LET ME JUST OPEN WITH THIS: I LOVE premium things.
I’m that girl. You know, the one who will gleefully dole out $30 a pop for a tube of Dior mascara. The girl who won’t bat a (Dior-coated) eyelash droppin’ a couple hundo on a hot Kate Spade bag. And the girl who will always – well, almost always – say, “Top shelf, please.”
I think premium is delicious. Premium makes me feel, well, like a freakin’ badass. And I swear, premium makes me a better human being because when I’m rocking (or experiencing) something premium, I’m happier, more confident and overall, more “together.” And when I feel that way? I create bigger and better stuff…leading to more money….leading to more premium experiences. It’s an awesome spiral, really.
But premium also comes with a price…and I don’t just mean the one on the tag.
There’s a lotta chatter in the online sphere (especially for women entrepreneurs) about “charging what you’re worth” and “busting your money blocks” and really GOING FOR it in the price department. Now, don’t get it twisted: I believe there’s a lot of merit to this concept. I don’t think anybody should work for pennies. HELL to the NO.
I believe in abundance and that the universe will always deliver (on a silver platter) what we need, no matter what.
But I still don’t think that every. single. business. should charge premium prices.
When I raised my prices a few months back, some MAJOR shifts happened in my business. Shifts I wasn’t expecting (it was “only” a $200 price raise, after all) and shifts that frankly, I wasn’t prepared for.
And so what happened after? Was kiiiinda sucky.
I raised my prices, but I didn’t “raise” anything else. I was now charging people MORE, but I was still running my business at the same frenetic pace. I was still overbooking and over-promising. I was still doling out half-assed assignments to my (sweet and patient) VA without having a clear client management structure in place. I was still binging on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to numb out the fact that I was ALWAYS. BEHIND.
Obvs, I dove into every fresh client relationship with the very best intentions, like I always do. But I was drowning in work (and let’s be real, wine) and up to my neck in responsibilities (which doesn’t sound like a lot considering I’m only 4’10″…but I promise, IT WAS).
And not in just any work and responsibilities – but in work that was supposed to be premium, for clients who were PAYING premium.
And let me tell you:
PREMIUM CLIENTS EXPECT PREMIUM RESULTS.
The ladies who are cool with shelling out $1299 on a website are NOT the same ladies barraging through the dollar bin at Target, or hitting up T.J. Maxx over Nordstrom’s.
Unfortch, because this was my first time dabbling in premium pricing…I had NO idea what I was in for.
My (more) premium prices not only put more pressure on me as a writer to deliver, THEY also SIGNIFICANTLY raised the stakes for my clients, too.
In my case, this didn’t just meaning delivering on-point copy. It meant providing an amazing experience from beginning to end.
And given the sheer volume of clients I was trying to serve at the time, I simply wasn’t able to do that last bit to the best of my ability. Sure, the final product was delicious and luscious and awesome-as-always – but the journey there was bumpy and jagged and awkward. (Luckily, I’ve sparkled up my act quite a bit since then, although I know there’s always more room for improvement.)
But here’s what I want you to know, so you can avoid doing what I did:
Premium pricing comes with its own unique set of challenges – and it’s not a decision to be taken likely.
Business coaches who tell you to charge premium know what they’re talking about. But a lot of them are they are leaving out a significant part of the conversation: Raising your prices might mean MAJOR CHANGES in both the way your business operates and the way your clients perceive you – and what they expect from you.
If you want people to make a big investment in you and avoid looking like a knockoff brand, you’ve gotta consider A FEW KEY THINGS:
:: DO YOU HAVE A STELLAR SERVICE/OFFER TO BACK UP YOUR PRICE? // Is your offer something your clients actually want? (Have you surveyed them? No? Get on it, girl!)
:: ARE YOU PREPARED TO UPGRADE YOUR CLIENT EXPERIENCE (INCLUDING SETTING UP ELEGANT SYSTEMS AND/OR HIRING A VA) SO YOUR CUSTOMERS FEEL TAKEN CARE OF FROM START-TO-FINISH? // Are you willing to sit down and evaluate your processes and systems and shell out that cash to uplevel them if necessary?
:: ARE YOU CONFIDENT YOU/YOUR PRODUCT CAN PRODUCE HIGH-QUALITY RESULTS FOR YOUR CLIENTS? // If you’re a service-based biz owner, do you actually have the experience and acumen and smarts to charge what you’re charging? Are you creating original products and services? Are you actually doing what YOU are MEANT TO BE DOING in this world?
:: LAST BUT NOT LEAST; DO YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO BE A PREMIUM BRAND FOR THE LONG HAUL? // Do your prices “feel” right – or are you being influenced by outside sources (like biz coaches, gurus in your space and/or a lust for a new pair of Manolos)? And are you willing to give up what you might need to give up – be it time, money, resources – in order to get what you want (i.e. your position as a premium brand)?
If you can answer all the above questions honestly, you’ll know IMMEDIATELY whether premium prices are right for you and your business. If they are – hell yes! And if not? I want you to know it is OK to NOT charge premium prices at all – or to wait until you’re ready. You can still make a LOVELY living selling your stuff at affordable prices. Businesses are out there doing it everyday.
In short, this is my lesson: If you can’t or don’t want to deliver Gucci quality, don’t charge Gucci prices.
‘Cause – don’t act like you don’t know – nobody likes a knockoff. 🙂