How I Raised My Prices by 600% (That’s over 7X!) in less time than you’d think
I’ve seen a fascinating theme in the last few weeks. I’ve talked with MANY entrepreneurs who said something to this effect:
“I haven’t had time to work on my goals because I am too busy with client work.”
This challenge is one of the most common for entrepreneurs who are trying to grow.
I was in the same situation. In the past, I struggled with creating content & marketing materials consistently. I was in a cycle of overbooking clients, so I had no time to work on my business. Then suddenly, I’d have too much time because I hadn’t been marketing. There was a constant stop-start-stop-start.
I had to get serious and look at the structure of my business and brand. It was time to ask some hard questions about my prices.
- If I want to hire someone to help, how can I afford it?
- How many clients would I need to work with if my goal is to bring home $100K? (Answer at the time: WAY too many.)
- If I want to invest in courses, masterminds, and events to grow, where does it fit in my budget?
- Is the time I’m spending working on my business worth not being more present with my family?
It was time to completely restructure if I wanted to achieve the goals I said I wanted.
Ask yourself: what do you want?
And then work backward from there.
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My Pricing Journey
When I started out, I was charging $700 for a VIP brand-building day.
It seemed like a fair price in line with the market. I was still honing my chops as a consultant. I had the experience, talent, and skills I needed to do great work. But, I was still developing my processes, client experience, and other details.
I found my time completely booked up but income-wise, but was only breaking even. I wasn’t making any money. I love my clients. I love business (ask my hubby – it fills most of my leisure time, too.) But it didn’t make sense to take so much time away from my family, health, and home to only break even.
From there, I increased to $1500.
Clients kept coming. I was still doing everything myself. Instead of a day-long project, I extended projects to 2+ weeks. I added more expenses to make the client work portfolio-worthy. Again, I had no time for my business strategy or long-term thinking. I realized I could make a decent living at that price – perhaps $30-40K/year. But I wouldn’t be able to scale further. I didn’t have any leverage. Or time.
I am NOT in the volume business. Each of my clients takes significant time, mental real estate, and creative energy. I like it like this. I didn’t want a wham-bam-thank you ma’am process. I actually wanted to spend more time with each brand.
I rebranded and increased to $3K briefly.
If I continued to do everything myself, this price point would have worked. But I realized I wanted to bring on a team to improve the client experience and brand design. I needed to shift back into my genius: brand strategy, talking to my clients, and building my brand.
Now, I have a small but mighty team of designers, writers, and an amazing assistant who help me bring the strategy to life. I’m bringing on my sister-in-law soon to manage projects. I am creating space so I can leverage my time and stay in my genius.
So, I raised my 1-on-1 rate to $5k for brand development or $8K to include a website.
The process now takes 2-3 months. And the result is SO much better than those initial 1-day projects a few years ago.
When I put up my first sales page, I never imagined my prices would change so dramatically. Now, I know this is the only way to create the business, brand experience, and client results I want.
I’m not saying you have to start charging $5K/project. You may not have the same end goal as I do. I’m choosing to run a business with employees, contractors, and higher expenses deliberately. I know this version of my business gets the best results for my clients. It frees me up to do my best work. It’s my vision.
What is your vision?
Always remember: no matter what price you are at, there are going to be people who charge less and people who charge more. You get to decide your value. (And then it’s up to you to live up to it. I’ll explain in the next section.)
I know if my clients work with a few additional clients each year as a result of bringing their brand to life, their investment is worth it many times over. I also know they invest $10K+ in masterminds and mentorship. Investing $5K in 1-on-1 attention and implementation isn’t expensive. It’s a necessary part of their future growth.
So, How Did I Did I Raise My Prices?
I logged into WordPress and changed the number on my services page.
I’m only half kidding. A lot of it is just doing it. Thanks, Nike.
In reality, at every step, I needed to upgrade my brand.
