Making the whole Pricing Resonance thing work for you.

Remember the art and science of pricing?

Where we talked about the fabulousness that is pricing resonance and also about Mark’s excellent resonant pricing exercise?

So I’ve been doing this stuff with my clients and my Kitchen Table people (and of course with myself) for a while now.

And I really want to talk about some of the crazy-important stuff you want to make sure you keep in mind when you’re trying to figure out what your prices are.

Whether you’re using this concept of pricing resonance or not.*

*You should, though. It rocks.

Things to take into consideration when you come up with your prices.

Thing #1: The invisible time.

When you meet with a client, it’s not just the number of minutes that make up a session.

It’s the prep time. And not just the “reading over your notes” prep time, but the emotional prep time and the energy prep time. And the recovery time.

It’s setting the space, in every way possible.

When you teach a workshop or a course, it’s not just the hours teaching.

It’s curriculum writing and planning and strategizing.

When you create a product (whether it’s an ebook or a business system or an actual tangible thing, there is the big, huge creation process which no one pays you for. You want to build some of that in too.

Plus when you do in-person work, it’s the getting there. Not to mention the returning and the emotional recovery.

A lot of invisible time in there. But there’s actually more invisible time.

Thing #2: The really invisible time.

Otherwise known as Administrative Crap.

(Unless you’re my beloved Cairene who has sweeter, more love-centric words for this process.)

But either way, there is a lot of it. And more than you can necessarily prepare for.

Types of admin stuff that takes time (and money):

  • figuring out what the product/service entails, plus all the details of how people will get it
  • endless email questions
  • credit card processing
  • shopping cart costs
  • customer support craziness
  • returns and cancellations

Someone is going to be doing this stuff, whether it’s you or an assistant. Assume that someone is going to need to get paid for this, even if it’s just you.

Also, keep in mind that over-estimating is not a bad thing.

You might remember that with the three-day workshop I taught in North Carolina last month, for example, I’d estimated admin costs to be 5-7% and allowed for that.

They ended up being a startling 17% of the total intake. Uh huh.

Since I hadn’t built that into my mental assessment of what I would be paying to make this workshop happen, it wasn’t part of my headspace when I went into pricing resonance.*

* Obviously, I couldn’t have known that this particular project would be so complicated, but it gives me information for next time.

Thing #3: The invisible past time.

That hour of service you’re giving isn’t just that hour.

It’s everything that has come together in your life to make you the person you are.

It’s all of your acquired wisdom. All of your experience. All of your insight. All of the abilities and qualities you’ve been developing in a lifetime of being you.

That’s your schooling. Your education.

And just as doctors (in the United States, at least) charge what they do in part because they’re paying off ten years of student loans … you want to at least symbolically acknowledge the complicated, time-consuming path of learning and growing you took to get to where you are.

Because you invested in yourself in big ways to get here.

And you’re still investing in that biggification process with everything you do.

Thing #4: The invisible expenses stuff.

When I did the pricing resonance exercise for my workshops this year, I didn’t have enough information about how much the whole thing would truly cost to set up.

Not the obvious “we need to pay for the space and a plane ticket” bits but other stuff.

So I got resonance on the price, but the number wasn’t enough to actually adequately cover expenses.

Again, you won’t always be able to make an accurate assessment of how much you’re investing to make a thing available to the world. And that’s okay.

Especially not the first time you do a thing.

Flashback to three years ago: Oh! Ebooks need covers! To be designed! By people who can design stuff! Otherwise known as designers. And let’s not mention the formatting. Ohmygod. The formatting.

Normal. But it might help to have in mind the concept of “yeah, we need to build in some extra cushioning here” when you get ready to play around with prices.

That way, before you go into the resonance exercise (you can get Mark’s PDF here if you haven’t already), you have information about what the true minimum is.

The really important bits!

  • Know your resentment number (kiss to Mikelann Valterra for this excellent concept).
  • Remember that systems are fluid. They change. All this stuff you’re learning is more information to help figure out how to make them work better.
  • Ninjas! You need some. An assistant (even for just a couple hours a month) is a Very Useful Thing. Also, people who believe in you. Also, people to remind you to stop working. And who provide you with a safe, comfortable place to hide and cry whenever you need it.

And … the actual point of this whole thing.

Pricing doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

And neither does pricing resonance. It isn’t magic. It doesn’t come out of nowhere. It emerges from ingredients that are already in your head and heart.

So you want to be holding all this information about your project in your heart (administrative weirdnesses and all) when you tune in to find out what the right prices are. It’s a process.

That’s the good part and the challenging part, I guess. :)

Comment zen for today.

All this pricing stuff can be super trigger-ey, I know. So I apologize in advance if something I’ve said or the way I’ve said it has stepped on your stuff.

And I’ll add to that:

We’ve all got our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We try to respond to each other with as much kind-hearted understanding as we can stand. Mensch-like: it’s how we roll. Lou Reed lyrics are always welcome. That’s it. I’ll be quiet now. Comment away!