“I know you can get it at a lower price. But I also know clients who can pay my price.”

Disclaimer: This article is harsh to the core. You’ve been warned.

Magdalene Kamau (My_Darling)

Every time a client insists on paying less than my quoted price, this response rings in my head.

Don’t get me wrong. I give discounts. I allow some level of bargaining. And sometimes reasonably lower my price. But I also know there are clients who don’t belong in my fold. And that’s ok.

But I ask that they don’t come back crying foul when the low-price service provider delivers a pudgy panda instead of the expected Kung Fu Panda. Fat, but not fit for the job.

‘You get what you pay for.’

I so badly want to retort. But my dead grandma won’t let me. I’m afraid she may return to pinch my thighs.

Lower That Price

… at your own peril.

But this ‘lower the price’ thing isn’t the fault of the client alone. It’s the service provider’s too. Yours, dear solopreneur. Because as much as clients want to pay you a low price, they pay the quoted price for great services. And to confident service providers.

So if you see a client insisting on a lower price, the kind that makes you reduce the number of meals you can have that month, think twice.

First, if they are really your clients. And second, what you will sacrifice to serve them.

Dana the Manna

Meet Dana, a chess teacher in the suburbs of Mombasa. She at first priced her services on a per-session basis. A session took 2 hours. She quoted Sh. 3,000. But her clients, despite appreciating her level of expertise and discipline, insisted on paying her Sh. 3,000 per month.

You would think she met them thrice a month. In your dreams. She met them 5 times a week for 2 hours. A total of 40 hours a month. For Sh. 3,000!

They didn’t give her the fare for the cab.
They didn’t care if she walked to their homes.
They never offered her a glass of water during the sessions.
And the Sh. 3,000 came days late hemmed with laces of grudges.
But they still demanded Kung Fu Panda services the following month!

Your Pain

Let’s evaluate your situation before cursing Dana’s clients.

Are you tempted to deliver a pudgy panda in place of the Kung Fu Panda courtesy of the low pay you get?

Whose fault is it really?

Could it be you were too desperate to get into your client’s wallet when you named your price that you forgot your confidence?

You also forgot you were running a business meaning you must make profits, otherwise, it’s a charity?

Feeling insulted?

Sorry. But no sorry. People, especially your clients, treat you as you have taught them to.

No one seeks the services of an expert without understanding the market rate. At least no sensible person does. And you have no business doing business with a person you deem irrational!

By the time they contact you, they know a thing or two about you. And have formed a perception. They may perceive you as one who is:

Pricey at the start with pushover buttons.
Firmer than the wisdom tooth.
Bendable with snap-back ability.

If the first, they half whatever price you quote. If second, your confidence gets them opening their wallets and assigning you a higher digit on the serious meter. Otherwise, they scoop the free or cheap sessions and let you go as soon as the premium sessions come to play. A use and dump case.

A good reason why you must set your record straight.

Price For Your Value

Price your product right. And stick to it!

Your problem isn’t that the clients bargain too much. No.

Your problem, like Dana, is that you allow them to dance all over you with the bad economy and low-price harp. People pay for what they value.

But have you ever wondered the worst that could happen if you refused to lower the price to their level?

Do you fear they leave you?

Probably.

But you wouldn’t die.

See it this way instead. They would lose the opportunity to learn from the expert truly are. And you would save yourself the pain of operating in an underpriced environment. Plus the temptation to deliver pudgy pandas when funds run low.

See turning down the proposed low price as your salvation when you have studied the market rate, compared your services against other experts', and priced your services to deliver the Kung Fu Panda! Click To Tweet

I speak from experience.

I priced like Dana

For years I took ghost-writing projects where clients swore by 50 cents per word and nothing more. I was always busy. But often with no money and no fame because ghost-writing projects come with a ‘Thou Shalt Not Tell’  NDA attached.

I would run out of resources mid-project and the pudgy panda spirit would rear its ugly head tempting me to fatten the script with filler words. That way I could strike the required number of words fast but with nonsense content. Then pray the client would never see the script for what it was.

That would enable me to trans-night through the next script. Rinse. Repeat!

But then I met a ghostwriter who loved my blog. This blog in particular. They even looked up to me! Their proposals however had an aroma of confidence despite the Sh. 5 per word quote!

I almost swallowed my teeth!

They had mastered the art of seeing their worth and selling their art at the price they believed befitting of their Kung Fu Panda. Without blinking.

And if a client said they knew someone who would take a tenth of the price, meaning me, they wished them well. They even encouraged the client to go and work with the competitor. Because they believed writers who charged peanuts were not in their league.

The ghost-writer would then focus on searching and working for clients who could pay their worth. Then generated the Kung Fu Panda content that feasted on the audience’s attention to its full potential, and then some. As great content should!

The Real Price Problem

So you see, the problem is never the client. Nor is it the bad economy.

If the problem was the latter your competitors would equally be broke. But you know someone in your field who is making a killing despite charging higher than you do.

Do you now know where/who the problem is?

You are.

You who set your price so low are the problem.

That’s why you are ever busily broke.

A friend recently told me that people who don’t advertise their work are simply not confident that they are giving their clients their best. And I believe the same goes for pricing.

Start by asking yourself this question.

How would I rate my confidence in the product I present to my clients on a scale of 1(Meh) to 10 (Magnificent!)? Click To Tweet

Chances are you price too low because you are ashamed you haven’t given your product your best touch. Making yours a by-the-way product.

And by so doing you do yourself and your clients a disservice.

Deal With It

Now that you know your pricing is the reason you’ve been running a business without making money, here is the rule.

Price it right and stick to it!

Magdalene Kamau (My_Darling)

For crying out loud, Fill up! Skill Up! And then pour your heart onto that project! The excitement of giving your all builds up your confidence!

Otherwise, venture into something you have full knowledge of and have the skills to perform. Then serve with all your heart.

Solopreneurship is for the confident, so price yourself right and stick to it!

Do this to price your service right before meeting your next target client.

Step 1. Study the market rate.

What are other experts in your field charging for your kind of service?

Step 2. Gauge your kind of output.

Arrogance and bitterness aside, how would you rate your service as compared to your fellow experts?

Step 3. Plug your price where you believe is both right and beneficial for you and your client.

How does your price affect the number of clients can you serve in a month to make your target salary?

This however means you must know how much money is realistic enough for your monthly salary. Always work with the end in mind. Therefore ask,

“How much money would I accept for a salary if I took an active 9-5 job?”

Then aim for the number of clients that would help you meet that figure while giving them your best services. Remember to leave room for learning new things in your industry, refreshing and reconnecting with friends.

Pricing is all by plan. Not guesswork.

Otherwise, you will always run around making losses in the name of pleasing clients with your low price. And soon they will see your pudgy panda of services and opt for someone who can deliver Po, the real Kung Fu Panda they want!

People who care always share!

Magdalene Kamau

Also known as My_Darling, is a ghostwriter, business mentor and motivational speaker who advocates for turning talents and passions into products of service to others while making a profit while at it.

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