Dear Mamapreneur, Stop Feeling Guilty When Someone Says They Can’t Afford Your Products
Hey friend, do you feel pangs of guilt when someone tells you they can’t afford your products? I’ve been there, too!
Learn why you shouldn’t feel guilty about this, why that comment truly has nothing to do with you, and how to add more value to your products so you can confidently charge more.
Friend, your business, your family, your customers, and your sanity depend on you charging based on the value your products bring to the table. Step it on up, sister! You can raise your prices and not worry about the Bargain Brendas trying to bring you down.
Press Play on the Podcast Player Below to Hear my Story and get Encouragement for your Business!
Buckle Up: Today’s Episode is a Hot Topic
Hey friend! Today's episode is on a bit of a hot topic — one I think that nearly every brilliant business mom on the planet likely struggles with, and I know I do too.
I’m here to be, well…. kind of your business coach for the week! I don't usually think of myself as a business coach. I don’t do one-on-one coaching, but this is the type of episode where this is exactly what I would say to you if we were sitting down to have a cup of coffee together face-to-face. This is exactly the encouragement I would give to you, friend to friend
Do You Feel Guilty When Someone Says They Can’t Afford Your Product?
Have you ever been on the receiving end of this conversation?
“Wow, I love your product, but it is so expensive! I just can’t afford that right now!”
I don’t know about you, but whenever someone tells me that, my initial reaction is to feel guilty! I used to feel bad that someone couldn’t afford my thing, whether it was a physical product (like my planner) or a digital product (like one of my courses).
However, I no longer accept those initial feelings or allow myself to sit with them for too long. Getting over those feelings of guilt has come through hard-won experience.
How I Learned Product Pricing the Hard Way
I’m sure you have heard this advice before: “You need to charge what you're worth! You need to raise your prices! You're not charging enough!” But in many cases, you just get that short sound bite, not that person's actual business experience.
So here’s my story, and why I think not charging enough for your products or services is truly hurting you, your family, and your customers.
I have sold digital products and courses for as low as $10 and as high as $497. For our planners, we had a $25 first version of the Brilliant Business Planner and currently sell a $58 Brilliant Life Planner.
We have all heard the advice that we need to serve our audience well in order to grow our business. Ask your audience what they want, listen to them, solve their problems, wave your magic wand and that's all there is to it, right?
Well, I am here to tell you how that advice really steered me down the wrong path and nearly burned me out!
In 2017, about a year after I had been running Brilliant Business Moms solo, I did an audience survey to ask what everyone wanted from BBM, and I got a lot of great feedback. But the one piece of feedback I wish I hadn’t listened to was that my audience needed things to be priced ridiculously low.
My 3-person team and I came up with this idea of mini classes for different business topics. We said, “OK, let's try this: We’ll create a new product called mini classes where people can pay just $15 for the live ticket. If they show up to class live, it'll be a 2-hour class full of content, and they can get access to the class recording and class slides that they can reference anytime.” There was also a bunch of bonus content, too, that you all got for that initial ticket price.
It sounded like a good idea in theory, but $15 for a mini class that took the four of us working nearly full time for a month leading up to the class meant… I was BARELY covering all of my business expenses! These classes were not thrown together in a jiffy. I gave them my all, and my team did too.
I've gotten feedback from other experienced business owners telling me that I should be charging several hundred dollars for each of those courses. (I'm not going to do that, so don't stress!) But that mini class model nearly killed my business and did my business, my team, and my customers a disservice. It cheapened the product we worked so hard to produce, and we were barely breaking even with sales. And that’s a big deal!
The other thing that really bothered me was that in order to keep paying my business expenses, paying my team, paying for help to produce the podcast, paying for marketing, and paying for the overhead of my business, I would have to create and launch a mini class every single month.
As a member of my audience, do you really want to be promoted to in a big way every single month? I would literally be non-stop promoting month after month, and that sounds pretty exhausting for me AND for you!
Is Product Price the Real Problem?
