Written by: Laura Joseph of Paper and Honey
RECOGNIZE YOUR TALENTS. What can you do that’s uniquely you? What can you offer the world and the people you want to serve most? Don’t believe the lie that it’s all been done before. You have a one-of-a-kind-ness that has never existed — your own set of life experiences, talents, values, and opinions that color your views and the way you approach new opportunities. You didn’t just start a business to make money; you started a business because you have talent and you want to make a difference in the world. There’s something you were meant to do. And you should do it.
That being said, how can you take your passions and your talents and turn a profit? Start by looking at your client. How can you meet her needs, wants, and fears? How can you make a difference in her life? Evaluate your strengths and figure out how to serve your clients in a unique and unexpected way. Solve their problems for them before they even know what they are.
TAKE YOURSELF AND YOUR WORK SERIOUSLY. This might be the hardest concept to tackle and internalize. It’s so hard to charge your worth when you first launch your business — after all, you don’t yet have proof that people will pay your price! But remember, what you’re doing is not just a hobby. It’s a business. This is money that will put food on your table, pay your mortgage, put clothes on your back. This is money that will support your family. And that’s not something to laugh at. You need clients in order to keep that income flowing, so don’t shortchange yourself! Know your worth and don’t be afraid to charge accordingly.
If you’re struggling with where to start, run the numbers. Add up your expenses and take it from there. How much money do you need to run your business and your life? Calculate your sales goal by adding your annual expenses and the amount you want to make in one year. By dividing the sales goal by the amount you want to work, you’ll find your average price per service you’ll need to charge in order to meet that goal. For example, say you’re a photographer and you want to make $85,000 a year, working three weddings a month. To reach that sales goal you’ll need to charge $2,361.11 per wedding.
ADD TO YOUR CLIENT EXPERIENCE BEYOND JUST YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE. Your client experience should be just that: an experience. You want your clients to be shouting your name from the rooftops long after your working relationship is over because you are just that dang good! You made her feel loved, you alleviated her fears, you delivered a brilliant product, and you were gracious and professional along the way.
It’s the little things beyond what you DO that make all the difference. What can you do that will delight and surprise her? Maybe it’s a, “welcome to the family” package, once she books with you, consisting of some of your favorite goodies. Maybe you have a designer or calligrapher pen a custom quote that can be customized to each couple, gifted right before their wedding day. Maybe once the event is long done and over, you send her a card congratulating her and her husband on their first year of marriage. My favorite example of this is from Justin & Mary, who print a photograph of the bride and groom on their very wedding day, gifted to them at the end of the night in a beautiful silver frame. Their goal is to “create work that is timeless and enduring enough to still be beautiful and relevant sixty years from now” for when that silver frame is on their mantle and shown off to the grand kids. Is that incredible or what? That is an experience. That’s what your clients want — not just your product or service.
POST YOUR PRICES PUBLICLY. Posting your prices can be really scary! We all worry at some point whether or not we charge too much for our dream client, or if we’ll scare her away before we can really get her to fall in love with us and our businesses. But that’s why recognizing and pinpointing our ideal clients is so important — not everyone would pay our prices, and that’s okay! Because we’re not marketing to everyone. We’re marketing towards the customer that we dream of, and that person can afford our products and services.
By posting your pricing publicly on your website, or at least your “starting at” pricing, we save the time of both ourselves and the potential clients that may not be the best fit in the end. For example, if you’re a photographer whose wedding packages start at $3000, the bride with a photography budget of $1500 will know right off the bat that you’re not a great fit. She’ll move on to find her dream photographer and you won’t need to spend the time responding to inquiries that won’t pan out.
Laura Joseph is a stationary designer and calligrapher from Michigan. To connect with Laura, or learn more about her services, visit her website and social media.