Back Office Secrets
with Jenny Shih

The Stress-Free Guide to Raising Prices

You know it’s time.

Maybe it’s the frustration you feel when you look at your bank account. Or the brewing resentment when you get on the phone with your clients. Or the realization that you’re really, really good at what you do.

Whatever the reason, you know it’s time to raise your rates. But you’re a little nervous about actually making the change.

I hear you! Raising your rates can be scary. It brings up your fears that no one will hire you, you’ll go broke and you’ll have to crawl back to that job you couldn’t stand.

I promise you there’s an easier way. You can get paid what you deserve, and declaring your new rates doesn’t have to be so hard.

Today I’m going to walk you through the proven steps I use with my private clients to help them earn what they’re truly worth.

Let’s get to it. Here’s how to raise your prices, stress-free.

Step 1. 6 Signs You’re Ready to Make a Change

Here are some tell-tale signs it’s time to raise your prices, just in case you are on the fence about making this change. If you even resonate with just one of the signs below, it’s time to up what you charge!

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1. You’ve just got a feeling it’s time to do it.
2. You’re feeling resentful about how demanding your clients are.
3. You’ve created solution-focused offers that people love and you feel great about.
4. You have a waiting list.
5. You’ve recently taken a killer training where you learned a ton and upped your game big-time.
6. Your clients tell you you’re not charging enough. (Hint: This is a HUGE wake-up call!)

Step 2. Picking the Price – How to Decide What to Charge

First, avoid the comparison game.

It’s likely you already have a general feel for the prices your competitors charge. However, in-depth research on everyone else’s rates will not help you find your perfect pricing. Instead, it’ll just make your head spin and get you stuck in the awful comparison game.

To find your perfect pricing, you have to focus on you and what you do best. I guarantee that the more you do this, the more you’ll differentiate yourself from the competition, eventually making them irrelevant!

Second, consider your customer’s perspective.

We can get in our own way when it comes to raising our prices. So start by thinking about your customer.

Ask yourself, “What is it worth to someone to have this _____ problem solved?” (After all, if you’re a regular reader here, you know that offers which solve clear problems are the ones that easily sell.)

What’s the first number that comes to mind?

My clients always have a number that immediately pops into their head. Then they start talking themselves out of it. Fifteen minutes later, after a discussion about providing killer results for clients (which leads to amazing testimonials, which leads to more clients . . .), they jump back to the number that first popped into their head. Save yourself the time and worry and go with what first came to you!

Third, ask yourself, “How can I kick it up a notch… or 10?”

I’m guessing that the first price that came into your mind made you a little bit nervous? That’s perfect!

The next thing I have my clients do is think about how they can “up their game” to make that price feel like a bargain.

To do this, ask yourself…

  • How I can kick my services up a notch, providing phenomenal results to my clients?
  • How can I provide such incredible service that they feel like that price, the one that made you a little uncomfortable, is actually a great deal?

Once you figure this out, you’re right on track.

Refine your offer, and finalize it with killer copy. Once my clients write the copy for their new offer, they find themselves totally convinced that their offer is fantastic and the price is perfect. That’s how we know we’ve struck gold.

Step 3: Tell Your Clients

To start, create a transition plan.

notebook and pen

One of the big reasons entrepreneurs are afraid to raise their prices is they picture springing the higher prices on their current clients and watching those clients bolt. The it’s-really-that-simple way around that concern is to make a transition plan.

Consider these questions and map out exactly how you want to raise your prices. Sorting out these specifics makes everything easier!

  • When will you start charging new clients this new price?
  • When will current clients begin paying your new rate? (It’s okay if the dates are different for new versus current clients.)
  • What date will you tell your current clients about the increase?
  • What date will you post your new rates on your website? (I often advise clients to post their new client rates on their site at the same time they tell their current clients.)
  • Will you give your current clients an opportunity to make a few final purchases at the old rate? If so, when will the deadline for that be?

Sorting through these details allows you to create a clear transition period for your clients, and it also offers an incentive for them to stick with you!

Then, execute your transition plan.

Now that you know what’s happening and in what order, it’s time to implement your plan. Notify clients, update your website and send friendly reminders to the clients you love most.

Your clients may be busy people just like you, so if you don’t hear back from a client after you’ve notified them, be sure to follow up!

That’s it! Now, You’re Earning What You’re Worth

Remember: Getting paid what you’re worth doesn’t have to be a painful struggle.

Follow these steps to guarantee you make the shift with confidence, fairness, and most of all: class.

Let’s start a conversation!

What gets in the way of you raising your rates? Or if you already have, what approach did you use when the time came?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you have questions about how to raise your rates or unique situations, post them here and I’ll help however I can.

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About Jenny Shih

Jenny Shih of jennyshih.com is a coach and consultant for small business owners. Her clients are “idea factories” with growing businesses who need help planning, strategizing, streamlining and systematizing. She helps new entrepreneurs define their niche, learn the basics of marketing, and start making money. And she helps experienced entrepreneurs set up systems so they can get out of the daily grind and spend more time doing what they love.

Jenny is the author of The System Flight Kit, everything you need to create effective systems in your business, and The Idea Flight Kit, a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into something real. Download your copies right here. They’re FREE!

Comments

  1. So what is the guidance for coming up with pricing in the first place to ensure that you don’t have to consider raising soon thereafter because you undervalued your services starting out or even just trying to win the business in a competitive environment?

    • I have bunch of thoughts on this! Here goes…

      If you’re brand new to doing what you do, always start with something you feel comfortable with. A lot of new business owners have trouble charging for what they do (because they love it so much). So pick a number that you feel comfortable charging because getting clients in the door is your #1 priority. Plus, your first clients give you great practice and good testimonials.

      Don’t worry too much about undervaluing yourself at the beginning. Focus instead on getting fantastic at what you do.

      Don’t worry about the competitive environment, either. I believe that if we focus first and foremost on doing an incredible job delivering to our clients, then competition is totally irrelevant.

      Too much looking “outside” at what other people are doing de-focuses us from our genius and building the best business we’re meant to have. Focus on yourself and your customers and you will always be right on track.

      Then, as you get better at what you do, you will up your rates. And you’ll get better and up your rates again.

      There’s not need to fear raising your rates. Know that you will always be increasing them. If you’re busy and your business is growing, you may end up raising your rates every 6 months. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think a business owner who is serious about making her business work should plan on increasing her rates regularly.

      Good luck!!

  2. Thank you Jenny. I think I’m getting to the point where I want to charge what I am worth. I can see how one can start feeling frustrated because we are doing too much for too little. Thank you for breaking down the “How to” start this process. Of all the things that get me out of my comfort zone, I think this one is it and now at least I don’t feel so awkward doing it. I am sure I am not alone in feeling this way. Very practical article Jenny, now watch me share it :).

    • Good for you, Raquel, for seeing it’s time. Acknowledging it is a huge step.

      I’m so glad you found the how-to part helpful. It’s funny how little logistics like that can trip people up.

      As far as your comfort zone, when you pick your new pricing, ask yourself, “What would I need to do to this offer to make this price not feel so uncomfortable?” For example, I did this exercise with a client yesterday (she’s a web designer), and when picked the new pricing for her high-end package, she said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to add in ______ to this package, but I wasn’t charging enough to justify it before. I will add that in now.” Adding in a few little things made her more comfortable with her own pricing and excited to raise her rates.

      Little things like that can make the whole process easier. You can do it! I’m cheering you on! :-)

  3. Hi Jenny,
    Great post. I’m just starting out in private practice as a coach and counselor, fee-for-service only. At first I set my prices too low, because I realized I was only considering what I thought people would pay. It was a limiting, fear-based decision. Then a friend who knows me and what I have to offer, encouraged me to choose what I feel my services are worth, based on value to the customer. I realized I would have felt resentful of my clients by choosing to under charge! So knowing I can resort to sliding scale, I increased my prices, and since then, two more clients have signed on. Now the challenge will be to refrain from offering the sliding fee! It is uncomfortable offering services I myself probably couldn’t afford long-term. But my returning clients think what I do is invaluable. Any suggestions for becoming more comfortable with my fees? Thank you!
    Lisa

    • Great story, Lisa! You’re learning, and that’s fantastic. In fact, we all have our own pricing journey and each step teaches us more about ourselves and our work, so nothing that’s happened has been wasted. Please know that!

      As far as getting comfortable with your fees, I have the perfect solution. I use this with my clients all the time. Ask yourself, “What would I need to include with my offers to make $xxx feel like a bargain for my clients?”

      One of the reasons I teach my clients to put together packages whenever possible (as opposed to pay-by-the-hour services) is that it gets them focused on delivering results to clients (over delivering hours). Check out this post to see what I mean. http://lkrsocialmedia.com/2013/10/why-no-ones-buying-how-to-change-it-today/
      That will also help you answer the question above.

      To give you a few examples so you know what I mean…
      * When I work with one-on-one clients, they get several things in addition to 1-1 time with me. They get access to my digital program, Get Your First 1000 Subscribers. They also get access to my exclusive client digital archive. Both of those things add massive value to my clients at no extra cost to me — but it also helps them get great results (and the pricing feel more in alignment).
      * I have a nutritionist client who offers a Snacking Cheat Sheet to her clients who want to lose weight.
      * Another client, a women’s success coach, offers a Success Toolkit, a collection of classes and tools to help her clients beyond their 1-1 time.

      Basically, think about how you can add massive value (without it being more time with you, one-on-one) so that your pricing feels like a great deal for your clients. And check out that post I mentioned.

      Good luck!