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I Actually Apologized For Creating High Quality Content

I have been out walking in a forest for close to two hours. The weather in Norway is amazing right now, and I have to pinch myself when I wake up in the morning. It takes me several minutes to understand if I’m dreaming or not. The weather is just fantastic.  It’s been like this for close to a week now, and according to the weather forecast, it’s probably going to stay like this for another week.

forest money

The weather is part of the reason why I start walking at 6 am in the morning, and why I walk for at least one hour every single morning. But, the other part, is that it’s the perfect way to start the day, especially if you want to get some interesting and creative ideas. When I walk, and listen to podcasts, I always get ideas that I can’t seem to get if I’m in the office staring at the computer screen.

I love details

When I’m out walking, I think about the small details. I think about adjustments to my blog, I think about the first words I’ll say at my next speaking gig, and what kind of clothes I should be wearing for my next business meeting. Things like that. I usually don’t spend any thoughts on clothes, but after I started my own business I’m thinking about everything that can possibly go wrong, and everything that I need to do in order to create a sustainable business. And clothes and first impressions are important parts of any business.

To me, details are very important, because I have come to realize that the small details are always part of the big picture and many times, when I start with the small details, I end up with something wonderful (and huge). It’s not always the other way around. And, it’s when I focus on the small details that I get creative. And I just love the simple things in life, and the small details makes me realize how simple life really is.

Just as I passed a farm, two horses, and some dogs barking, I was thinking about a conversation I had with a client yesterday. This was the first conversation with this specific client after I started my business, and it was the opening lines of our business relationship. I already know the guy from before, because I have spent a lot of time in order to established our relationship before he turned into a client and I’ve done my best to create trust.

But…

I have no idea what my real value is

Our conversation was fairly long. We discussed close to everything, and the business relationship was going great. I felt that it was more or less the perfect business conversation, until he asked me for the price. That’s right. His words were exactly, “but, how much does it cost?”

I already knew the answer. And I had practiced on telling him on the phone. But as soon as I heard his words, it was like I couldn’t speak. My mouth was all dry, and the sound that appeared was all squeaky. I was glad that I wasn’t in a business meeting and that he couldn’t actually see me.

I eventually told him the price, but before he could give me any sort of feedback, I gave him a five-minute speech to give him the reasons why my price was like set like that, and I ended up apologizing. I heard the words, and I just couldn’t believe that I apologized. Even though he didn’t have the chance to say anything, and even though my competition is a lot more expensive. I wanted to give him a lower price and a more simple product. I was destroying my business with my own words.

Right now, understanding my value, is one of my biggest challenges as a business owner.

The conversation ended

I was looking at the trees in the forrest. I was listening to the birds, instead of the barking dogs, and I was looking at the plants, and I was sort of thinking about my greenhouse and how powerful being personal in marketing is, as I discovered that I was really at the end of the conversation with my client.

I have a new client, and I’m so excited about it, and this client is huge. But, I just keep thinking about why I can’t just tell people what my real value is, without talking about my competition or giving a speech. I am being personal, bold and honest, and I almost told him that I have no idea what my value is and how much money he should be paying me, but I didn’t (and I’m so glad that I didn’t).

But, I had a really hard time talking about the price.

Let me just ask you this. Do you know your value? And if you do, how did you find out?



60 responses to “I Actually Apologized For Creating High Quality Content”

  1. Bill Dorman says:

    Just as I passed a farm, two horses, and some dogs barking…..hey, are those dogs coming this way? Oh crap, they are chasing me…….walk’s over, time to run…….

    You do have value and don’t apologize for your price; in fact, try never to make ‘price’ the focal point of the relationship because it is all about value and what you can do for them. Be firm………..

    • Hey Bill,

      I never got the chance to see the dogs, but they sound of them was scary enough 🙂

      I try not to make price the focal point, but I always end up being scared when it’s time to negotiate the it… it’s like if the dogs started chasing me and I had to defend myself 🙂

  2. Carol Lynn says:

    Jens, this is something many people struggle with and all I can say is it gets easier the more you practice. Believe me, even after 13 years in business I still find myself sometimes taking an apologetic tone when I give someone “the cost”. The truth is, it’s such a huge factor because there aren’t many people I know, especially small businesses, who have a lot of money to throw around. And so we, as ethical business people, want to be as considerate as possible. So we try to make our costs low and we try to be nice to everyone. In theory that’s great, but in reality, it devalues us. Even if we give the lowest cost around, people will still hesitate to trust us if we’re not confident in it.

    I have seen people charge crazy amounts of money – $500 for a one-hour consultation (for me that’s crazy, maybe not for someone else!) – and they get it without a problem. Not because they are so great. Not because they know more or are better at what they do. But because they SELL it. They go in there and say hey, I am worth this, don’t doubt it for a second, I’m going to give you the best ideas and service and you’re going to be thrilled.

    I know it’s hard but practice your pitch before you give it and then the more times you give it, the easier it’ll get. Don’t just practice giving a cost – seriously practice telling people all the amazing benefits they’re going to get while working with you. If you sell yourself and your value first, the cost becomes more of a formality at that point.

    • That’s great advice. I really hope it will get easier the more I practice, and I have just been practicing close to two months now. So, I am still very new to this 🙂

      I have to change my mindset and be more confident in myself. I know that I provide great value, but it’s just so hard to ask for money.

  3. Elaine Joli says:

    Jens,
    Let me help you with a little science. In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini talks about the human “click, whir” response. He says we exist in an extraordinarily complicated stimulus environment (even on your walks – you still listen to podcasts). We can’t be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event and situation (although the dog chasing thing you might concentrate on) in even one day. We haven’t the time, energy or capacity for it. Instead, he suggests that we must very often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb to classify things according to a few lay features and then respond mindlessly when one or another of those trigger features are present. One of the biggest trigger features we humans in the 21st century have is expensive=good. Think about it in your own life – if you see a watch that is priced at $10,000 and a watch that is priced at $16.95 – even though you know NOTHING about watches – don’t you assume that the 10 grand watch is superior – a better watch? I think you do. So when you are talking to a client about your fees, there will be an automatic trigger response for him – and it really has nothing to do with the actual fees you state. The higher your fees, the more he will think you are worth. Your client wants value and he knows from experience (his automatic trigger) he will have to pay for it. Are you a 16.95 watch or a 10K watch?

    • Hi Elaine,

      I should read that book. The advice is brilliant. The trigger is automatic, and some people do get this and understands how to set a price, and some are like me 🙂

      My problem is probably based on fear of not being able to deliver quality for 10K. I’m thinking about what my clients should receive for the money they are paying, and the less they are paying the lower quality… and I do want to provide high quality, but when it cost a lot, I question myself if I can deliver it.

      • Lenia says:

        Jens I feel that too. I think it is a matter of self confidence. One day I see that I know things tbat others don’t know and consider complicated, the other day I feel I know nothing and I am not sure that I can provide the quality of 10k…

      • Elaine Joli says:

        Jens,
        I read (and re-read) the above article, and then your “about me” page – and I’m not really sure what you do for a “living” an income per se. When you speak of clients, what service are you providing? You seem to be in your head a lot (really good for a writer), but at some point, running a business is about the “go.” I just read an interesting blog this morning, that has a recommendation that I took to heart and that I really like. He said, when you are faced with decisions about what to do/where to take your company/how you’re going to sell etc., apply the following 3 notations beside each idea: Possible. Pretty Good. Hell Yes!
        Get the Hell Yeses going and don’t look back.
        I have been an independent marketing consultant for 25 years (and author) and it has been a round robin of torture, self-doubt, extraordinary happiness, hopelessness, back to sheer joy and fulfillment and the best thing I’ve ever done. But your self-doubt has to be kept for a character in your novel. You are the best at something Jens, (your own USP- hardest working, most creative thinker, you can see solutions to problems that others can’t), add that value to your service, charge a reasonable fee for where you are on the expert curve in your industry, and watch your business grow.

        • Elaine,

          I should re-write my “about me” page. I used to work as the head of marketing at a university in Norway. From April 1 (this year), I started as an independent marketing consultant. So, when I speak of clients, I’m usually referring to businesses that are looking for marketing advice.

          I am a fairly confident guy, but I when it comes to certain areas, like price, I don’t feel that comfortable. But eventually I’ll get the “Hell yes!” mindset 🙂

  4. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, I used to struggle with talk about costs when I practiced law for a law firm. It’s such an awkward topic. In the future, I suggest saying, “I can get back to you with a proposal,” and then in your next meeting hand him a written proposal. It’s better than speaking the price.

    But I know exactly how you feel. I wonder if it ever gets easy?

    • Hi Carolyn,

      It sounds a lot easier to hand him a written proposal, and do everything that comes to the actual cost in writing. But, I should practice talking about it, because I feel that I might be a better talker than I writer, and it should be easier for me to sell when I’m talking to a person.

      But, I need to practice for a long time to get comfortable talking about my fees 🙂

  5. Rahman says:

    Norway must be beautiful these days. Some of my friends over there talk about the temperature of 25 degrees and fantastic spring days. I’m sure it’s fantastic to take a walk in the mornings.

    You know what Jen? Everything has got a price. Everyone has got a price too. For some a $16.95 is way too much, because they know a store selling it for $16.15! For some who have worn a $12000 watch, a $8000 watch and so on, your watch with its features, given the testimonial of previous buyers, is WORTH paying @12000. And it’s not expensive at all.

    I remember when I offered my translation services some 20 years ago, someone who wanted lower prices and knew my value, asked me something ridiculous, but he actually asked me that:

    “Cannot you provide a poor translation and charge me less?!”

    The fact is I couldn’t, because it wouldn’t be me!

    Good luck,

    Rahman Mehraby
    TraveList Marketing Blog

    • Hey Rahman,

      Yes, Norway is very beautiful at the moment. To me, spring is the best time of the year. I just love to watch nature evolve and if we can get 25 degrees, I’m the happiest man alive 🙂

      Great examples. I’m thinking that I should write down the prices for myself, and just tell myself that this is the price, because the content I’m delivering is of very high quality. Telling myself this will change my mindset when it comes to pricing, at least that’s what I believe 🙂

  6. Adrienne says:

    The last video I saw with you Jens there was lots of snow on the ground and you were all bundled up. So is it spring there now? I bet the weather is so gorgeous and of course you have a beautiful place to walk too. I would enjoy that as well.

    I can totally relate to you but I really love Carolyn’s idea the most. I would share with them the value of what you offer and then let them know you’d send them a proposal after you’ve worked it all up. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way but if I’m going to a meeting and they are expecting a price I would have that all written out as well.

    Standing firm is something that just takes time to get use to but knowing you’re worth it should be the real key. And you are my friend, you are.

    ~Adrienne

    • I should probably create a video right now, so you can watch how much better it is living in Norway at this time of the year. The last video, I believe it was -4 degrees Fahrenheit, today it’s 77 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it’s a fairly different situation 🙂

      I loved Carolyn’s advice as well, and I believe that’s what I’ll try the next time I get a question like that.

  7. Lenia says:

    Hi Jens…
    I don’t know the right words to describe what I felt by reading your post. I loved it… We said that many times before but…I am in the same situation as you and I understand you 100%
    Jens, I do the same mistake…i have the same need as you… I fewl like I have to apologize for my price, I feel sorry and I don’t find the courage to tell the truth and present my value..
    I feel like I have to find the arguments to convince my client even if he doesn’t ask for anything…I feel like I have to decrease my price because there is the crisis and i feel guilty and sorry for the client…
    It is not reasonable. …I give a lower price than the one I should give evdn if they don’t ask me that. I have a problem there…
    Jens I liked your post because through that one you describe what happens to me too.
    Thanks Jens.. I think we should really chat one day and exchange ideas about our services and our approaches.

    P.s. I am sorry if you couldn’t post the comment on my blog. I dOn’t know the reason . You are the first to tell me that. I hope it won’t happen again.

    • Hi Lenia,

      I almost started out by saying that it’s great that you feel the same way as I do, but that would have been a horrible way to start out 🙂

      In one way, your situation is even more challenging, with the economy in Greece. I would probably feel even worse talking about price with my clients. I know that most of the companies I talk to in Norway have money and are fairly successful.

      But, it’s about confidence, and understanding your true value. I know this, but it’s hard to develop the right mindset. We need practice and just keep doing what we’re doing, and one day we’ll get there, I’m sure about that 🙂

      Yes, we should chat.

      I’ll be by your blog very soon, and I’ll leave another comment (sorry it’s been a while, I have been way too busy starting the business). I’m sure that the problem was on my end and not yours 🙂

  8. Magnus says:

    Hei Jens!
    Det er så rart at du skriver dette nå. Jeg hadde et møte i dag ang Facebook strategi for et firma fra Sarpsborg. Etter å ha holdt en bra presentasjon om Facebook kommer pris inn i bilde og jeg var bestemt på at prisen skulle være det naturligste i verden. Tidligere har jeg vært usikker på hvor mye mitt produkt er verdt for kunden. I dag var jeg selvsikker og overbevisende. Det resulterte i tillit, nytt møte og muligheten for salg på webside også. Oppskriften i dag var og møte godt forberedt, sørge for god selvtillit og være beslutsom og løsningsorientert. Det viste seg å fungere bra i dag. Jeg synes du skal ha all tillit i verden Jens. Du har kunnskap som nesten ingen i vår bransje har og du formidler den meget bra. Jeg tror også at en god blanding av ydmykhet og selvtillit er bra og husk at gir du uttrykk for at prisen er høy vil kunden tvile på kvaliteten som du skriver i innlegget ditt.

    Takk igjen for et bra innlegg Jens!

    Hilsen Magnus

    • Hei,

      Det du sier er absolutt helt riktig, og på en måte så vet jeg også det. Men, det å gå fra offentlig sektor, hvor jeg har jobbet de siste 11 årene (av mitt korte liv), til å begynne å ta betalt for mine tjenester, det er ikke så enkelt. Jeg forstår hva jeg kan, og jeg tror også jeg klarer å formidle det på en relativt bra måte, men jeg har fortsatt et problem med å prise mine tjenester.

      F.eks. så vet jeg at mine fleste konkurrenter tar godt over 1200 kroner timen. I tillegg har jeg snakket med folk som er mindre erfarne enn meg som holder foredrag og tar 1500 kroner timen, og aldri mindre enn 5000. For meg så høres slike priser urealistiske ut. Spørsmålet er da om jeg burde gjøre som dem, eller legge meg der jeg selv føler det er naturlig at bransjen burde ligge, eller et sted i midten 🙂

  9. Jack says:

    Hi Jens,

    Do you know who your competitors are and what they charge? That sort of information makes it easier because you know roughly where you fall in the marketplace.

    I knew a guy who used to keep a mockup of a written proposal with him so that if price came up he could use it as a prop.

    He would go over the line items individually and then summarize his services. He felt like it was an easy way to document the value and convince the prospect that he was the right person for the job.

    • Hey Jack,

      Yes, I know who my competition are, and what they charge. But, I haven’t been charging as much as they, because I don’t feel comfortable doing so.

      For instance, most of my competition are agencies, and I’m thinking that they need to charge this much because they have a lot more costs related to running their business. I am an independent marketing consultant. But, on the other hand, what I should be looking at is the value for the customer. If the value is identical, I should be charging identical fees, right? 🙂

  10. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jens,

    That’s a problem I had for many, many years my friend until I got tired of not valuing myself properly.

    Not being able to see our real value can become a real issue because that way you can’t price your service or yourself accordingly but if you do understand how valuable it actually is for others, then setting the price is way too easy.

    Bill Dorman already beat me to it but you need to focus on VALUE instead of PRICE.

    Sergio

    • That’s a great advice. Value is what I should be looking at.

      But, how do you understand the value for your client? It sounds easy enough when you look at your competition and how much they charge for the same service, but if you don’t look at them, what should you look at in order to define value?

      That’s something I’ve been struggling with lately.

  11. Hi Jens,
    I’m new to your blog, it was recommended to me by a friend. Loving it so far. I especially love your images of Norway! Can’t wait to visit there someday (I’m from California).
    Anyway this post really hits home with me. I am working on pricing my first online product, a course on business plans. And while I know the value of the content is easily worth $1200-1500, I don’t think I can charge that much yet. Maybe someday!
    I appreciate your honesty and will definitely keep reading!

