Let’s Talk Pricing | Part 1

Let’s Talk Pricing | Part 1

There been a ton of discussion within various online forums that I’m in as well as at WPPI (wedding portraiture photographers international) convention this month about pricing services.

There’s been chatter from all different angles about how people who price low are under cutting the market and devaluing the industry (could be any industry). And those that are undercutting they’re competitors are in a race to the bottom.

Well, let’s talk about pricing.

pricing your creative service art

Knowing the Market Rate

You can research the market rate by talking to potential clients who are looking for the service you are offering. This is a delicate discussion but it can provide you with insights to the your rates based on what others are finding. This conversation may be best reserved for clients you have a longer standing relationship with.

Further, ask your industry colleagues what they charge. But be reciprocal when asked the question in return. You can step up and be the first to offer up what you’re charging and how you determined the pricing, which can spark a deeper conversation.

Last but no least, researching online can uncover rate sheets and ‘prices start at’ information.

Just starting out or don’t know where to look? Look up the industry groups. For photographers who want to shoot weddings, and portraits, starting your research with PPA and WPPI are good places to start. You can read articles, and find photographers in your area using the find photographer link. Click through to review the photographer’s work, and reach out to them if their work speaks to you. Let them know what about their work you admire and ask them for advice for a budding photographer.

For commercial photographers check out APA and ASMP, and drill down to the local chapters near you to find other photographers to connect with. Both sites have great information for different things to think about when it comes to pricing, bidding and licensing.

For makers check out the Academy of Handmade and Etsy regional groups to connect with other makers both in person and online. Also Etsy has a extremely active forum which is filled with great information. For pricing tips check out Megan Auman’s classes on CreativeLive.

As you begin to gather your research on what others in your field are charging, remember the information doesn’t not get at the heart of how those prices were calculated. You don’t know the persons life situation, other revenue sources and other expensives. So the information is merrily providing you with a scope and breath as to what is out there.

By no means, do your prices need to be aligned with or even within the same ballpark of your competitors, as your set of life and business circumstances are yours alone.

Time plays a part in profitability

Your profitability margin can change greatly based on your time. Time is a essential element in any creative business. How much time a task take you or your intern, from culling images from a wedding to creating a design mood board, needs to be tracked. Guessing how many hours something takes, is not the same as knowing. Create a daily habit of tacking your time will allow you to: 1) keep records from past jobs that can then be used to determine pricing for future projects of similar value, scope, and complexity; 2) identify profitable as well as unprofitable relationships and projects;  3) see where you can improve your systems and eliminate gaps or steps in your processes.¹

As creatives we trend to everything to make our offering/product/service perfect. But the reality is, being perfect, when most of our clients can’t distinguished between good and great, cuts into your profit. If you want to go the extra mile every time, make sure you’ve baked your cost into your price, or you’ll be cutting into your profit margin every single time.

There more to pricing. Here’s what is coming up in Part 2 –  looking at reasons to raise your rates and to lower them, as well as how to determine what is the right price tag for your business offerings. Stay tuned.

 

¹ from The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money How to think about it. How to talk about it. how to manage it. by Ilise Benum

 

 

Stop Hiding Under the Covers | BE THE CEO

Stop Hiding Under the Covers | BE THE CEO

Are you a creative entrepreneur, who started your business because you wanted to live your passion? Now that you’ve jumped in, offering your service, but struggling to hold onto money, finding that there never seems to be enough money to pay for your business and your life. You’re a smart and capable person but feel shame around not understanding the financial aspects and would much rather ignore the numbers all together, and hide under the bed covers.

Not to fear.  You can crawl out from hiding and see how to look at your numbers without panic. BE THE CEO is you’re light in the dark.

BE THE CEO workshop is a two day intensive hands on workshop.

Day one: We will work to quite your money fears. Then finish calculating what you need to live your life and sustain your business comfortably, work on understanding how to do project forward to see the peaks and valleys of your income and expenses and end the day with pricing to make a profit.

