Are you guilty of people pleasing, perfectionism or overthinking? And how does that come across in your business and your pricing? You may not immediately think the two are connected, but the emotional baggage that causes your people-pleasing or perfectionist habits impacts on what you’re willing to settle for in business, especially with boundaries and pricing.
It’s an important topic and one I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Natalie Lue about for a recent podcast episode. Natalie is a recovering people pleaser and her website www.baggagereclaim.co.uk centres around helping other people pleasers, perfectionists and overthinkers to take a closer look at those habits and learn how to get rid of the emotional baggage so they can stop settling for less. Because when you settle for less than your worth, it affects your creativity, sense of self, business and pricing.
When you work for yourself it’s easy to intertwine your identity with your work and business. You then fear you’re acting too big for your boots or are inconveniencing people when you speak up or raise your voice. You worry you're going to alienate everybody, will be ignored or nobody will want to buy from you. And when it comes to niching, you know who you want to reach and know what you’re about, but become afraid of being honest about your niche and what you do, because you’re afraid it’s wrong not to appeal to everybody. So you try to please everyone and price to suit everyone.
But how you price your services or products influences who will be your customers and how they perceive what you’re selling. Price too low, and you risk being interpreted as too cheap, due to inexperience and a lack of knowledge. You also end up feeling resentful, as you try to give too much at that low price point and feel underappreciated and unfairly remunerated for the work you’re doing.
But also, the type of issues you come across are different when you price lower. Why? Because clients tend to have no sense of your value and expect to demand more.
When you put your prices up, irritation and resentment fade away. You’ll feel more relaxed in your business, will show up more and not stress about finding new clients. Change your prices and you’ll often find you’re working with fewer clients, but they’re valuing what you offer. They respect your boundaries and as a result, you also become more boundaried and stop trying to overdeliver and give too much away.
There is an element of trial and error, and getting a feel for the prices of your business. If you try to base your prices on everyone else, you’ll get confused. You need to understand your own business and your pricing, so you can find that sweet spot that suits you and your clients.
So look at the data. Put your prices up and see what happens. You can play around with them, as there is no set standard for your prices. If you put something out there and you’re inundated with responses and can’t keep up, take that as a sign you’ve underpriced. And if you’re out of bandwidth and feeling exhausted and resentful, increase your prices - triple them!
And if you test a higher price and nobody buys it, try a slightly lower price. You don’t need to go all the way back down to your original price, just drop it a bit. You can change prices all the time - nothing is set in stone.
People are happy to pay your prices if it’s clear what is and isn’t included. You need to clearly convey the value in what you’re doing and what they’re getting out of it. For example, there are things that you have that are available for free, so there’s plenty for them to consume, without ever putting their hand in their pockets. But if you want to enjoy the work you do and not end up feeling resentful, anxious and overwhelmed, you need to start valuing yourself and your efforts and attribute value to the work you’re doing.
Set your prices and have the mindset that this is the price. You don’t go around shaming other people about their prices - you either pay or you don’t. So have that same attitude with your customers and clients. When you have respect for your prices and for the value you provide, your clients will too. Do this and you’ll drop the guilt about your pricing because you’re being congruent with yourself. You can then also become pickier about who you work with too.
It’s important to remember that people come to you for a reason, and it’s often because you’re you. They come to you for that thing you can do that they can’t, or that they can’t get anywhere else.
It’s so easy to try and blend yourself into the crowd and fit around other people’s perceptions of branding and pricing. But when you understand what you’re bringing into these conversations with your clients and the work you do, you’ll see there are some processes in there, master talents and things you’re really good at. They’re part of your voice, your talents, and your creativity and are part of everything you bring to the table. That’s your secret sauce. Understand what those components are and what makes you, you, because these things have value.
But for us to attribute value to them, we also have to value them. Do you value what you’re doing? Know that just because you find something easy and it’s a natural talent for you, it doesn’t mean you should charge peanuts for it. If nobody else can do that, it’s your genius and your creativity, and you need to price accordingly. Because if you undervalue what we're doing, you’ll undercharge for it. How you feel about the value of your stuff dictates how you price.
Sometimes, pricing IS the main problem, especially if you’re underpricing or overpricing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, working all the hours you can, and are feeling anxious, frustrated and a sense of wanting to pack it all in, look at your pricing. What did your gut feeling originally tell you about the price you wanted to charge? Are you avoiding charging that and opting for a lower price? Because if you’re so far away from that ideal price, you have a big gap to fill.
Whatever you’re afraid to charge, is what you need to charge, or as close to it as possible. If you’re too far away from it, you’re going to have problems in your business - whether it’s covering your costs or how you feel about your business or customers. So what are you totally comfortable with? What are you slightly uncomfortable with, but that you can get out there and talk about and sell it? Because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You don't sell anything because you don't feel confident in the price. And the price then dictates everything about what you feel about that product.
Know that when you give clients a £20k product for a £2k price ticket, you’re both going to be unhappy. The client is going to have no boundaries and no sense of value and you’re going to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. So if you have clients who don’t fit within your budget, tell them what is available at that price point. Take things out of the package and make it clear to the client that they’re getting significantly less of your time and energy than they would have if they paid the higher price. Make them understand the difference between spending, whatever it is versus what you originally came in with. Otherwise, you're not going to have a business, as you’ll run into the ground.
Trust your instincts when it comes to pricing. Because if you’re not feeling confident about your pricing or are worried about what other people think, you’re not going to promote or sell your products and services and you’re not going to make any money.
Chasing up unpaid invoices is another area many get stuck on. People tend to charge whatever it is but then feel afraid to chase for the invoice. How do you interact with other business owners? When you have anxiety about alienating people or overcharging, you will often find you don’t have the same attitude when you interact with other business owners. You don’t quibble about their prices and you’ll pay on time.
Have a clear boundary around this and include payment terms in your contracts and onboarding process. And if someone doesn’t pay you, don’t continue doing work for them! Why would you accrue more debt with the same client, when they haven't paid you that? And so at some point, people have their cash flow moments, but when they don't communicate with you at all about this, and they don't make a plan for the money, and they still keep coming to you with more and more work, all you're doing is essentially working for free. And you end up feeling undervalued and are far better off having clients who respect the boundaries. Spending time chasing down invoices, devalues your efforts. Is this really what you want to do?
So stop being afraid of chasing the money and instead decide if you don't get paid, you can't take on more work from that client. It’s tempting to think you won’t get any more work from them or are going to upset them, but are you not at all concerned about the fact that you haven't been paid? Shouldn't you be upset about that? If you stopped taking more work from them, you would quickly see where the land lies with this client about whether or not they’re going to pay the invoice. Because companies also decide who they can get away with not paying on time - and you want them to know you’re someone they do need to pay on time!
If you’d like to find out more about Natalie and the work she does around removing the emotional baggage associated with people pleasing, head over to her website, https://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/. You can also find her on Instagram and follow her weekly podcast, ‘Baggage Reclaim Sessions’ here.