    • Hi Amber,

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and your friend must be awesome 🙂

      You should definitively visit Norway in the spring, 17 May is our consitution day and that’s a great day to be here. Lots of parades and stuff, and the weather can be very nice.

      I have been to California, but that’s more than 10 years ago. I loved it, the weather was perfect, and the people I met were fantastic too, and the food… wow. I was in Santa Clara (stayed at the University for a few weeks, and traveled to SF, LA etc..)

      Pricing is difficult, and I many people have told me that it’s gets easier with practice, and I hope they are right. I automatically think (like some people wrote in the comments) that the higher the price, the better the product is. But on the other hand it’s also about being comfortable with the price. Even though I would be selling a lot for a very high price, I still wouldn’t do it unless I felt that my clients would get an awesome product for a reasonable price. In the end, I want my clients to be very happy for buying (hiring me).

      I hope to see you back here soon 🙂

  12. Alec Nelson says:

    Whilst I run an online store I am always on teh phone and honestly I used to cringe when I had to quote the price of a big brand name powerhead like Dyson. I was always quick to offer a cheaper generic alternative if possible like I was doing them a favour. I have owned the same store now for three years and i am noticing through analytics and observation that for us anyway the higher priced items actually have a higher conversion rate. Now I always offer the better item and simply wait…Would you like to pay with Visa or Mastercard?. I only backtrack to price if there is an objection. My dad always used to say regularly put your prices up until you get objections, if you don’t ask you dont get. The beauty of a higher price is that it allows you to offer superior service which in the end equates to better value and more repeat purchases.

    • Hey Alex,

      That’s great advice. I just listened to a podcast at BlogCastFM where a person was interviewed and they talked about price (I don’t remember who she was, but the interview was awesome). The one thing that really resonated with me, was when she said that if you have higher prices, you can spend more time with your clients. You can actually deliver higher quality services, because you have more time.

      And that’s a situation I’d like, if I need to work day and night just to get by, nobody would be satisfied. But, if I can focus most of my efforts on a few clients, they would get the best of me 🙂

  13. I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there.
    The trouble is, in our field there are NO standards, no minimums, no maximums. Writers don’t want to share how much they charge, and there’s always someone willing to do lousy work for less money.

    • Hey Scott,

      That’s right, and that’s the difficult part. That’s why relationship marketing is even more important in some niches than others. I usually never think about price when I go shopping (to some extent), but I think about the people I buy from. If you really like the person, you’re willing to pay more. That’s what I believe 🙂

  14. Tony says:

    Hey Jens! Love this, thanks for sharing
    As everyone else is offering brilliant advice, I thought I’d chip in!
    In my experience, the mistake we often make is actually justifying the price before being asked ( as you’ve alluded too here) but it goes a little further
    Have you ever agonised over buying something really expensive? An iPad perhaps? Or a new car? The amazing thing you’ll notice yourself doing is justifying the price to yourself.
    I find speaking the price and then leaving it to the client to work out if it is appropriate is way more powerful than any clever sales technique I’ve ever used.
    If they need what you sell, the tell them how much it is and let them decide whether they can afford it or not, thats not up to you is it? It’s rude to assume otherwise!
    And let it stew sometimes! Let the client see the value and justify what you’ve asked for themselves. It’s much more powerful than changing or dropping your price at the drop of a hat!
    Kind of leave them with the thought that if you charge that price, it’s clearly worth that price, otherwise you wouldn’t charge it! Makes sense?
    Great article, thanks!

    • Hey Tony,

      What you’re saying makes a lot of sense, and I especially love your example with the iPad. I did know the price before I bought it, and it took me months to finally buy it, because I needed to justify the price first.

      But, do you think that we should put the price on our website, so everyone can actually see what the prices are, or should we just tell our prospects when they’re interested and are asking for it?

