It seems logical to think LOW these days.

After all, the economic roller coaster ride we’ve been on has left some business owners a wee bit nauseous.

Add to that the 24/7 media fear parade, and you end up with a hostile environment for the average solopreneur.

So, if business is down or if you’re just not bringing in enough cash…

…then yes, it would seem logical to respond to that outward assault by joining in the collective cowering, playing a little smaller, and keeping your prices way down.

Hey, you have to compete, right?

What better way to compete than by lowering your prices, right?

Well, actually, NOT right.

Wrong, in fact.

For at least three reasons…

(And as it turns out, there’s LOTS of better ways to compete. But we’ll get to that.)

Reason Number One

(and here, I am stating the obvious, yet it’s amazing to me how many people forget this one)

your business is SUPPOSED to make money.

Many solopreneurs got into business because they love what they do.  They’d do it for free they love it so much.

And when the talk turns to money, all their “stuff” comes up.

So, pricing themselves low turns out not to be a competitive strategy at all.

Turns out their low prices are merely a convenient way for them to avoid their fear of charging what they’re worth.

If that rings true, here’s a reminder:

Regardless of your LIFE purpose (or passion) — the purpose of YOUR BUSINESS is to make money.

And unless there’s a very good strategy behind being the cheapest “X” in your industry, there’s NO good reason to be a commodity and go for cheap.  You are not a tube of toothpaste or a pack of batteries or a box of tampons.

Second Reason…

In most cases, bargain hunters make terrible clients.

Do you really want a client who went on a long search for the cheapest life coach she could possibly find?  How invested do you think this client will be in her own long-term results?

Here’s what I mean…

Many years ago, I offered three-day personal growth retreats for women.  (Yes, I was still doing my rock star thing – but even back then, my passion was helping people Uplevel their lives.)

At first, I didn’t know what to charge so I went for “cheap.” I looked around at what other people charged for retreats, and I went lower.

Slight problem, though…

At each retreat, there were always several women who – in the middle of the activities on the second day – would leave to go shopping downtown.

They completely abandoned the group and had no interest in doing any of the work I was teaching.

They just wanted new shoes.

While there’s nothing wrong with that – it certainly wasn’t the kind of person I wanted at my retreats.

When I raised the prices of the retreats (significantly), I no longer attracted the day-shopper ladies.  I only attracted the people who truly wanted to get results.

And I learned a huge truth about money…

Money is a channel for the most powerful energy on the planet:

Commitment.

If someone is not committed enough to her own growth, passion, fun, health, wealth or business to INVEST in it through working with you…

…then most likely, she will check out to go shoe shopping halfway through your work with her.

The third reason that cheap is wrong is that it’s just plain lazy thinking.

You are SO much smarter than that tired old solution of pricing yourself low.

Being the cheapest or having the very best deal?

Yawn!

That’s like your lizard brain just took over your marketing department.

Don’t let your lizard brain take over your marketing department.

So then, let’s revisit our original question…

Should you raise your prices?

Yes, you should.

You absolutely should.

I’ll bet you a thousand bucks you don’t charge enough for what you do.

(And keep reading because I WILL follow through on this bet at the bottom of this post.)

Will it be scary?

Probably.

But let’s at least get you started, okay?

Here are three strategies to help you when it comes to raising your prices…

Strategy #1 – Christine’s Law of “Stretch, Don’t Splatter.”

When I first begin working with a client, she will often fight me tooth and nail about raising her prices.

She will invariably list her reasons:

• Her prospects will run away screaming.

• Her clients will set her office on fire.

• Her dad never liked her.

• Her business is different.

• She is a unique snowflake and no one understands how hard it is to be her.

• Her industry will shun her.

• Her friends will talk about her behind her back.

As you can see, we have a few mindset issues to contend with.

I never blow off mindset issues.

In fact, running a business is more about mindset than anything else – so it’s important to give yourself a break when the fear monsters go on a rampage.

“Stretch, Don’t Splatter” means that when you raise your prices, make sure that the price you choose is scary – but doesn’t completely splatter your brain.

