Okay, so one of the big themes on this blog is biggification — the art of putting yourself out there and growing that cool thing you do (or want to do) — and how to do that mindfully.

And one of the scariest parts of mindful biggification is pricing.

Pricing as in: choosing or recognizing what you want to charge for the things you offer, and feeling okay with it. Or maybe even good about it.

I could probably write posts about pricing every single day for a year without running out of stuff to say about it, so I’m feeling a little unsure about how to narrow this the heck down to make the specific points I want to make today. Oh, well.

Here’s the short version:

1. Yeah, pricing. Scary stuff.
2. Comparison-based thinking will always get you down.
3. The help you need on this is internal, not external.
4. There will always be other people whose “stuff” is really, really loud.
5. It’s all about you. It’s also not about you.

Shall we?

1. Yeah, pricing. Scary stuff.

We all have issues around money that we need to work through and process like crazy in order to be happy and successful in business.

Having a business or project or some entrepreneurial something or other is the best (and hardest) therapy there is, because it throws you right in to a really intense self-work process.

You pretty much have to be in this process because if you don’t deal with your stuff — i.e. your frightened, overwhelmed, hurt, resentful, unintentionally self-destructive stucknesses — you get bogged down and can’t do the thing.

And doing the thing is part of your mission. Plus it makes you money. You want to do the thing.

So everyone’s dealing with their own personal tangle of “am I good enough?” and “I don’t want to be a jerk” and “I don’t want to undersell” and “when will I start thinking I’m worth it?” and all that stuff. A ton of fear comes out in pricing.

Naomi and I are going to be devoting a lot of energy to this theme in our non-gross self-promotion for people who hate self-promotion course, because ignoring it can cause major resistance and stuckification in your business.

Seriously, at least half the time when you’re procrastinating it’s because this stuff is skulking under the surface and you’re just not dealing with it. Avoidance patterns are normal, of course, but they don’t exactly help you do your best work.

2. Comparison-based thinking will always get you down.

So you’re craving some safety and reassurance and you start looking around to find out what everyone else is doing. You figure, “Oh, I’ll just do stuff the way they do because that’s safer.” You decide you’ll charge the same as them or maybe a little less.

Oh honey, not a good idea.

I know, it’s really tempting. And I know, it’s what pretty much all the experts say to do. And yes, occasionally it’s useful to know the range. But comparison-based thinking will ultimately leave you feeling hurt and confused.

Which doesn’t really do much for your stuck, stuck patterns.

For one thing, this course Naomi and I are doing? We’re definitely at the low end of the scale. But the scale is enormous. Prices in the internet world for a six week online course can range from $79 to $1200. Sorry, $1199. Whatever. Point is: that’s a pretty big range.

So then you’d end up going into the whole “how biggified am I compared with how biggified are they” comparison thing and it’s exhausting and bad for your soul.

You start thinking, but wait, ours comes with genius ideas and big crazy support. But wait, theirs comes with blah blah blah. But mine … but theirs … No good.

You still haven’t given your inner stucknesses the attention and love they’re clamoring for. So they’re not going to stop the yammering freak-out-fest any time soon.

Here’s another thing. Comparison takes you away from yourself. As my friend Mark Silver — wacky ultimate-frisbee playing Sufi business genius says (quoting some Sufi saying) “Comparison is from the devil.”

Devil or no devil, it’s looking to external factors for an internal answer. And sorry, inner wisdom trumps all other cards.

3. The help you need on this is internal, not external.

Your body is smart. It knows things you don’t know. Excuse me while I go into wacky hippie gobbledygook for a minute but there’s wisdom in your muscles and in your heart and in your neurons that (most of the time) you’re just not accessing.

Why not? Your focus is outside. Busy with comparison. And analysis. Actively or passively repressing all that internal knowledge of sometimes uncomfortable things you know and feel. That’s the external.

Pricing seems like it should be an external process (it’s the market, right?) but it’s actually an internal process.

Mark talks a lot about pricing resonance, which turns out to be a very helpful term. The idea is that sometimes someone else’s price feels right. And sometimes it doesn’t.

When it feels right it’s never about whether the sum itself is a lot or a little. That part isn’t relevant. $250,000 might feel right for a certain house while $2.50 might feel like way, way, way too much for a cup of tea that isn’t even very good in a really loud, annoying cafe.

