Wednesday Words

To Go Where Your VisionPoints, a few inspiration points for you and your business.

If the other fellow sells cheaper than you, it is called dumping. ‘Course, if you sell cheaper than him, that’s mass production.
—Will Rogers

It’s back—and it never goes away, really. Long, long ago in April, James Chartrand at Men With Pens led a lively discussion about pricing and ethical guidelines for freelance writers which I jumped right in on because it’s clear from my experience that this is an issue for almost any business, not only for freelancers.

I mean, hamburgers that run over $100? How do you know what to charge for your service or product when there’s so much variation? What’s the real issue?

Hunter Nuttall, who’s not one to complain, sent a serious and heartfelt email exploring the issue to Naomi Dunford at IttyBiz, and the heat is on again.

Now, really. Some of you have weighed in on “good” and “bad” pricing at Men With Pens or IttyBiz—if you haven’t read those two articles and the comment sections, please do, they’re great. I don’t want to go there.

Here’s a snippet of what I said back in April at MWP, and this is what I’m thinking about again today:

If the rates you charge go up significantly…. [the] kinds of clients you can work with would change greatly. (You know that.)

If you know what problem you alone can solve for your customer, then your pricing is right in front of you.

$100 burgers (temporarily) solve boredom and narcissism, not hunger. A mere $4 burger can’t do that.

A three-year, $250,000 consulting job that resulted in a terrible new tagline for the state of Delaware in 2005? “We paid big money, so it’s good.” (That’s my Ideal Customer, next time they’re looking. Whew!) Plenty of companies would have charged hundreds to a few thousand dollars, but the consultants on that job were paid to cover-your-… oh, you know. Yes, that’s an Ideal Solution for some customers.

My question to you: Are you charging to make a living, charging what you can, or charging to attract and keep your Ideal Customer?

Because if you ask me, it isn’t ethics and it isn’t greed. Pricing is marketing, and a major part of the Customer Experience. You’re making a choice that tells the customer how to feel about your company.

I’m not telling you what to charge, but don’t just throw it out and see what sticks. Plan it, and know why. Design your pricing with a clear purpose.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson