What Am I Worth?
When I first started my business, I was designing websites for friends. My first client was willing to pay me $1,000. I thought I’d struck gold! I needed someone to help me, so I hired a friend from work. He charged me $500 for his side, so I thought I was raking in 50 percent profit. Nice work me!
After the first iteration, my client wanted so many changes that I had to go back to my friend for more help. This time he had to charge me $1000. I didn’t know how to do the work myself, so I had no choice but to pay him.
So, for my business’s very first job, I paid $500 for my client to get a new website.
I’ll never make that mistake again.
Thirteen years later, and I find myself as a professional certified coach. I didn’t see that one coming! But as soon as I made the decision to bring coaching into my business, I also made the commitment to myself that I would always charge whatever I needed to keep this business going. Nothing is more important to me than being available to those who need me. And I absolutely can’t achieve that if my business goes under.
What follows are the tools I have developed over the last four years to run my coaching practice successfully and sustainably. I’ve made these systems myself, and they are certainly not scientific, but they help give me structure in what is otherwise a very nebulous business.
These tools help me define what I’m selling, price my services accurately and fairly, offer flexibility in pricing when my clients need it, and keep track of everyone who shows interest in my work. That way, I can efficiently and effectively turn the best leads into paying clients—or quickly move on. I hope these systems work for you or inspire you to create some of your own.
Let’s face it. We’re never going to be able to guess exactly what our client needs or how much they’re willing to pay, but they also shouldn’t define our business for us. That’s why I like to offer my prospective clients three package options to choose from. Think small, medium and large. The prices vary widely, and so do the offerings. My base package is biweekly sessions and very little else. My middle package includes things like recordings, documentation, a single assessment and other relevant services. My premium package includes everything under the sun I could imagine any coaching client of mine ever wanting. By letting them choose which one works for them, I avoid the awkward conversations—as well as leaving money on the table.
I figured out the price tag to put on each of these packages using a handy calculator that I created easily in a spreadsheet. In it, I have line items accounting for every single thing I do in a coaching engagement. And I mean Every. Single. Thing. Yes, the session times, but also time spent emailing, time spent traveling, time spent documenting and running assessments, and even time I spend in the sales process itself.
I total up all the hours I’m committing at each package level, and then divide the potential package price by those hours to see what my per hour rate ends up being. From that I subtract my cost of doing business (i.e., the hourly rate I pay myself—I am an employee of my business after all!), and from there I learn what my business’s profit margin will be. I never let my profit margin fall beneath 50 percent. That’s a personal choice, but one that I’ve found works well for my business and for me.
Sending my prospects these packages falls somewhere in the middle of my sales process. I’ve created a checklist of all the steps that I must go through in order to successfully move a lead to a prospect to a paying client. I’ve reverse-engineered those steps from looking back at when I did well versus when I didn’t.
When a new lead lands in my inbox, we communicate a little over email, we eventually move to a phone call, and if they’re still interested, I send the package options. Always following specific steps in a specific order gives me a repeatable approach that I know works for me and prevents me from having to remember what to do next every time.
After all, the less time I spend stuck in the mechanics of running my business, the more time I have for doing what really matters: being present in the moment. And to me, that is worth everything.
©2018 Whitney Georgina Hess. All Rights Reserved.