sly : marketing

How to set your price – what are you really worth?

how to set your price

My biggest struggle. My first real challenge. And, the reason why I started to doubt my business. I’m watching my daughter swim, but I’m remembering thinking about my toughest battle on my 1 year business anniversary. This is the story of my first client, and me, a shy ordinary man from Norway, trying to switch from a (good) job at a University to the life of a solopreneur.

I had no idea what I was doing. Really. I had no clue.

What I was thinking. The reason I got started.

I had been working in marketing for close to 10 years. I had been reading books, and I had attended conferences and I had received helped and support from my online friends, and my online friends are truly amazing when it comes to marketing and providing me with the support I need. I keep hustling every single day, but without the support from my friends, I have no idea what I would have been doing today. I’m sure that I wouldn’t have written a novel, and I am sure that I wouldn’t have been launching a vegetarian festival.

I learn from my friends every single day. And, they kept telling me that even though I don’t have a degree in marketing, I will be successful. I have a lot of experience in marketing, but no degree. I have a masters degree in Political Science, and that degree has helped me stay confident, and it has helped me understand how I should be working to get things done.

I had enough confidence to start my own business, but, I had no idea how to set a price for what I was going to do for my clients.

I thought about imitating what others were doing. But. I wanted so badly to look the other way. I didn’t want to talk to people about money. I wanted to do the job. I wanted to create the strategies, and I wanted to create methods and help my clients to success. But, I had some major issues.

How to set your price

I remember all the details when my first client asked me about my price. I told them to wait. I was sweating. I told them that I had to think about it, and I told them that I was going to get back to them in a few days. I freaked out.

I was alone; nobody could see me, and nobody could hear me. It was just me and my thoughts. It felt like I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t figure out what to tell my first client. I was counting the seconds, the minutes, the hours, and finally, I was counting the days. I didn’t come up with an answer.

I was asking myself the questions; should I just set a price by the hour, and/or one price for the project, and should the price be based on how many hours I was going to work? And, how much money should they pay me for each hour? I was going to imitate other people and other businesses. I wanted an answer so badly.

I started looking at people similar to me, people working on similar projects. And I ended up setting a price similar to people similar to me. But, what I realized later, was that I should think more about the value I was creating, rather than how many hours I was working.

It’s still hard. But. Understanding that what I do is based upon who I am, and what I do is based upon relationships, and the experience I’ve received throughout my life, makes it a lot easier. Now, I set my price based upon the value I provide, and I don’t compare myself to anybody else.

How do you set your price?

Are you anything like me, did you become really nervous when you told your first client how much money they had to pay you? And, how do you set your price today? Let’s discuss it.

12 responses to “How to set your price – what are you really worth?”

  1. Sonia says:

    Good post Jens because I struggled with that too. When I started doing blog critiques, I had a low pricing thinking it would be not only affordable (I think it still is), but after a few clients, it was work. I put more hours into their product and 1 hour turned into 2 hours and so on. Before I knew it the price I charged made me feel cheated (not by the client), but from myself.

    I know the value of what I am doing to help others and we all know nothing is free in this world. If you offer a great value for customers, they will come. I will go out of my way to make sure each client gets the help needed because that is just who I am. Great post Jens and I appreciate your honesty. I loved this!

    • That’s exactly how I have been feeling Sonia. I have been really unsure about what to do, and the whole process of pricing is very difficult for me. I do my best for my clients, and they’re not the ones to blame for this. It’s all up to me 🙂

  2. Josh says:

    Pricing is always tough. I usually try to do some market research to see what others are charging and then come up with something based upon that and the value I am providing.

  3. Adrienne says:

    Boy oh boy Jens do I know how you feel. I’ve fought with this too. I’ve listened to all these people tell me that people aren’t paying much anymore so go low but my head keeps saying I’m so worth more then that.

    I then had a great conversation with Danny Iny not long ago and he assured me that what I had been thinking all along was correct. If people can’t afford what I offer then they obviously don’t need it. I’m not going to price my product too high but I’m not going to sell it too cheap either because I know I’m worth it.

    Great post and thanks for reminding us that we’re all human when it comes to this.


    • Thank you so much for your feedback Adrienne. I’m still fighting this, but like you, I have decided that I am worth it, and if people can’t afford it, they don’t need what I offer. But, I am not going to try to get as much money as possible, because I’m not that interested in money 🙂

  4. Janet says:

    I’m also struggling with this at the moment. My guess is that all freelancers do, whether they charge £200 a day or £2000 a day.

    I can remember my dear old dad saying that he liked it if every now and then (not too often) a client turned him down because it was too much money. It let him know that he wasn’t selling himself cheap ( he was a painter and decorator with 40 years of experience). But there is also the issue of needing to be earning something. Being paid £500 for a piece of work that is worth £1000 is better than not being paid at all. My buoyant self esteem won’t pay the mortgage!

  5. Fatima says:

    To price my work I compare my work with that of others in the fielf, count the alternatives my buyers have and then weigh down all to justify the quality of my work. That way a fair price deal always comes up.

  6. Aayna says:

    The whole task of pricing is always difficult. I find the whole idea of negotiating the prices a cumbersome one, but negotiation is the part of life and we actually can’t avoid it. To get the fair price, I indulge in a lot of research. Thanks for the share.

  7. Dan says:

    You need to ask for what you are worth. It is the only way. This way you respect yourself and you will never feel like you are working for nothing. The thing is you need to find somebody to pay you that. The best way to do it is to check the market and then settle for an amount.

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