An example:

One of my Platinum mastermind clients offered her first group program on-line.  Before this, she had worked solely with private clients.

She could not grasp charging more than $197 for her program.  I encouraged her to go higher – (her program is amazing!) – but she couldn’t do it.   $197 scared her and stretched her.

So, that’s where we started.

It sold out.

Once she experienced the success of her stretch, she more than tripled her pricing.  She told me, “I get it now!  I just had to see how this works!”

If I had pushed her too hard, she would’ve splattered.  She would’ve been incongruent and wouldn’t sell anyone into her program.

And I know what you’re thinking…

But Christine! This advice directly contradicts all the marketing gurus out there!

Yes, it does. Many of these experts will add zeros to your pricing without batting an eye and tell you to suck it up and play big.

Sadly, I have witnessed firsthand the wreckage that lies in the wake of such hasty advice.  Too many business owners are left disillusioned when they crank their prices beyond their own ability to handle it.

“Stretch, Don’t Splatter” means make it uncomfortable – but do not push yourself into losing your ability to sell.

It’s a fine line.

And it sure helps to have someone like me there to hold your hand when you first do it.

(In the meantime, I can promise that your clients will not set your office on fire.)

Strategy #2 – If someone doesn’t see the value in what you do, then the burden is on YOU to educate that person.

This is called marketing.

Plain and simple.

As a business owner, this is your job.

Your job is to educate.

Educating does not mean convincing them to buy from you.

Educating means providing value in high content blog posts.

It means sharing the story of your client who got her dream job because you helped her Uplevel her resume and caught some major mistakes she was making in her interviews.

It means writing articles or giving a seminar.

It means you are always marketing by giving away content.

In other words, marketing means teaching people all the things you think they should just freakin’ know already!

Strategy #3 – Learn some good old-fashioned pricing strategy.

Let’s say you work 40 billable hours per week.

(Yes, you still spend another 20 or so on the administrative stuff you shouldn’t be doing. But that’s another post for another day.)

Let’s say you raise your prices to $250/hour.

“Awesome!” you think. “That’s $10K per week! I’ll take it!”  (After all, if you take 2 weeks of vacation, that’s $500K per year!)

Not trying to rain on your little money parade – but you’ve got some big problems here…

For one thing, you’ve reached your ceiling.

Unless you keep charging more and more per hour, your ceiling is limited by the amount of hours you’re willing to work.

Slowly, but surely, that happy little $500K per year will lead to burn out.  Your operating expenses (as well as your ever-growing need for medication) will begin to suck you dry.

So, take this advice and run with it:

From now on, dollars per hour is your least favorite way to charge.  It has way too many limits.

And this is where pricing strategy gets fun.

Pricing strategy means that you ditch the hours-for-dollars treadmill, you think in terms of value and results and you creatively put together more strategic programs, packages and products.  (And you work A LOT less.)

Apply great pricing strategies to your work and watch your whole world open up.

And that brings me to the good news…

The economy is picking back up.

Things are getting rolling again.

It’s a great time to Uplevel your offers and your strategies. (And raise your prices!)

The bad news is this:

If you still insist on remaining in the fetal position and letting your fear dictate your pricing and your business, then you’ll miss out big time.

And I know some of you will stop reading now.

You’re nodding your head and saying what you always say when you come across something that could radically change your whole life… “I should think about this some more.”

You will then crawl back into the haze of Facebook, knowing in your heart that this post was the closest you’ll get to the door marked “Exit” in your comfort zone for all of 2012.

That’s fine.

Fear takes on many different forms, including distraction. I’ve been there too.

So, I’m talking to those of you who are still reading, and who are saying, “I’m all ears.”

You know the opportunities are out there for the taking. (We’ve all got some of those.)

And you know there are some demons and hurdles as well. (We’ve all got those too.)

And you know that getting some solid marketing and business strategy would rock your world.

And so would a little bit of hand-holding.

Not to mention some bad-ass field-tested demon-busting, hurdle-eradicating tactics!