Resonance is always situational. You feel it or you don’t. And your goal in setting your prices is that your right people — the people you really want to serve — feel it too. They get that “mmmmm, yeah, that’s exactly what it should cost” vibration.

Mark teaches a really, really cool exercise for testing pricing resonance and getting to your right price, whatever it is. I use my own wacky version of this exercise for my products and programs, and it’s saved me hours and days of agonizing. And yes, when your price is the “right price”, more sales happen.

So when Naomi and I started working on our course, at the pricing point I had to stop and say, “Sorry, do you mind if we do something that’s just a leeetle bit wacky?”

And Naomi, for all of her hard-ass potty-mouth ways, is totally up for wacky, even though she’ll probably smack me around for saying that out loud (bring it on, baby). She can handle the wacky.

Anyway, we went way, way internal on this one, and we got the resonance.

For this program — the one that was designed specifically for for a certain type of person who reads our blogs. For someone who will never take the $1200 version of this type of course. For someone who is so in the stuck that this would be a big, madcap, joyous, welcome space for them to do some untangling and start moving.

The crazy thing is that we worked it out separately, writing down the numbers that were really feeling right and the ones that weren’t so good … and our results were practically identical.

Seriously. We weren’t just in a resonant state with ourselves, we were in resonance with each other. We were never more than $5 apart with any possible price.

And, as it turns out, we were in resonance with our right people.

4. There will always be other people whose “stuff” is really, really loud.

Here’s how I know we were resonant:

1. The VIP seats got snapped up in less than 36 hours (we actually just decided to allow eight more people in because people complained, and three of those spots are already gone).

2. A ton of people have emailed me to say how elated they are that we’re doing this and how it just feels right. Even people who can’t afford to take the course right now are saying this. That’s resonance.

3. I can feel it. In my heart. It’s a warm, steady, buzz that is so, so right.

Now, not everyone is going to feel it. And people who have stuck stuff of their own are going to show up too.

That’s one of the reasons so many smart, creative people freak out about pricing. Because they don’t want to hear “Hey, that’s too much!” Fear of criticism is even stronger than fear of getting the pricing wrong — and that’s enough to stop a lot of people from even offering the thing in the first place.

So yeah. Though I hate to say it, there will be people who don’t like your prices. Naomi talked the other day about how to be strategic about pricing and she said we’d gotten letters from people saying that our awesome course is too cheap.

I’m not sure how much mail she gets (probably a ton), but I got exactly one email that said too cheap, one that said argh, too much, I wish I could take this but I can’t and over twenty that specifically said ohmylord this could not be more perfect.

That’s resonance. That’s the power of having done the internal work is that you can trust the resonance. You know it’s the right price. You checked in with yourself and you felt it.

It isn’t going to ring for absolutely everyone, of course — so if you hear from people who aren’t clicking with your price, that’s probably a sign that they’re not your right people.

It’s probably a sign that some part of what you do is just not right for them. Or that it’s bringing up some of their stuff. That’s their stuff.

Is their stuff having an uncomfortable effect on you? Are you feeling worried and insecure because you really need to know that you’re taking care of people? That’s your stuff. Which is okay. You’re allowed to have it. It’s part of the process and it’s normal.

5. It’s all about you. It’s also not about you.

When your stuff comes up, it sucks. Yuck. It’s also a reminder that it’s time to say hi to said stuck stuff and find out what’s going on. To remind yourself that it’s temporary and that you’re allowed to be human and have issues.

That’s the part that’s about you.

That the sign that it’s time to turn inward again and get back into your heart and body. That’s where you remember that you’re allowed to feel vulnerable. That’s also where your strengths are. It’s where you’ll remember what resonance feels like. And you’ll remember that if it’s not resonating with everyone, that’s a good thing.

You want to help your right people. That’s who your right price is for. Anyone who’s not there at this point is going to be helped by someone else — they’re somebody else’s right people. Sometimes it is about you — but mostly? It’s not.

So you work on your stuff and let everyone else work on theirs. The very worst thing that will happen is you’ll get better at trusting the resonance, you’ll practice some compassion and maybe you’ll even feel okay about being nice to yourself once in a while.

That’s it. I’m done talking about pricing.

Internet hugs to all.

And … if you want to grab one of the remaining VIP seats from the new batch — or if you just want to take our awesome, awesome class that deals specifically with these very themes, don’t forget to type havi when the shopping cart asks you for a coupon code. You’ll save $30 that way and yes, I meditated on that and it feels great.

The Fluent Self