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I follow (on facebook) a rude(!) but successful Australian business/marketing guru who charges $8-10K for a 4 day residential, immersing you in strategies to succeed and it appears her students do extremely well.   She posted this today and I thought you may find it interesting as many of us do undervalue our work... 

It makes me sad to see people who have SO much to offer the world under-valuing themselves.

The problem with running $197 events and selling $997 products is that the effort required to get to a reasonable income is so overwhelming that you end up exhausted and often, burned out.

I know. I've been there.

By valuing yourself appropriately, by believing in what you offer, by backing yourself, you'll create a business that's easier to run, makes you more money and one that allows you to service your clients without overwhelm.

Start by doubling your prices.

The only reason you think you "can't" is because of the negative self-talk and money bullshit you're letting control you. Sure, you're VERY good at justifying it with the "economy" and the "market" and what your "competition" are charging ... but that's all just the sweet, seductive voice of the sales demon.

And it's all a lie.

You are worth more than the struggle you're putting yourself through! It DOESN'T have to be like this! All you have to do is let go of your fear - just for long enough to put it out there ... just for long enough to sell one person ... just for long enough to SEE that it's possible.

The level of service you'll be able to provide to your clients at that rate will also make a huge difference. The more you charge, the more you can do, the better results they're going to get and the happier they'll be.

If you're going to change the world, it's time to stop letting your doubt and fear hold you back - own your incredible gifts and value them fairly.

What are your thoughts after that?

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I'd so much rather sell the one piece for $100 - though I'd prefer to sell it right at the very beginning of the show, rather than the last day. 

I'm a recovering alcoholic, sober 26 years plus change now. When I got sober, people told me I would have to leave my old friends and my old haunts behind, or I'd never make it. I was sure I would end up friendless and lonely. But guess what? I didn't!

To some degree, I feel the same way about raising my prices. I feel like I am leaving my old friends behind, the ones who bought paintings from me for $35 and $45, when I had NO IDEA what I was doing, or where this would take me (truth be told, I still don't) - and if I don't have them, I will be slicing out a part of my buying public. 

I mentioned this conundrum to my prosperity coach, and he told me to let those original customers know that they will always get price breaks from me. So that solves it for me, and reminds me that it is all in my discretion. 

That solves one of the conundrums we will all face by rising our prices, looking after our loyal clients.

Carrie, I offer all repeat customers a discount also. Your old customers may be happy to know that your paintings now sell for more because it means that the value of what they purchased from you has gone up. I had a repeat customer a few weeks ago who was excited to see that the photograph they purchased from me a year ago now sells for more than they bought it for. They then made the biggest single purchase from me that I've ever had, even after their repeat customer discount.
I sold my first custom quality saddle in 1961 for$325. Today it would sell for around $4500 and the wholesale cost of materials is almost double the first one's price. I went through a phase of worrying that raising prices would reduce sales but found that I was working for a better clientele who appreciated my work more. About a month ago I got a letter from my main tannery that a 10% surcharge would be added to orders placed after June 1 (Chinese buying raw hides and exporting them to China for shoe leather). This is about $150 more on a $1500 roll of ten sides (5 cows). I raised belt prices to cover purchases I knew I would be making later this summer and I also raised my labor rate to $60/hour. I did a first time show over the weekend and heard no complaints about my prices and saw higher priced items going out along with belt purchases. The tannery owner once told a bunch of us saddlemakers that "you are producing luxury goods that should be priced accordingly". The same can be said for art of many mediums. I use a pricing formula of 2-2.5 x material, plus hourly labor in an Excel spread sheet. I also calculate what I make if I give a dealer a 20% discount, and if I don't like it I raise the retail price. That way, if I give other artists at the show, military in uniform, or anyone else a discount of 10%, I am not losing any significant money with the purchase of goodwill.

Great post! I too am going through the process of raising my prices. I sold almost 1/2 of my inventory at Arts in the Park and many folks that bought told me that my prices were too low. I had to work like a mad man to rebuild my inventory for the next show. Since then, I have raised my prices, and guess what, the items have still sold. Although, I haven't done an honest art festival since Arts in the Park. My thinking is that if the items sell at wine festivals, I should do well at real art festivals. Syracuse will be the big test. 

Evan, how much of a discount do you give your returning clients? I do have some that have been buying from me since I started doing shows. I am sure that they have noticed my prices going up, but have not had any complaints for them. 

Returning customers get 10% off. I also have at least one customer that purchased from me at my first show and still buys.

Thanks Evan, that sounds like a good idea and I will try that. 

Of course if that “Australian business/marketing guru” said that we should all cut our prices because we’re overvaluing our work - he probably wouldn’t be doing those big money shows for very long :)

I suppose a lot of it depends on your product and/or target market – however looking at the long term benefits I would personally prefer to make the same amount of profit on a couple of sales then on just one.  At the end of the day I’ve got the potential of multiple return customers instead of just the one.  That extra profit on that one item will be gone in a day – but those extra customers (compounded over many years) can help pay my bills for the next several decades.  A larger customer base really comes in handy during slow times.   

At the end of the day I keep decent records – as long as I’m making a reasonable profit for my effort I’m happy.  My customers, sales figures and competition will let me know if I’m overpriced or underpriced.


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