Well, you’ll get all of that and LOTS more.

Here’s how…

I’ve got this new DVD.  It’s called “5 Fast Ways to Make Money Now.”

In it, I walk you step-by-step through 5 different pricing strategies — all very do-able and easy.

In it, I show you how to make more money, how to do it authentically, and how to apply it to your business. (Yes, even if you’re a unique snowflake!)

I also share how to blast through the mindset crap that comes up with each strategy.

And I want to send this DVD to you totally free, no strings attached.

Why am I giving this away?

Well, I have this little thing called a mission…

I love to get people truly fired up about what they do. I like to show them what’s possible. It’s my WHY.

So, here’s the link:

http://uplevelyou.com

And with that, here’s this:

Raise your prices.

Jump at your opportunities.

And, yes, UPLEVEL your Business!

Leave your comments or questions if you have ’em…

18 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Susan Carey

    great ..I always struggle with under pricing.I am about to organize my first `professional retreat`-I`ve done others for a cause- so this is timely-thanks

  • Sylvia

    Hi Christine,
    You are such an inspiration…. I’m a long-time fan. Your tips and suggestions are in EXACT alignment with my passion for helping women experience life as their most confident and stylish self.
    Just wanted to say thank you. THANK YOU!
    I signed up for the DVD, and am certain your suggestions will be powerful!

    truly,
    Sylvia

  • Merrily Talbott

    Christine, I have a question about the idea that “if someone is looking for cheap, you don’t want that client anyway.” I totally get what you’re saying about charging what you’re worth and that you’ve got to work through mindsets when your resistance to raising your prices comes up, and that the clients you get will be more committed because they’ve really invested in your program. That all makes sense. What I need help understanding is this: what about the thousands (tens of thousands? more?) of people who are hard-working, committed, and would love to do a program, but they are on public assistance, single moms, don’t come from wealthy families and can’t qualify for a loan–whatever. I know you don’t offer any scholarships for your programs because when I asked if you offered any, your team person responded by saying you just had gotten too many requests for them and the solution was to just not offer any. It almost seems as if you’ve made a decision that you want only upper-middle class and wealthy clients. That’s your right, but what do you say to your clients who think differently, who care about offering something for those dedicated peeps who truly “cannot afford it.” Do you see a way besides an ability to pay high prices that would demonstrate a person’s commitment? I was so confused by your team member’s response to my question and would love to hear directly from you your thoughts on this topic. I live in an economically disadvantaged area and would like to serve the good people I know cannot afford what I’d like to charge. Perhaps this is a longer conversation than this comment board will allow. It’s just that I’ve been following you for years and I’ve never seen this question asked or addressed. Thanks!

    • Christine Kane

      Hi Merilee,

      Thanks for taking the time to so clearly and kindly express your thoughts and questions here.

      So – your question is about the tens of thousands of people who would love to do a program but are on public assistance, and other situations that prevent them from investing in this right now…

      Well, for one thing, this is exactly why I offer this blog. There are over 500 free articles covering the basics of my programs and give clear starting points for anyone to join in.

      My newest DVD (5 Fast Ways to Make Money Now) is also free – and I’ve heard back already from many people who have reported jumps in income as high as $18K from that DVD alone. I also offer free trainings, video series, eBooks and even worksheets people can download and begin implementing right away!

      So, my response is that I DO provide lots of free items for people who want to begin on their journey. This is how I first began before I could ever hire a coach. And I’m very proud of how much content I put out there to give people that support.

      I have also offered scholarship slots at my retreats . The challenge is that the person still has to pay for travel, which many are not able to do. We are looking at offering all-expense-paid rewards – however, that makes for fewer spaces available!

      Secondly – and this is a tough one for some people to understand – I am NOT the best resource for someone who is struggling financially to the point where they are on public assistance. There are different mindset needs and different structural needs in a business when you are still at that point in your work – and I am not equipped to provide that kind of support.

