Service providers often ask, “How much should I charge for this service?” Unfortunately, they’re too often advised incorrectly — to either charge not enough, too much, or base their fees on what others are doing. As a result, being underpaid (from not charging enough) or unable to sell their services (because they don’t truly believe in the pricing) keeps them from getting ahead, forces them to work too much, and overall, makes them feel stuck in their business, their income level, and their lives.
How you get paid for what you do is probably the single biggest influencer of how much you love your work — and whether you can build a sustainable income. When you have a process in place for pricing and packaging your services in true alignment — rather than just picking numbers out of thin air, or pricing based on what your competitors charge — you are able to confidently engage clients. And, if you work for someone else, you can negotiate your pay (plus future increases) from a place of empowered clarity.
This is the philosophy behind the Money Map™ system for pricing and packaging your services. The goal is to work sustainably, and in such a way that you feel in total alignment with your fees, and as a result, engage more happy clients and love your work more.
To learn more, head on over to the Money Map Life Planning Series. It’s a four-part mini-course that takes you through the process of discovering your own “Money Map Number” and your “Entrepreneurial Archetype.” So, whether you’re analyzing your sales model or looking to negotiate a sweet pay raise, you’ll be armed with the resources your need.
Have you been pricing and packaging your services based upon the going rate in your field? I call this the “competition model.” This model usually results in a race to the bottom mentality (i.e., who can charge the least?). It won’t lead you to a life you want, by any means.
Or, maybe you price your services too low on purpose — using what I call the “loss leader model”. You charge as little as possible, such that you can get by without being on the hook for doing that good of a job (think: “I don’t charge enough to answer calls after hours”). But, you’re struggling to get by and wondering how you can possibly make more.
Perhaps you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum: You’ve been pricing your services by charging as much as you can. I call this the “suck as much as possible out of the marketplace model” of pricing. This model usually results in some level of incongruity between your pricing and the number of clients you actually serve. Your client base is too small, and you receive a lot of refund requests or pushback on your fees. You may be wondering if you are actually providing value, but you’re so focused on building a million-dollar business that you feel like there’s no room for change.
None of these strategies lead to pricing and packaging of your services that feels awesome and leads to a steady flow of clients you can count on. Instead, they lead to you struggling, straining, stressing out about your income, and having a lot less to invest in your creative output.
So, what’s the better way?
Start by pricing your services based on the least you can charge for you to have what Lynne Twist refers to in her best-selling book, The Soul of Money, as “sufficiency.” Sufficiency means knowing what you actually need to have the life you want and then building your income to meet that need.
Twist writes, “Sufficiency is precise. Enough is a place you can arrive at and dwell in. So often we think of ‘abundance’ as the point at which we’ll know we’ve really arrived, but abundance continues to be elusive if we think we’ll find it in some excessive amount of something.”
So we begin there. Sufficiency. Enough. Earning what you need to have the life you want by delivering a service you believe in that’s priced just right. The foundation is the life you want and this, my friends, is where most people get stuck.
We are mostly deluded about the lives we really want. We do not acknowledge our true desires (and what it really costs to have them) because our true desires feel too outrageous, expensive, or downright impossible. Or, we chase lives we can never possibly satisfy, always wanting more and more when the truth is, it will never be enough.
So, the process of pricing your services based on sufficiency must begin with the truth about what you really want, along with an understanding of what it will actually cost to have it and the real time you have available to create it.
Begin discovering what you need to know to price and package your services confidently (your Money Map Numbers and Entrepreneurial Archetype) by using the Money Map Life Planning Series. It’s free to get started here.
Ali Neely is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.