      If we publish it on our website, they can see it and start thinking about it before they even contact us … but maybe it’s too soon? 🙂

      • Tony says:

        Thats a very interesting question. For me there is no doubt. As transparent a pricing plan as possible is the way to go.
        Think of the succes car dealers are now having with fixed price servicing? You want to know what you are entering into, and how much is is going to cost bottom line! it certainly helps with the flow.
        Imagine looking at a retail site with no prices, or where the prices are hidden. VERY frustrating. If you are using your website for inbound purposes, its essential.
        So I believe we have to work hard to a) quantify what our customers / clients can buy, describe it in simple terms and b) price it in a very open and transparent way
        I believe its called bundling? where the benefits of buying more for instance, are apparent straight away
        There is nothing wrong either, in my opinion, in having an element of bespoke work available. Where you reserve the pricing for the specific solution the client requires. I buy that as a consumer, I understand that concept.
        Off the shelf, where I see exactly what I am getting (Half day marketing audit maybe?)
        Or bespoke, built up to requirements (marketing strategy with elements of implementation as appropriate perhaps?)
        Once a client has identified a ‘need’ for a product or service, the first thing they do is go on an ‘information search’. I believe incomplete information on your site costs you enquiries. I’ll go else where to find the info
        Its only then I will enter into the ‘evaluation stage’ and therefore look to engage with you.
        what do you think?

        • That’s very interesting.

          I do have the same thoughts, and I have almost added prices to my business site. But the reason I haven’t was 1) I wasn’t sure if I wanted my competitors to see all the details of my prices 2) It was hard to price everything.

          But, I’m not thinking much of my competitors, so the only thing I’m not sure of now is how to give an exact price on my services? I probably should add various “bundles” and say that they can buy those, and everything can be customized to fit each customer.

          For instance, I’m also a speaker and it’s easier to add the prices for each gig as a speaker, and based upopn if it’s a topic I’ve already prepared for or not. I’ll probably start out with adding the prices for my speaking gigs 🙂

          Thanks a lot.

  15. Zaid says:

    Hi Jens,

    Very interesting article .. I actually got it via your newsletter, which is, as well, very interesting and improving each time. Keep the good work.

    Regarding the prices/value of your work, I think its the never ending story of every one. Its always hard at the beginning and I have many Freelancer friends who lose clients each day because of that, but I always say, he/she is not your client if they leave after hearing the price.
    I do agree with some of the comments mentioned here, always promote the value behind your service, and the real client will see that only.

    Thank you for sharing and have a nice day.

    • Hey Zaid,

      I absolutely agree about the importance of the value. That’s what we should be focusing on, even though it’s still fairly hard in the beginning. But, all it takes is practice 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your kind words.

  16. Tho Huynh says:

    You do have talent, and your talent deserves a higher price. If some clients walk away just because of price, it means they are price-sensitive. They’ll easily switch to another provider if they think the price is better. Why should you care about these clients?

    Sooner of later, they’ll know that they have lost a talented agent.

    • You’re absolutely right. I don’t want to work with clients that are price-sensitive. I don’t want to add price as an element of my business strategy. There will always be someone cheaper…

      Thanks a lot for your feedback.

  17. Jens,
    Behavioral economists talk about a cognitive bias called anchoring. Anchoring is the tendency to rely too heavily or “anchor” on an initial or past reference when making decisions. When we bargain, we are influenced by the asking price. If it’s high the final negotiated sales price will be higher than if the original asking price was lower. We like to think we make conscious decisions predicated on value but unfortunately we don’t.
    Riley

  18. Ruth Zive says:

    It’s understandable Jens that prospective clients want to know the return on their investment. You shouldn’t feel shy or guilty or reluctant about quoting your fees or stating your value.

    Here’s mine.

    I write well. I write quickly. I don’t need handholding – I work independently. I don’t simply provide copywriting services, rather I develop effective content marketing strategy. My rates are competitive. And ultimately, I save companies money by freeing up internal resources. And it’s much more cost effective to outsource than to hire someone full time.

    I usually quote in writing with a proposal, like Carolyn suggested. I’ve learned that I provide my clients with real value, and if I don’t hold my head high on that point, why would any future client feel inclined to hire me?

    • Hi Ruth,

      I should do exactly what you’ve done. When you write it, it sounds just perfect. I’m not going to use your words, but I don’t want mine to be longer or more detailed. What you said is all that I need.