Want to know something else that is really interesting about offering those really cheap products? I realized that even though many of you said that price was a huge issue for you and a huge hurdle as far as growing your business, many of my mini class students would come to us a year later and say, “Hey, I bought this class and I've never logged into it. Can you help me figure out where it is and where to log in?”
So…. price wasn’t really the issue was it? These customers weren’t prioritizing their business or their time. They were handed an affordable option and still chose not to use it to grow their business.
My goal here is not to make anyone feel bad, because I know many of you DID take those classes seriously and run with what you learned, but business mom to business mom, pricing your product at a really low price point is not the solution, even if your audience is telling you they can't afford you.
You could give them a $15 product, like I did, and there are still people who will say they can't afford you! So the issue is something deeper: They're living in Excuse World. They're not taking ownership of their life and their choices and their ability to get stuff done and make things happen.
It is so discouraging to see someone snatch up my product because it was a good deal and not because they wanted to learn or take action. That's doing a disservice to the students who were serious about learning and would have gladly paid $150 for that content. I could have had some coaching sessions with them, we could have gone a little bit deeper, and they would have been happy to do that.
I don't think we should make purchases based on whether something is a good deal. I think we should buy things we're going to use and things that we actually need. Decide ahead of time based on your business goals and big priorities what you want to learn and what tools you need to grow, but don’t get distracted by shiny objects that aren't really going to help you reach your goals.
What Products People Can Afford Depends on Their Priorities
Here’s the other thing about the phrase, “I can’t afford that.” What people can afford is very relative. The same person who is telling you they can't afford your product might be getting their nails done every couple of weeks or go out to eat multiple times a month.
If you go out to eat once a month, that's about $50, right? If your product is $50, or even if your product is several hundred dollars, if they really want it and it's really a priority, they can forego eating out for a few months, and then, like magic, afford your product!
We all get to choose how we spend our money, and we all get to choose what’s a priority for us.
When someone says they can't afford your product, what they're really saying is, “Your product is not a priority to me.”
If they're not willing to give up some of their other luxuries in order to save up for your product, that doesn't mean that you need to bend over backwards and change your price or feel guilty.
You have to charge enough so that your business is sustainable. You're doing all of your customers a disservice when you don't charge enough, because if you keep doing that, you’ll get burned out, and even worse, go out of business!
Dream Customers and Students Never Complain
My dream customers and my dream students never complain. They ask good questions, they want feedback, they look for advice, and then literally just go out and take action! They'll come back to me a few weeks later and say, “Hey, thank you so much for giving me that advice or teaching me that thing. Here are my results!”
That is so different from the people that complain or just have excuses. You don't really want to have customers who don’t make your product a priority. Leave that to Walmart! Walmart can deal with all the people who just want to buy stuff because it's cheap.
How Much Do Your Competitors Charge?
The other thing that really helped me shift my mindset on pricing was comparing the price of my courses to the community college classes that I've taken in the past.
I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grove City College and then I have a bachelor’s degree from an accelerated program for nursing at University of Alabama at Birmingham. I also took prerequisites for nursing school at a community college in Pensacola, Florida.
I started thinking back to how much each class at the community college cost, and how much value did I get? Each of those classes cost at least $500. At Grove City College it was about $1,400 a class.
Am I offering a similar value in my online courses? I think so. I offer a similar level of support to my students with live office hours and quick email response. So why would I charge $15 for something that's comparable to a college class and is based on my real-life success and my real-life experiences? Why would I sell myself so short?
I want you to think about that, too, with whatever product you sell. Charge based on the incredible value that you can give, and you can give more value in all sorts of ways:
Ways to Add More Value to your Products
- Provide excellent customer service
- Answer every question your customers have
- Offer a bonus training or a bonus book on how to use your product really well
- Add a surprise extra in the box that ships out to them.
- Overall, create a great experience every step of the way.
One of the ways I provide lots of extra value with my Brilliant Life Planner is by offering Planner School. This year, we did a live version of Planner School, where I released a video lesson every weekday in January inside a private Facebook group.
I would ask a question after each lesson, we had conversations going, and I got to personally give some advice and feedback. I can go above and beyond with the value that I bring to the table, so I can have confidence in my product and the price that I'm setting.
Hear from Another Business Mama Who Doesn’t Apologize for Her Price Point
Molly Goodall of Little Goodall sells handmade children's coats. She designs them herself and then partners with a manufacturer in her local area where they hand make the coats for her.
Her coats are very expensive (well…. expensive is a relative term!) — but some of the coats cost $200. They’re gorgeous and super high-quality.
When I interviewed Molly for the podcast (her episode is coming soon!) I asked, “What do you say to the people who complain about your prices or say that your coats are too expensive?” And she said that doesn't bother her at all. Little Goodall hosts VIP sales twice a year just for people on her email list where they can get a lot of her products for a really good discount. If it's a priority, they can save up for it and they can be ready for that VIP sale.
Molly deserves to get paid for what she's doing. She says, “I know what I need to charge based on the materials I'm using, the time it takes me to design the items, to go back and forth with the manufacturers and create the patterns. I know how much time and money it costs to pay my manufacturers. I know how much money it costs to run my business, and I know how to appropriately price my products. If I do not charge an appropriate price, then I will go out of business! I love doing this, and I want to keep running my business for a long time.”
Be OK with Your Price Point and your Product’s Worth
Be OK with charging what your product is worth. Be OK with charging based on the value you bring to the table. Be OK with charging based on what you know you need to charge to operate your overhead and cover your advertising, and also take home a paycheck!
We all have to make tough decisions, and some of us are on tighter budgets than others. But you can always add in some fun ways to support those audience members of yours who are on a tighter budget. Molly does her VIP sales, and I do scholarship programs. You can find other ways to support the people who can't usually afford your products without working yourself to the bone.
By Offering One Premium Product, I Have the Breathing Room to Offer More Free Content!
By digging deep and focusing and providing one awesome premium product to you all for the next few years, I have the freedom to offer a ton of free helpful content to you!
So if someone says, “I really want to purchase your course, but I can’t afford it,” I would say, “I'm really sorry about that, but I will be launching it at another time later this year if you'd like to save up! In the meantime, I have more than a hundred podcast episodes that you can listen to that will also help you to grow your business.”
By charging based on the value my products bring to the table, I can serve both my paying customers and my audience members who aren't ready to pay yet.
My New Signature Course: Brilliant Product Launches
I went pretty deep into the story behind the hard lessons I learned around charging what my products are worth, and I'm sure some of you were disappointed that I won't be doing more mini classes. BUT, I did promise to tell you what my new signature course is that I'll be focusing on, not just for 2019 but for several years to come.
It's all about product launches!
I will explain in another solo episode what a product launch is, and why it applies to you even if you think it doesn't. We’ll talk about why you should be implementing genuine product launches in your business.
I’ll share how it has affected my own business, how it has brought my business to the next level, and how I can help you with your product launches.
At its heart, product launching is simply about having a brilliant, well-thought-out, well-executed marketing plan for your business. So if you have a product that you want to sell, whether it's a digital product, a physical product, or promoting another person's product as an affiliate, I'll be sharing more information in coming episodes.
At the end of the quiz, you'll get your results and some specific recommendations from me on what to do to make sure you are ready to launch your products. I can't wait to see what you think of the quiz, and I can't wait to share more with you about product launches!
Charging a Sustainable Price for your Products is Better for Everyone!
Take this episode to heart my friend! Charge based on the value your products bring to the table, have confidence in your incredible products, and really sit down and think through all the numbers.
Think through your materials, your labor, and your overhead. Think through what the implications are for charging a price that you can sustain. Think about how that helps you provide a better experience for your customers, how it helps you to provide a better product, and how it helps make sure you're not burned out.
Make sure you can keep running your incredible business for years to come to better serve everyone. Everyone benefits when you charge a sustainable price for your products.
– Beth Anne