Day two: We dive into positioning and messaging, understanding your customer’s experience and creating your businesses unique value proposition. And because we know that you might need to raise your rates or offer new products and services to get there, you will also make a plan for positioning your business in a category of one, so you can command better prices and attract your ideal clients.

  You will:
  • take the reigns of your numbers and work through your emotional financial roadblocks
  • have a plan for generating your revenue so your to do list is focused on moving forward allowing you the flexibility to get in the activities that refuel you.
  • learn what makes you the most money and be able to phase out the things that drain you (or at least charge more for them
  • be in a supportive group of entrepreneurs who face similar issues in running a business and understand the stresses
  • have a business coach with a unique point of view and background to help you create a map to reaching your chief initiative
  • have Brigitte Lyons, CEO and founder of B THE FORWARD-THINKING PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY, to guide you to positioning your business with consistent messaging
  • have an ongoing community to supporting you and helping you reach your business goals

The workshop includes:

  • writing out a revenue plan. Knowing when money is coming in is a good thing!
  • analyzing your current offerings. Are you accounting for the cost of goods and paying yourself for the production time?
  • positioning your business using your special sauce
  • digital and physical worksheets for you to continue to tweak and use as your business evolves
  • a notebook to write down your thoughts and break-throughs
  • light nibbles and refreshments on both days to keep your focused
  • lunch on day two

The workshop is open to a limited group of ten business owners. We will spend out a pre-work packet before the workshop. Two days beforehand we have gather together for an online meeting, allowing for the cohort to meet one another before, and answer any questions that came up for you as went through the pre-work.

Ready to crawl out from under the covers and take control of your business? Then register now.

Two locations to choose from:

Got questions, post them in the comments and I’ll answer.

Do you need a course correction?

Do you need a course correction?
bike path in morning light with sunflare
It’s summer solstices! That means we’re half way through the year and it’s time to check in on those beginning of the year initiatives we set out to do.
 
In the BE THE CEO workshop we laid out our big main objective for the year and broken it down into small projects, and to do items. But sometimes setting the path doesn’t mean we follow the path.
 
It’s time to check in with ourselves. It’s time for a refresher.
 
Are you on the path you’ve set out? Do you need a course correction? Has your main objective been accomplished or needs to be updated? Join me tomorrow at 2:30pm on Facebook Live where I’ll be doing a refresher session in person with Casey Splain. Casey is a full time portrait and wedding photographer as well as a student, working towards her nutrition degree in the San Francisco bay area.
Leave me your questions below or tweet me your questions about resetting your course, breaking down your initiative, or refreshing your strategy.
See you tomorrow for my first ever FB Live.

Be The CEO Workshop 2.0

Be The CEO Workshop 2.0

As an entrepreneur do you ever feel like your stumbling around in the dark, trying to find your way? Be The CEO Workshop is the lantern to illuminate your path.

Have you ever:

  • struggled with figuring out what to charge
  • wondered how to price a package of goods or services
  • stressed that you won’t make enough to pay bills
  • felt lost on how to craft a clear message to position yourself to your clients
  • needed someone to help you prioritize your task list
  • lacked motivation because you felt you needed a resource or tool to move forward
  • wanted a small group of entrepreneurs to build a community with

If you are like me, you were nodding your head the whole time.

I’ve struggled to find the right fit for my business that matched my personal lifestyle needs and wants. I’ve downloaded ebooks, purchased templates, traveled to conferences, listened to podcasts and have read through tons of blog posts, only to find I still didn’t have the answer that fit my business. I felt like a fish swimming in mud. I would try something and then something else and none of the tactics seemed to work for me.

The reality is there is not a one size fits all answer. Each of our small business are operated by individuals who have different wants and needs. Therefore, our pricing, messaging and goals will all be different.

I found that by understanding my finances, the amount of time I spent working on different tasks and working to have a consistent message to my clients, led to building better systems, incorporating the how-to tactics that made the best sense for me and starting everyday with the a clear intention to work towards my business goals.

