Keep Emotion Out of It! Passion & Reason in Pricing



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When I look around this creative universe, one thing is for certain: there’s a whole lotta passion out there. Late nights, fresh ideas, early mornings, submissions and features, empowering ebooks, celebrations and high-fiving, innovations, and the drive to keep making.

In the midst of all this creative goodness, it seems like there’s a hitch in the plans. Pricing. How we set the value of our awesomeness.  Sure we talk about it and there are lots of fantastic articles and formulas out there to ensure your products are priced for profit, but we also heap on tons of emotion until we’re wading through one big, nebulous mess.

Maybe from that heavy feeling of self doubt we’ve set our prices too low. Or, because we just can’t help but to compare ourselves with others, we’re playing the game of number matching. Many folks often express guilt from charging a bit more. Or, eeks!, maybe that blissful feeling of ignorance has set in and we don’t really know where our prices should be.

In any case, I urge all of us to set aside the emotion that often tags along with creative businesses and, in the words of dear old Ben Franklin: let reason take the reins. Let’s take away the yucky connotations of profit and look at it instead as a cause to celebrate. Not so much the actual money, but the idea that a creative entrepreneur recognizes and stakes claim to their worth!

So, just how to we go about shifting from the emotion-filled mindset to a more practical, reason-based point of view? I say we face those feelings head on & put them in their place.  Here are some of the most common emotions tangled up with pricing:

doubt: Feeling like maybe we just aren’t good enough.

I mean we’re good. But maybe not enough.  Let’s just stop right there. You love what you do, you love what you make right?  Ok, then. The best way to express that is by setting your price points to match.   (I see low prices as low confidence).

fear: If I raise my prices no one will buy anything from me every again!

Not true. If your prices are set for profit and you have a quality product, people will probably want it even more. If we compare two cupcakes, one an over-processed store product ($1) and the other a artisan-made, small bakery confection ($4), which one do we most likely want more? Simple.  If I see that small bakery cupcake with a super low price point, I (along with other customers) am more likely to think low price = low quality.  So then, what was that about fear?

guilt: I want to offer fair prices, I’d feel really bad about charging more.

Oh, that is so thoughtful of you, looking out for all your customers! Let me ask you this though; is it fair to work yourself into exhaustion without making a profit? Is that fair to you? And besides, what is “fair”? What makes us think our customers want to pay less?  Maybe they think it’s fair to pay a bit more for a supremely amazing product with incredible customer service.  That sounds about right to me.

And one thing I know is true, when we set ourselves up to for profit, our creativity has room to grow. So now that we’ve faced those feelings head on, let’s redirect all that emotion into our passion – that awesome drive to create. Who’s with me, who is ready to let reason hold the reins?

I’ve only touched on a few of the emotions wrapped up in pricing, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what feelings you struggle with in pricing your products. How do you find balance between passion and reason?