      Plus – with my year-long masterminds – people need to be able to come to the retreats, hire VA’s, have a website, etc. These take more investment. So even if I had scholarship business owners in such programs — if they aren’t able to invest in their business in these arenas, the entire year would just be a lame experience for them.

      Again, I am not the best place for someone in this situation to start with. I would refer people to any of Dave Ramsey’s books or some of the myriad brilliant souls who have books and ebooks for people who need those basic beginning steps.

      I hope this sufficiently answers your question! Let me know if you have follow ups!

  • Janie rose

    Dear Christine,
    Today, May 16th, I had my first opportunity to read about your up level LIVE in Atlanta, coming in July. You encouraged me (the reader/student) to quickly get on the band wagon and SIGN UP! You also mentioned the fact that if I did this right away I would get the early early early bird special price. So, I deliberated, checked my calendar, talked to my husband (all in a matter of 5 minutes!) and went to the site to sign up. BIG STEP FOR ME. So what did I find on your site when I logged on, “sorry but the Early Bird is no longer accepting applicants”. Really? Christine, I’m an extremely disappointed devotee. Janie Rose

    • Christine Kane

      Janie – The early bird offer was back in April! So sorry. I have to change this blog post. I’ll have Meredith reach out to you to see how we can make it up to you!

  • Erika Awakening

    Hey Christine,

    This is actually the first time I’ve ever been to your site. A friend of mine mentioned it to me, and this was the first article that I landed upon. Wow, I couldn’t agree more. I pretty much learned this through intuition and trial and error because virtually everyone in the community I “grew up in” as a blogger was undercharging. I had no biz experience, and I started raising my rates out of pure frustration after noticing exactly what you are pointing out:

    1) you don’t want the cheap clients, their unwillingness to invest in themselves is a reflection of severe worthiness issues that they will take out on anyone who tries to help them – as far as I’m concerned, God takes care of waking these people up, and they can come by for coaching from me when their attitude has changed!!

    2) I got out a calculator because at that time I was working as a lawyer with a pretty good income. And I was horrified to see how many client hours I would have to put in at the “going rate” to make up the income I’d lose by leaving my job. “How are people living like this?” was my main thought. And then, “well geez I am NOT going to live like that.” I mean, it didn’t even account for the immense number of unpaid hours that go into the marketing and the sales.

    3) Over time, I also realized that – depending what your area of expertise is – working a 40-hour solid week as an entrepreneur really doesn’t work. Much of what I do now is create new products, and this takes an enormous amount of time, money, and energy. If I had a full-time coaching schedule, it would be impossible. Well, I was a little “dense” about this and kept trying to get new clients anyway, so the Universe did me a favor and gave me an involuntary temporary “slow down” in my biz. With the extra time, I did end up creating my first real product, and then suddenly I realized that would sell (freeing up more time). And then I could see that if I wanted to create more products and continue that trend, it was essential I only take on a few private clients at a time. That made it MUCH easier to raise my rates.

    I also just want to affirm for those who may be reading who may be skeptical – what Christine is recommending to you ACTUALLY WORKS. There were so many naysayers who told me that nobody would pay the rates I was charging (and that was several levels of price-raising ago). They were DEAD WRONG.

    So … hold out for what you are really worth, ladies and gentlemen. You will have more energy for really being creative in your business, you’ll probably give better service to your clients (because you won’t be angry all the time about money!!), and believe it or not, your clients WILL get better results because they made a meaningful commitment.

    Thanks for a very refreshing article. Right on the money 😉

    cheers,
    Erika Awakening

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Erika! Great additional comments (and life experience!) #3 is so true – that we sometimes keep trying to get clients (or gigs or whatever!) out of habit and ego – when we really need to give ourselves that time and space to create something that will, in the long run, help more people and create more income. I see many people holding onto that ledge and refusing to let go!