BE THE CEO workshop was born out of my experience.

Last year’s cohort spent an entire day digging into financials and pulling apart their numbers to find where they killing it and where things were going awry. This year’s workshop has expanded to two days, so we can take our financial learnings and apply it to our marketing strategy on day two.

 

This workshop is designed to give you the space and tools to focus on looking at your business as a whole. To give you the chance to step away from the production line and BE THE CEO.

Saturday and Sunday January 23-24, 2016
9am – 4pm
(location to be in the San Francisco east bay region)

You will:

  • take the reigns of your numbers and work through your emotional financial roadblocks
  • have a plan for generating your revenue so your to do list is focused on moving forward allowing you the flexibility to get in the activities that refuel you.
  • learn what makes you the most money and be able to phase out the things that drain you (or at least charge more for them
  • be in a supportive group of entrepreneurs who face similar issues in running a business and understand the stresses
  • have a business coach with a unique point of view and background to help you create a map to reaching your chief initiative
  • have Brigitte Lyons, CEO and founder of B THE FORWARD-THINKING PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY, to guide you to positioning your business with consistent messaging
  • have an ongoing community to help keep you moving toward your 2016 business goals

The workshop will include:

  • writing out a revenue plan. Knowing when money is coming in is a good thing!
  • analyzing your current offerings. Are you accounting for the cost of goods and paying yourself for the production time?
  • positioning your business using your special sauce.
  • digital and physical worksheets
  • How to Fascinate test to highlight how the world see you
  • a notebook to write down your thoughts and break-throughs
  • light nibbles and refreshments on both days to keep your focused

Ready to claim your spot?
Early Bird $385 and save $100. Ends Wednesday 1/6!

 

Thoughtful Spending During the Season of Deals

girl hand with phone and laptop

You made it through Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and now it’s time for Cyber Monday. As a small business owner and a photographer, I am inundated with a flood of emails for all kinds of steals this week from software to gear and to digital products that solve your dire pain points. I know some of you are jumping for joy and scouring the inter-webs for the best deals.

But before we get to spending our hard earned cash on the greatest new gadget or a must have social media how-to ebook, pause first to assess your business needs. Is this an item I’ve been looking to implement into my business and planned on purchasing it this year? Do I have the funds to purchase it without having to carry debt or cause other items / client orders to be affected? Will I have time to implement the new product into my workflow or will it be lost in my download folder or collect dust on my shelf?

Look over your cash flow and assess how much spending, if any, is a wise business investment at this point in time.  Notice I used the word investment and not purchase. Whether you purchase a new computer, or a new set fonts, there needs to be a correlation between the purchase and how you generate revenue. If the new item will save you time, that means you’ll have more time to do other things (that’s a win). Or if you purchase a item that is a subscription you have budgeted anyway, and now it’s cheaper, that a win too. If you purchase hardware (i.e. equipment), what will it allow you to do? Do you have plan for selling off your old equipment and props? This can help offset the cost of your upgrades.

Have a plan when shopping. I know I get caught up in the buzz and the excitement, but having a plan (aka shopping list) of what you’re actually in the market for will help keep you from going astray and over spending. Oh and check in on your tax deduction strategy… can your purchases be written off this year?

To help you with your financial strategy download the free PDF budget worksheet (or upgrade to the excel version to plug in your budget numbers).

A list of deals from vendors I love and use:

Fundy – huge sale off the suite and the modules
Totally Rad  –  save 35% off all their products (I love RadLab, Replichrome and ProRetouch).
SmugMug – save 40% through 11/30 (after 11/30 save 20%)
Creative Live – 25% off 1000+ classes
Squarespace – 20% off your site on #GivingTuesday 12/1

Want more deals?

Check out these two huge lists collected nicely together for you from Photographer Black Friday Sales and Behind the Shutter

What deal is the right investment for you?