What are you worth?
Here’s the bottom line. What are you worth? Have you ever really stopped to ask yourself that question? “What are my products and services worth?” If you haven’t, that might be why you’re struggling with pricing.
You’ve got to really step back as an artist and ask yourself, “What is the value I’m delivering to my clients?” What people don’t realize is, when you’re running a business, there’s all these ancillary costs that exist. When I’m photographing a wedding and I get paid for a wedding, that money has to cover my post-production, my insurance, my rent. I’ve got a liability policy, I’ve got employees, I’ve got employee taxes, employee insurance, employee salaries. So, when a dollar comes in, it’s not pure profit. It’s got to go to marketing, it’s got to go to trade shows, it’s got to go to new equipment. That dollar really starts getting cut up. If we don’t understand our worth and all the value we’re bringing to the table, it’s going to kill us when we start trying to price work.
You’re the entrepreneur, you’re the one taking on all this risk, and you’ve got to take that into account when you’re putting your pricing together. If you just want to do this as a hobby and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I got 50 bucks an hour, and I shot a wedding for 10 hours, so I made 500 bucks. Yay, I’m rich!” That’s just not how it works. The reality is, that’s why we’ve got to charge what we charge. You’ve made the decision to be an entrepreneur and not be an employee, and as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to think about all these other expenses that go into owning a business, producing the services, and operating at this high level. Those are all costs you have to think about.
People will pay for it.
I believe that the services I provide are valuable, that I’m going to charge what I’m worth, and people are going to pay for it. Say this with me. I can’t hear you, but I want you to say it with me. I am worth it, I am valuable, I am worth the the price I’m going to charge, and people will pay for it no matter where they are in the country or in the world. Stop convincing yourself that people will not pay for it. Why will they pay for it? The answer is simple: everyone has money for the things that they want. Everyone in the world has money for the things that are important to them. You’ve got to get that through your head. From the redneck living in a trailer with the huge pickup truck to the wealthy person who’s got more money than they know what to do with, everyone has values and priorities. That person who lives in a trailer, maybe they’re not interested in pictures, but clearly they want that big 60-inch TV. That’s important to them. That person who is making a quarter million dollars a year, maybe pictures are not important to them. Maybe going on vacation is more important. Maybe that $20,000, $30,000 Rolex is more important to them.
How do we find those people?
The trick is for us is to connect with the people that see the value in the product or services that we offer. How do we do that? Through marketing and messaging. What we should absolutely not do is try and figure out where people are going to come up with the money. That’s not our job. So if you’re one of those people who says, “Well, I just want everybody to love my pictures, I just want everybody to spend money,” that’s great, but that’s not your problem. Your problem – the marketing problem that we all have to solve – is: how do I take my products or services and connect with people who see value in them? Stop convincing yourself that somebody who lives in a trailer is never your client. On the flip side, stop convincing yourself that somebody making a quarter million dollars is always your client.
I’m not saying they are mutually exclusive, I’m merely highlighting that just because someone has money doesn’t mean they’re your client. And just because someone is broke doesn’t mean they are not your client. We’ve built our business on that kind of blend. I’ve got clients who don’t have a big home, don’t have fancy cars, and they are some of my best clients. Why? Because they value the artwork we’re providing for them. They value those services. If you don’t understand that, putting your pricing together becomes a very difficult exercise because instead of being concerned about profitability, you’re concerned about, “Well, no one’s going to buy it.” That’s bullshit. I’m telling you, I have students that we’ve done one-on-one with in some of the most remote parts of this country, and they are doing high six figures. If they can be in the middle of nowhere doing high six figures, you can connect with your clients wherever you are in the world. I want to bang this into your heed so that you understand it: people have money for what they want to have money for.