  • Lisa

    Christine,
    I was just thinking about this topic as I drove home from a cranio-sacral session with a guy in my town who really knows his stuff and is considered the best in town. I called him and asked him about a sliding scale and he offered to gift me three sessions. I’ve also worked longer term with a Hakomi therapist and a voice teacher who were both highly skilled and respected in their fields and who worked with me for a reduced price to make it affordable for me. I was a responsible and hardworking client with both of them and both associations yielded positive results.
    I’m aware in my own work that there can definitely be a kind of downward energetic/results spiral of pricing yourself too low. I think there is a lot of merit in what you say, and I’ve been reading your blog for years because I get a lot from your writing. But nowhere in your article did you mention the goal of serving people who genuinely can’t afford higher prices but would make excellent use of the work. I know of some business owners, like the cranio-sacral practitioner I mentioned, who charge a higher price to most clients but also give something away. I don’t have my own business now, but when I have I always gave something away because that seemed like part of the sacred path of whatever work I was doing, and not just for marketing purposes. It always felt good to be able to do that and wasn’t part of any negativity or failure in the business.
    I’m not sure I’m articulating myself well, but I’m wondering if you think there’s a place for serving people who are committed, but genuinely cannot afford higher prices at a given time in their lives.

    • Christine Kane

      Lisa – Absolutely!

      I have gifted and scholarshipped some items. The choice is completely up to the business owner.

      But too often, I see people discounting and going free because they don’t value the enormous results their work brings into people’s lives – and it actually does a disservice because your client doesn’t get a chance to experience the joy of investing in themselves and their own results…

      There are many people who will argue with me on this. I know that.

      My clients who want to serve people who don’t always have the cash will work with me to create specialized packages, payment plans and even some free access points. It’s do-able. But at the end of the day – if you want your business to thrive, you do need to understand pricing as a strategy and as a necessity for building your business. Otherwise, you just have a job – which can lead to burn out. And ultimately you end up serving no one.

  • Jessica

    I am working on pricing some new packages right now, so this post came at the right time. I was told that services and products should be packaged/priced separately. But isn’t the allure of a package the combination of product and services to best fit your client?
    For example, if I am selling a educational consulting package for groups of teachers, they would get an e-book, activity guide, a skype session with me, a phone call with me and email (unlimited?) support. Is this too much for one package? Should unlimited email support be sold as a separate package? Just wondering if you, Christine, or anyone else has any insight on package product vs. service.
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Christine Kane

      Jessica – I like putting multiple elements in one big package. Just make sure that you’re not firehosing people so they feel overwhelmed just looking at what’s included! And unlimited email support would be something I would include in the highest level – not as an add-on.. And of course — it TOTALLY depends on your business model. (In Uplevel your Business I teach a whole module on packaging alone – so this is a BIG topic. Hope this gets you started though!)

      • Jessica

        Thanks, Christine! Yes, it sure is a big topic. I appreciate the advice.

  • Samjhana Moon

    Dear Christine I have to thank you for this and your many other blogs that are a constant source of inspiration. This one arrived in my inbox with such synchronicity. I’d just finished a call with a friend who suggested that if I lowered my prices I might be fully booked instead of 50% booked. I’m a photographer and a fine one too, I have vision and women who commit to a session with me experience transformation through the magic that nature brings.
    There are so many people posing as professionals these days without actually mastering their art. They undercharge and bring down the quality of service for the Pros, by doing this they run the risk of bringing down their own industry! I could never sell my services if I didn’t believe they were the very best. It can be really tough getting the ‘value’ message across sometimes.

    If you’re ever in the UK I’d love to meet you and offer you the opportunity to experience a Goddess Portrait Session. Thanks again for your utter brilliance. Peace and blessings. Samjhana Moon xxx

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Samjhana –

      Here’s my thing about “non-experts” and “non-masters” diluting the field… when you market yourself well and when you can stand in your expert status — there really is no worry for diluting the field. Your work, your marketing, your products, your results – and the entire client experience speaks for itself. When someone wants to “go cheap” – you don’t want that client anyway – and they will get what they pay for. It’s crucial to really watch your mindset on this and stay clear about your own mastery and skill. And thanks for the offer if I’m ever in the UK! (Why don’t you come to the states for Uplevel Your Business??? There’s always a handful of people from the UK in the crowd – and we love em!)

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