I’ve been creating better and better work. I’m more visible with projects like the podcast and Brand Trifecta Challenge. I’m finally spending real money to create the customer experience and systems I want. Without deliberate investments in my brand, the price increase would have never been possible. Because I upgraded by brand WITH my prices, I’m 100% booked at the new level.
It’s a luxury and curse that 95% of my clients are short-term projects.
I didn’t have the awkward situation of needing to go to a current client to ask for more money. In my experience, once someone pays a lower price, it is extremely hard to convert them to the new standard. A 20% increase, sure, but 600%? Not likely. I understood my ideal client was shifting with each price increase.
If you work with ongoing clients, you may need to “grandfather” them in at a lower rate. Or, more boldly, you may need to end the relationship so you can make space to attract new clients. I hope this goes without saying: Do what is right for your financial situation. Don’t blindly trust a stranger on the Internet. 😉
I also completely restructured my packages to support the new price point.
I know someone I work with now doesn’t only want a plan – they expect me to put the strategy into motion for them. My brand service now includes logo design, business cards, and more deliverables. It makes the work feel valuable and tangible.
It’s also a higher touch process. There are more check-ins. Revisions. Adjustments. I do my best to treat my clients like royalty.
Do You Need to Raise Your Prices?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your client work, there are a few things you need to ask yourself. First, look at the numbers.
- If you are booked, are you meeting and exceeding your income goals? Or in other words, are you charging enough money for your 1-on-1 clients?
- How many people do you need to work with to reach your income goal? Account for ALL your expenses, taxes, and future growth. When you look at your expenses, also include the investments you’d like to make soon (a VA, mastermind, etc.)
- Do you have enough time to handle that many clients? Could you do a good job for that many? Or would you lose your ever-freaking mind?
- Does the number of clients you need align with the lifestyle you want to live? For example, if your perfect day would include 3-4 hours of work with lots of family time and flexibility, you can’t schedule 8 client calls every day. Be extra liberal when estimating the time each project takes.
If you are unsure of your numbers, you can steal my pricing spreadsheet here. Just click File > Make a copy to copy it to your Google Drive.
Note: I designed this spreadsheet for 1-on-1 service packages. You’ll have to adjust if significant income is coming from courses, group programs, etc.
How You Can Raise Your Prices
Once you know what you need to charge to make the numbers work, it’s time to align your brand with your new reality.
What do your new ideal clients expect from you at this price level? Check out peers who are at a similar price point for an idea of what they include. Talk to people you think would be perfect clients. Note: Don’t ever ask people what they want to pay. They’ll always lowball you. It’s human nature. Ask them what they would want to be included in $X investment. And make sure you are talking to ideal clients – not past clients.
What would your brand need to look & feel like to be in alignment with the new level of service and quality? If you’re asking your clients to invest in you, can they see that you invested in yourself?
Are you setting your brand up to be the *obvious* choice in people’s minds? Or are you just another designer, writer, VA, coach, etc.? If you blend in, clients only know to differentiate on price and start to shop around. To charge premium prices, you’ll need to define the psychology of your brand. This includes your brand personality, values, personal movement, and other psychological demand triggers. You need to connect on an emotional instead of logical level.
A word of warning: when you complete the spreadsheet and answer these questions for yourself, it can feel demoralizing. It will likely shake up your perception of what a “fair price” is. It might show you aren’t charging enough to bring any money home because you’re spending all your revenue back into the business.
This is a normal reaction.
It’s important is to realize this. Then, start making the shifts necessary to build a sustainable business and powerful brand. I don’t want you to get burnt out and quit. I know you have the gumption and heart to be successful. And not only successful with revenue. You have the ability to choose the type of day you want to live. You can choose the amount of money you’ll contribute to your family and future.
I want you to grow and thrive.
P.S. If you’re ready to stop playing small and make a decisive change, I take a limited number of 1-on-1 clients. To learn more and apply, visit my work with me page.