      I actually find talking about the price to be the hardest part when it comes to starting my business. It’s probably related to the fact that I didn’t get the time to finish my business plan and the strategy. I got my first clients a little too soon 🙂

  19. Hi Jens,
    I used to have trouble with that too. Because I wasn’t selling a tangible product, but rather my services, my neurolinking immediately went back to the old Donna with low self esteem and boy was that a struggle.
    I then separated myself from my service. I wrote down on a piece of paper my service and all the things that benefited a client. I looked at it for days. I put a price on it. I kept on looking at it to separate me from my service. Then I suddenly got the confidence I needed. That piece of paper was my business. Nothing will stand in my way. That’s how I did it.
    Even now, years later, I have that piece of paper in my mind and have no problem with putting a price on my service.
    Just this morning I met with my realtor and she asked me to put her local business on the Social Media Platform for her. She asked what I would charge. Although she is a friend of mine, I had no problem giving her three choices. And also prices for that. She is so excited, she went home to do her homework (filling out all the necessary stuff I need to promote her) and said it was a win win situation.
    All because I have that little piece of paper in my head.
    Hope this helps,
    Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      Your piece of paper helps a lot. I have thought about writing down my business plan and explaining it in as few words as possible, and use it in order to help me change my mindset. When I use few words, it’s so much easier to remember, and that’s the whole point of writing it down. And, that’s exactly what your piece of paper would do for me.

      Thanks a lot.

  20. Great food for thought Jens, Thank you.

  21. Hi Jens,
    Thanks for this post! I can completely relate. As a musician, money is one of those really weird things. Some people value it and are willing to pay for it, some value it but want it for free, some believe music is just for fun, others are willing to do anything for a gig (including paying to play)…. it’s an ugly scene sometimes. I’m constantly evaluating “what I am worth” and there are even times when I get into a situation and look back and say “this was not worth it.” Every situation is unique, too.
    I have a ideal that I would like to make all the time, but I adjust that according to the venue, who I’ll be playing with, what kind of music it is, and how much work I need to do ahead of time. Sometime it’s the time of year, or travel time. I think people would be surprised how much variance there is in my profession.
    All that is just being a performing musician. As a teacher, I post my rates on my website. It gives people a chance to look them up ahead of time and there’s no arguments. I occasionally offer discounts too. Gradually, my teaching rates have risen. I’m incredibly good at what I do and I know what I am worth.
    I did add a little “advantages of taking lessons from Monica” to my website fees as well – to help explain to people why I’m pricier than the neighborhood music store. I don’t know if it makes a difference, but it’s a good reminder for me. 🙂
    Good luck!

    • Hi Monica,

      My cousin is a musician and I have talked a lot about money with him. He has played for everything from beer, to food, and to real money. It’s about being visible and people listening to your music, and when they discover you, you’ll end up being paid. That’s what we talked most about.

      I have thought a lot about giving things away for free in order for people and businesses to understand my value. But, I am not sure that it helps me, because the point is that I need to understand my value and not just the businesses. That’s why I have thought a lot about adding my fees to my website, so that people can actually look at them before contacting me. This way it will be a lot less awkward to talk about the fees, I’ll just think that they’ve already seen them 🙂

  22. Rebecka says:

    Thank you for sharing so honestly. I appreciate the vulnerability it took to be so honest in such a public forum. I would love to talk with you about this. I wonder if this issue with not knowing your value is really limited to quoting prices. I wonder, do you under value yourself and your contributions in other contexts? Where else in your life do you apologize despite the high quality of your offering?

  23. Your post is so powerful. With all your advice and the way you deliver it makes me convinced that you are a writer by birth. Your story is short yet inspiring. Quality always come with high cost both in financial and non-financial in nature. That law should be understood by many to appreciate you fully. As economists usually say, there is no such thing a free lunch for everything has a cost.

  24. Jason Homes says:

    This article is very poetic and artistic in delivering points on how to make quality posts. Your right, it is not just enough to have something post. Few yet quality posts is more effective than having legions of mediocre content. You are truly an icon in this industry.

  25. Darcy says:

    A price is such a relative thing, Jens – I don’t blame you for struggling to put your finger on it to begin with, especially when trying to do so at the request of a new client. I’m envious of the walks you described at the beginning of your post, also. I’m not a big walker but when spring/summer rolls around perhaps I’ll give it a try; see if I can’t dream up some wonderful ideas whilst away from my computer screen 🙂

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