i will always be learning when it comes to running my own business. thankfully, i have dear friends in the photography industry and other related industries that keep me in good company when figuring things out.
one thing i know for certain though, pricing our services is difficult and typically produces a good deal of angst for those of us who are self employed.
there are the obvious ways to handle pricing: checking out our local markets, evaluating what we have to offer potential clients/customers, considering our own costs and placing value on our time. but all of that can come crashing to a halt when a dear friend inquires about a session or when someone says they'd love to hire us but can't afford it. then, we're faced with a decision whether to discount or give as the calculator in our mind flips through all the budgeting and pricing we've previously worked out.
my own business pricing has been all over the map since beginning the journey of owning my own business over five years ago. i have discounted pricing, priced myself way too low, worried too much about money, and have adjusted things along the way. what i've found through the years is that consistency with pricing is important and gives our business integrity.
no one is going to value our time and costs more than we do. in fact, i'll argue that our clients will ONLY value our time and costs AS MUCH as we do. therefore, it's important to honor ourselves and our businesses by sticking to our necessary budgets and plans. i made a little promise to myself when first beginning this journey that my time and life with my family is VALUABLE enough to me to not allow myself to be underpaid. we each have to reason with ourselves over what that amount should be, but it's been a promise that i've fought to keep.
that being said (and here's the really GOOD part) when we do honor our pricing and business model, it actually FREES us to be giving! this is the gift of owning our own businesses! you can't work for a boutique and start giving their things away because you felt so lead. but, we self-employed peeps CAN give when we are able because we don't report to anyone else.
believe me, i can be stingy, but there have been times when i've chosen otherwise. every now and then, i get it right. when i do, the paradoxical belief of it being better to give than receive seems so true.
still, how do we know when or who to give to?
that's a tough and a personal question that i sadly can't answer for all of us. but consider adding into your business goals one or two giving goals. perhaps as a Christmas gift, you give away one session to a family who you know hasn't had portraits in years. (be clear, i'm not talking about a "give away" marketing promotion.) or look for a family that is in grief and offer your gifts to help lighten their load. i guess the point is for us to look around us with our eyes open.
maybe just maybe when you give, you'll get more in return.
let's do business well, but let's do more than business. xo.