Friday, May 18, 2012

Name your price

Do you know the Universe's favourite joke?

It's a one liner. Told ad infinitum. Even though I don't seem to find it hugely amusing.See if you recognise it!

This little routine goes something like this:

Me: I want to write a book (teach a course, paint a picture...)

Universe: Great, let's get to it.

Me: Ta -da! Hurray! Get me! I just wrote a book!

Universe: congrats! Now name your price!

Me: But oh, I don't want to make it too expensive, it's not really worth much!

Uni: Great! Name your price!

Me: But I've spent hundreds of hours on it. If I priced it on a per hour basis I'd need to ask for a lot more.

Uni: Great! Name your price!

Me: Look, this is the going rate. I'll charge that.

Uni: Great! Name your price!

Me: But I'm not that good. I'm only starting out.

Uni: Great! Name your price!

Me: OK, this is my price.... (A few minutes/ hours/ days later).... Ummm, no I'm worth more than that!

Uni: Great! Name your price!

Me: Yes! I am going to charge my worth. This is great product. I am a good person. X charges X for theirs, and they are rubbish. Up it goes!

Uni: Great! Name your price!

Me: But then everyone will think I'm greedy. And that it's over priced. They'll see that I'm a sham. They'll feel ripped off. They'll hate me. Yes, that's it, they'll hate me, and they'll tell everyone what a bad person I am. And then no one will buy it. And then we'll never have enough money...

Uni: Great! Name your price!

Do you recognise this?

And so with a mixture of deft research, bravado, self undercutting, guts and terror, weeks of sleepless nights and feeling sick you name your price.

And then the world ends. Everyone hates you. You never work again...

Oh no, scratch that! What really happens is this... Your customer buys, and pays. Or doesn't. They come back. Or perhaps they don't. End of....tell me again where the drama is?!

Right now I'm here, pricing paintings and invoicing for the blogging course I'm teaching. I'm stewing in self doubt. Wanting to be fair to everyone. Want to break my chronic habit of undercharging. Especially now I am working for a client who really can afford to pay me fairly. And who sought me out...

So, enough waffle, you want a simple equation, for charging your worth? Yup me too!

It goes something like this:
Costs+hoursxstress-goodwill+profit+?!&= your price.

Do you struggle more naming your price, asking for money or collecting money owed to you? Do you have any insight into why? Or are they all equally torturous to you? If YOU have a secret formula, or just a working one, do share it with us.

PS - A random couple of thoughts

You know what comes to me? That on an unconscious level we women balk at putting a price on our service, because it feels like a form of prostitution. We are selling our services to the highest bidder.

How does that sit with you? Had you ever considered it?

The other thing that many of us are aware of is that our creativity, our gifts are not really ours - so who are we to sell them? Mark Silver spoke really well on this in his talk on Molly Gordon's self employment summit. Check out his work on Heart of

This is part of the Mindful Money series at Dreaming Aloud. Take some time to check out the other posts on...

Naming Your Price


  1. Identify totally with this, and wanted to add to your post the other day that I too have had COUNTLESS ideas for projects and businesses, have even followed some of them in various depths, and every day I have ideas for more things I could do, pursue, to realise my dreams... but I have NEVER considered myself an entrepeneur!

    But through it ALL I am a terrible business woman and hate asking for the goods! When I made jewellery (before kids!), I used to basically charge double the material costs, because any more and people would consider it overpriced! We are in such a competitive market and handmade goods are so terribly undervalued. Some people - the people who love real craftsmanship - are willing to pay for the work but most sadly aren't ;/

    What we need is a movement - let us women (and whatever other tortured souls) demand our worth!! Show the world just what real, quality work means. I think you're the one to lead it Lucy :)

  2. When you told me the price for your painting, I went through these successive emotions:

    1) That's quite expensive

    2) But it is gorgeous!

    3) Good for her

    4) She is really going to go far

    5) I'm happy she will go far and is pricing herself at a self-respecting rate

    6) If I wanted crappy artwork on a shoestring I could go to B&Q and buy a generic piece of art printed in china and shipped over here by the thousand, adorning the walls of so many other thousands of people

    7) I can't wait to get my unique piece of art - it will look so joyous!

    8) Real art isn't mass produced, watered down, bought for pennies.

    9) We have come to expect that we can buy stuff for as cheaply as possible, and this is greedy and unsustainable

    10) Rock on Lucy Pearce!!!! Keep blazing your trail. Don't panic about it any more. You are worth every penny that you charge - and you deserve it!

    Lots of love x x x x x

  3. A bit off topic, but also a bit on topic - I have just received your book, Moon Time in the post. It's great! I can't say too much more just yet, I need to read more (and read slowly), but I just get the sense it is profound and true and important. I think you completely made the right decision to trust yourself and your vision in publishing it how and when you wanted it. That same trust will be driving your businesses and make them things I WANT to support.

  4. I'm struggling with this myself at the moment. For me, the issue is made up of 2 parts:
    1. I want to help people - but if I price my work too highly people who need help won't be able to afford me
    2. I don't value myself - even though I'm actually pretty good at what I do, I can't seem to charge people what I'm worth because I don't believe I'm worth that much. Sad, eh?

    But I'm working on it, slowly yes, but I'm still making progress. And, your conversation with the universe - I've had exactly the same one!

    I hadn't thought about the whole prostitution thing, but I think that would be valid for some women. For me I think it is more a case of women as nurturers - we are hardwired to give, so to ask for something doesn't sit well with us.

  5. Thank you each and every wonderful ladies, really valuing your input and honesty xxxxxxxx



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