going to do it.”
If you can barely get through your sales pitch and they’re like “yes, we’ll take it all your biggest package!” You probably need to raise your prices.
If you’re constantly booking your biggest package- that can be a tell sign too.
So many people feel that “if I raise my prices, I can’t ever lower them again because people will know and that will be humiliating. People aren’t paying attention whether your price has gone up a hundred dollars or down a hundred dollars the way that YOU know it’s changed. People don’t care as much about our businesses as we do!
When you change your prices, as with anything in your business give it time. But if you start to notice that qualified clients are walking away, and people you would love to work with are walking away. Go back to remember your goals- do you want to be busy and working? Then maybe you’re priced to high and need to adjust. Just remember to balance your work life so it doesn’t lead to burnout.- Remember you cannot give from an empty cup. So if you’re exhausted and overworked and you’re ready to be DONE- it’s probably time to raise your prices.
2.) The second question I get asked frequently is how to start shifting content to be more well rounded and not just about the service or products you’re selling.
Using social media to showcase ONLY your work is not enough. So if you’re just posting pictures of your jewelry, or pictures of only your sessions, or pictures of only your gift baskets- you need to start doing more.
Now, many people know this. Many people understand that potential customers want more than just seeing your product or service. People want to CONNECT. They want to get to know the human behind the business. For many, this is a scary concept. They know it’s true, but it terrifies them to put out anything that isn’t strictly business related.
I used to feel this way. Especially when the trend of #Fridayintroductions was really big. The idea of posting a photo of MYSELF and introducing myself on social media gave me honest to goodness anxiety. Like the kind where it takes an hour to even hit the SHARE button. But I knew that if I wanted to see the growth I was hoping for in my business, I had to share more than just photos of session. I knew I had to start talking about my life and myself because people WANT THAT.
Let’s use my business as an example, so I’m a bright and light photographer. There could be 3 others in my area out there with my same style, so what sets us apart? People could look at our instagram pages and see all similar style photos and then, it’s pretty much a coin toss on who they’re going to book right? Well, it doesn’t have to be! Not if I start sharing about me, my life, WHY I started my business, why I LOVE my business, etc.
Your personality is what sets you apart from the rest so let it shine. Plus, as scary as it is to start sharing your life in public on social media, once I started to do it, I saw a TON more engagement. I became so much more relatable to people instead of just another photographer who posts pretty pictures with the caption SWOON.
So first things first is understanding that shifting your content into more than just your product or service is going to be beneficial to your business.
Now once you make the decision that “yes! I’m going to start shifting my content and adding more about me in there!” The next question is how do you do it? That’s what a lot of people worry about right, how do I start posting different things? What will people think? Will they think I’m weird? They’re going to be wondering what the heck I’m doing!
Let me tell you right now- do not stress about pivoting your content! Especially since you’re still going to be posting your normal work and business stuff, you’re just looking to give clients and potential clients a more overall look into who you are as a person and brand- not just your business. When you look at it that way, it makes it a little easier.
So many people tell me they’re stressed about sharing more about themselves because they’re not interesting or outgoing or entertaining enough. You absolutely do not need to be a loud or entertaining person in order to put yourself out there on social media, but you will need to leave your comfort zone a little bit! I’m a MASSIVE introvert but you probably wouldn’t know that from my instagram! It’s awkward putting yourself out there on social media! Especially as business owners because its so easy for us to hide behind our work, but people don’t want to hire just a business, they want to hire a PERSON and feel connected to that person.
When it comes to pivoting your content, there really isn’t much to it. The first thing I would do is post a picture of yourself and in the caption, write about how you’re going to start sharing more about you so that people can get to know the girl behind the biz! Share why this is important to you, and just be transparent. Heck! Even share how nervous you are to do it! People love authenticity!
3.) Now my last common question goes off of the pervious one. People know they want to share MORE. More than just their business product or service. But here’s what really stumps people. What to actually post.
The next thing you’re going to do is think of your content categories. I’ll link to a PDF of this in the show notes.
You want to think of content topics to rotate through that aren’t business related so think of Personal things you can post. I love the JK5 (Jenna Kutcher 5 method) She says to think of 5 topics that make you, you, OUTSIDE of your business. So for you, maybe that’s being a mom, maybe it’s a love of reading.. think of it this way. If I were to ask your husband “What makes you, you? What does she love?” What would he say? Those are topics you can consistently share about. It’ll make your audience feel a little bit more a part of your life!
Now as much as I love the JK 5 method, there are other things you can share about too if you’re looking for more content ideas! I like to say there are 6 content categories.
When you share about other things that aren’t business related, just tell a story when you share about them. Bring people into your life a little bit. People want to feel like they “know you.” It’s weird, but they do. So just share your heart and don’t be afraid to do it!
My best advice is to not worry about it being perfect. Just take imperfect action because it’s better to have it done and out there, than to feel or be stuck in the mud! The only way to do it is to just START!
After you’ve started posting, give people some time to adjust to your new content push, but they will! Honestly in the grand scheme of things, people will hardly notice you’re shifting topics lol. Because we’re so in tune with it, we think others are too, but most likely they’ll just be like “Oh So and So shared this cool thing today.” whether it’s related to your business or not! So just take the leap friend!
To wrap it up
Let’s go over three action items we can do today to move the needle forward:
- Action step #1: Analyze your pricing. If you’re just starting- creating momentum for yourself and ask 5 people you know if you can do a free product or service for them to build your portfolio or experience. Only ask for a review in return. If you’ve been in business analyze your numbers. Are you hitting the number of sales (whether number of service projects of physical projects) you want completed in a year? If you’re exceeding it, or if you aren’t even reaching it- time to assess what you can do with your pricing to control that supply and demand.
- Action step #2: Are you sharing more than JUST your product or service on your instagram page? If not- post a photo of yourself TODAY and tell people you’re going to start sharing MORE.
- Action step #3: Start planning to rotate through the content categories. Think about how you can be creative with what you share on your social media and how you can bring your customer and potential customers along on the journey..
P.S Don’t miss my last podcast interview with Pinterest expert Sahar Twesigye!