4 Elements That Guarantee You’ll Charge What You’re Actually Worth

October 2, 2018

Pricing yourself is one of the hardest parts of owning a business. Charging too much or too little causes stress.

What if you’re charging too much? You could be missing out on inquiries and clients. It can put you in a part of your industry you may not be just ready for yet.

But if you’re priced too low, you’ll be busy but with clients that undervalue your skill and work. They usually steamroll you because they don’t see you as the expert you are.

So how do you actually price yourself in a way that doesn’t hurt your business?

There are multiple factors in doing so that I’ve discovered and used over the last year. They’ve been helping me so much to not only feel like I’m priced correctly in my market but when I tell a potential client what their investment will be, I’m more than confident to let them know. So let’s dive into the ways you can feel like a pricing badass.

Note: We all are on a journey called business ownership. Your pricing is gonna change a lot over this time. There is no shame in starting at a lower price point and working up from there.

Do not look at other people’s pricing. Don’t do it!

I’m so guilty of this in the first 3 years of business…it’s just how long it took me to figure this one out. Looking at what others charge in your industry or niche does nothing to get you closer to finding your price. There’s only 2 ways it can go: you think, “I’m more experienced than her, how is she able to charge that much?” Or you’ve got the other side of the coin. “I have more experience than her and she’s priced this low, so I can charge this much more.”

Comparison just leads to uncertainty when you’re working through your own pricing. If you look outside your business, when will you ever truly fit into a magic box where people contact you and say, “yep, that price is right where it should be!” Depend on you. Focus on your worth. So let’s breakdown how to do that.

1. How much experience do you have?

This is sometimes a tough question to ask ourselves and give a truthful answer. We wouldn’t be in business if we didn’t think highly of ourselves. I mean you pursue your passion and decide to make a living from it. That’s an amazing feat! But are you newer in your industry? Have you sought out additional education? Are there ideal clients in your portfolio?

It’s hard to admit that we may not be ready to charge premium pricing, but understanding why helps you to seek out the elements you may be missing. You can take some courses, create concept portfolio projects, and connect with others in your industry you look up to, building your network with inspiring people. This is a great way to figure out your hourly rate, too.

2. How much value do you give to your clients?

When we think of value, we think of what is included in our packages. “I give a client x, y, and z and that is how I’ll price this package.” Most people in the same industry offer the exact same things. How many photographers offer albums as add-ons? How many brand designers include collateral design? There is so much overlap on the deliverables, that is not where you’ll stand out. You should definitely begin with what you offer. But then you need to think about how you offer those items.

When pricing my own packages, I began with my deliverables. Then I looked at my process and the way I worked with my clients. I use a client dashboard that streamlines our entire process. I provide strategy which most website creators don’t offer. I make myself available so that I can answer clients as quickly as possible. And after I finish a project, I stay in touch and offer clients time to help with their maintenance if it’s a bigger change than what is covered in their personal tutorial video. I know the experience I provide is worth more to my clients. The people that want to book me are busy and need a simple journey through their project, and I’m able to provide that.

For this step, think of ways you can either add on unique offerings in your packages that further help your clients or how you can make the whole timeline working with you simplified and enjoyable.

3. Your own business matters

Investing money back into our business sometimes feels like it doesn’t make sense. You’re trying to make money, am I right? But here’s the thing. You want to raise your prices and charge more. When you think of brands that you’re willing to dish out the big bucks for, do they have a DIY brand? Is their website a template? Do they have unfocused messaging and badly lit photographs in their marketing?

Your brand matters so much. Not just the brand visuals. Your website, message, images, strategy…it all matters. When you invest in your own business, you will see a return on your investment. Whether it’s a full refresh, coaching, or courses, you’re adding value to your business and to the clients that work with you. Subpar branding can sap all the confidence you have in your business. No one wants to book someone that feels embarrassed sharing their pricing. Elevate your business in order to elevate your prices.

4. How much do you want to make?

This is the big one that brought me the most clarity. Ask yourself: how much money do you need to earn to live the life you want right now? I bet your number is smaller than you think. But this helps so much when factoring your pricing.

  • You’re going to of course divide the amount by 12 so you know how much you’ll need each month.
  • Then you’ll want to divide that number by the current cost of your packages. This will tell you how many new clients you’ll need to book a month to get to the ideal number, after factoring the money you know is coming in (like from client’s payment plans).
  • If this number of needed projects is too big, where you’d be working 24/7, consider raising your prices or taking the steps we’ve discussed to do so.
  • Lastly, make sure you’re taking taxes into account. Don’t wanna forget those!

This formula is simple and it doesn’t give you a concrete number for your pricing, but with the other factors, you will get to a price that you feel confident about and that you’re charging your worth. And when it’s time to raise your prices again, you can use the same steps to figure out your new value.

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  1. Nicole says:

    This is so helpful! I struggle constantly with this, and I’m very guilty of playing the comparison game and just basing my prices on other people’s packages.

  2. Taira Adair says:

    So so helpful!! I need to take a closer look at what I’m charging for sure!

  3. Such great tips on pricing, I wish all photographers applied this to their business so we could all charge accordingly. I need to take another look at my pricing and take your advice!

    • Stefani says:

      Thanks so much! I agree, I wish more industries priced according to their own value rather than what they see around them. It’d really help with consumers and clients I think because they’ll be booking someone in their price range that can deliver what that price point should be in terms of value.

  4. Giada says:

    This is lovely written and so helpful, thank you! I like to also consider my ideal clientele budget as I have a clear idea of what my ideal client looks like. It’s easier said than done though! Finding a balance between all this is tough and mine is definitely still a work in progress.

    • Stefani says:

      Knowing your ideal client definitely is a part of pricing as well. You want to make sure though that you are keeping your value and what you offer first in mind. Your ideal client will have a budget. But if you either price too low and find out too late that your ideal client is in a higher price point or too high and you’re not able to provide the value associated with that amount of money, you can definitely get a headache. Haha. It’s always gonna be changing but I’m so glad you’re working towards finding a sweet spot that works well for you!

  5. Great article. Pricing is such a big issue in the sustainability of our industry. We all need to be charging for our worth and experience.

    • Stefani says:

      Exactly! We’d all be more happy with what we were making if we felt we had more control over it. Charge your worth. And if you want to charge more, make yourself more valuable. Super simple!

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