Things you never forget when starting a business…
I’ll never forget the first time someone asked me, “How much do you charge?”
I was just getting started with my photography business. Breaking away from the nature and landscapes I had shot for so long and starting to offer photography sessions to people. It was all new to me, let alone call it a business, at the time.
My first session I ever did, was my brother’s Senior pictures – free, of course.
My second session, was my brother’s friend’s Senior pictures. I remember telling his mom, “Of course I would take his photos. I’d be happy to!” We’d just figure out the price later… after… no big deal, right?
That morning, excited for my first real photo shoot, I drove an hour to their house, parked behind their truck in the driveway, and tried to sit there, just a little longer, acting like I was getting my gear ready – I was so nervous. After a deep breath – or five – I got out and met him, ready to get started.
We started taking photos with his horse down by their barn, he changed outfits, walked around for different setting, changed again, moved, etc. Over two hours later, I started to wrap up – awkwardly. Since it was just him and I, I didn’t even bring up the cost. I’ll just ask his mom later – again, after… and drove the hour back home to start editing.
Later that week, his parents and I decided to meet at a nearby Chipotle, exchange photos, and have lunch. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what I said…
“So, what do we owe you?” his mom asked me.
“Whatever you think…”
Fast forward 5 years later… I have worked on my photography pricing a lot – multiple times – and will continue to do so! I’ve tested prices and packages, re-vamped, had sales and specials – it really is an on-going exploration in your business!
And, I’ll fully admit:
Pricing is hard!
Plus, you have to be able to have that conversation with people and learn how to grow out of the awkward-stage…
Each time I work on my pricing, I have a dozen or more sheets of paper sprawled across the floor with ideas, costs, research, info, wording/messaging, offers – you name it! I consider different packages – different options. Look back at what has done well. Think about what people have asked for.
I spend hours lost and searching down this paper-trail of notes – almost clues – and like a puzzle, I slowly begin to fit the pieces together, play number games with my calculator, and find the right number to call the price.
So, why not just pick a number? Make something up and run with it?
Because, in order to work yourself out of that awkward-stage of having a conversation about price, you have to be able to fully stand behind your pricing, be confident in the value you are providing, as well as position yourself for success.
I’ve learned so much every time I re-structure my packages and pricing. Although there are many questions to ask yourself and things to consider while pricing, I wanted to share my top go-to tips:
My Top 3 Pricing Tips:
- Know your associated costs. Of course you’ll have your direct costs, but please don’t forget to consider the cost of your mileage/gas, packaging, your time and expertise, etc. Everything that you put into your product/service is a cost – be sure to account for each!
- Know who you want to work with. Understand the person you want to offer your product/service to and where they are in the market – their income, their struggles, what they need/like, etc. This is part of where you position yourself with your competition, which will help you decide if you sit on the low-end (Walmart) or high-end (Chanel) of the market.
- Know what feels right. (They’ll never teach you this one in business school!) I learned this quickly – The price I offered had to feel right to me so that I could be confident offering it. Once I consider the first two, I have to play with the numbers a bit until I find one that I know will be worth my time and be profitable, but also a number that I feel good about offering – one that makes me not shy back into the awkward zone…
And remember, your pricing will not stay the same forever – or maybe even long at all. It is not something you have to get right the first time, and trust me, it is never 100-percent perfect!
Like any journey, allow yourself to explore, to try, to fail, to recreate and begin again, because every time you do, you get closer to mastery!
The cure for awkwardness? Simply start. And keep practicing.
The more you jump into it, develop your pricing, have pricing conversations, and do it all over again, the more you will become confident!
PLUS! I have a FREE Resource for you!
p.s. Still feeling stuck about pricing? Need more help to really dig into your product/service or idea and better understand the things you need to consider to develop a pricing plan that you can feel confident in?
Check out the 30-Day Kickstart Program! Build your business foundation and formulate your Pricing Plan that you get excited about so you can do MORE of what you LOVE!
Is your soul screaming yes at this post? Share your pricing struggles in the comments below! Or share on your social profiles!