I’m willing to bet that the thing which stresses you out the most about pricing isn’t the stuff like the cost of flour or butter, it’s the more flexible things like your hourly rate. More than once you’ve wondered how much you’re really worth. You’ve seen the memes and videos online where people seem to be constantly shouting at you, “You are an artist! You have to charge what you’re worth! You deserve to get paid more!” but they give you no REAL idea of how to charge what you’re supposedly worth. So you nod your head and agree with them, you know you should charge more… but you really have no idea of your worth. I’m going to help you figure that out.
First, let’s remember this:
Pricing is a PROCESS, not a PROJECT.
It’s really easy to sit around and say, “Nobody will ever pay me what I’m worth,” or “There is no way I can get paid for every hour I work,” or “Everyone only wants something for nothing,” and so on. Sitting around complaining is a hell of a lot easier than getting up and DOING something about it, isn’t it? This is especially true for those of you reading this in small towns or countries, or places where highly decorative or speciality products are either non-existent or not yet fully appreciated. It’s really hard! I totally get it. Let’s also be real about the fact that nobody NEEDS cake or cookies in order to survive so it’s not like you’re high on their list of priorities. Newsflash: Part of owning a business is teaching them why they should want those products and specifically why they should want them from YOU. (Here’s an article I wrote on that very topic.)
Have you ever purposely low-balled a quote, or immediately offered a refund because we didn’t like how the product turned out? Or secretly, would your rather lose the order than quote a proper price to someone? We do those things because we lack confidence in ourselves. Confidence isn’t something that I can bottle up and give you . Confidence is something that comes with time and experience.
So we know that a big part of educating your customers about price is confidence…but here’s the thing: it’s not YOUR confidence. IT’S THEIRS. They need to trust you and be confident that you are going to give them what they need, that their money was well invested. No, you can’t just print up a bunch of business cards and think that someone is going to pay you the big bucks just because you’re “an artist.” You’ve got to build up a reputation over time – that’s why it’s called “building” a reputation, not “magically making” a reputation. You’ve got to build a reputation for producing great work, giving great service, and delivering to your clients’ needs and expectations and that’s not something which happens overnight.
Let me say that again: Customers are not going to “just get it,” and you are not going to “be worth it” without some long-term effort involved.
Let me put it to you this way: suppose I make a cake and Ron Ben Israel makes the EXACT same cake, down to the last petal and crumb. Want to guess which one of us will be able to charge more? Which one of us is WORTH more? Your worth is something which increases over time. You get better skills-wise, you get faster at making things, you put in place systems so your business runs more efficiently, you develop a reputation because word of mouth gets around and so on. None of that comes in the mail with the business cards.
Here are some ways you can build your reputation and give your customers the confidence to order from you (which in turn, allows you to increase your worth and charge more):
1. Evidence that you’re good: Did you get a great review from someone? Share it! Post a picture of the cake and the thank you note you got on your social media accounts. Sign up for external review websites (make sure it’s a legitamite one please). Testimonials should be on your website and they should be updated regularly. If you’ve been told you’re the bee’s knees, please tell everyone so that new customers already feel confident because other people have said so. We like to shop by word of mouth, even if that word comes from a stranger. Often it’s not what YOU say that convinces people to buy, it’s what OTHERS say.
2. Visibility: get involved in local charities, support local schools, find ways to be seen to your target market in and around your area. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or small business forum. Network with other business owners in the same industry as you are – the party planners, the photographers, the florists. Get your work into magazines, online newsletters or blogs. Offer to do some demonstrations for local events. The more places people see you or your work, the more your reputation will grow because you’ll keep cropping up. Stop hiding your light under a bushel and BE SEEN in whatever ways you can.
3. Branding – Make sure if you want to be seen as “high-end,” then EVERYTHING you put out there needs to be high-end, from the photos you take to the packaging you use. From a behavioural point of view, act in a way that is reflective of the brand. As an example, if you’re aiming to be high-end, don’t take orders by text message, don’t rant on social media and don’t show up to deliveries wearing a onesie. In other words, I’m pretty sure nobody orders Prada handbags by text message.
4. Systems – you need HAVE systems in the first place. You need proper terms and conditions, clearly written order forms, a dedicated business phone number, a website (not just a Facebook page) and so on. If you want to be considered legitimate, you’ve actually got to BE legitimate. You really don’t want a client to come for a consult and you’re there scrambling to find a scrap of paper to write their order on and all you’ve got is a crayon and supermarket receipt. And YES, all of this applies to home based businesses as much as shop based one. Nothing about being based at home means, “operates in an unprofessional manner,” unless you make it that way.
5. Certificates – If you won an award at a cake show, registered your business properly, appeared on a cake website, took some classes or in some way got an official “Yay You!” from a third party, say it loud and proud! Show those badges on your website, hang those certificates on your wall, say it in your marketing – “We got 4 stars at our recent Council review!” “We won Cake of the Week!” Don’t hide your accomplishments from people.
Your clients will pay what you’re worth once you’ve done the work to show them WHY you’re worth it. You’ve got to build the reputation that will make them confident to order from you. This past weekend in my business class, someone shared a story about how she screwed up a client’s order. The client not only refused a refund, but came back to order from her time and time again. WHY? Because she’d already proven her worth. They had the confidence and trust in her to realise that the screw-up was a single, isolated event and not an indication of what they could or should expect from her. She also dealt with the situation calmly and professionally – again proving to them her worth. They paid her for that order and will continue to order because she’s build the reputation which PROVES to them that she’s worth it.
Today, ask yourself this –
What have I done lately to prove to my customers that I’m worth it?
(Hint: Just making amazing creations isn’t good enough in the long run.)
Want to learn how to price AND how to tell people that price? Enrol in Confident Pricing today!