May 2021 Message
May 3rd, 2021
This Month’s Money Message: Reassess
I was listening to an interview with Anne Lamott and she quoted E.L. Doctorow: “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
Doctorow was talking about writing, but that advice is pretty applicable to life as well. And to money. When you last set your rates for your work or your time, you could see what was in front of you. (And what was in front of you may have included a global pandemic.) But now, there might be something new in front of you.
So this month, we’re going to:
Specifically, we’re going to reassess your rates.
As you think about your rates, remember there are four key things that influence the price you charge for your work or your time: Your costs, customers, competitors, and your competencies.
Give yourself permission to set aside a bit of time this month to reassess each one. These may have changed in the past year, and they may be changing in the not-too-distant future. That’s okay. You can change—or rather reassess—too.
Increasing your rates can be daunting, but once you’ve figured out the new number, decide when the change will happen. It’s nice to give your clients some time to plan, so think about making the change effective August 1. (That gives you enough time to reassess your rates this month and notify your clients.) Make sure you are updating standard terms in your contracts, plus information that may exist on your website or in any other marketing material.
It probably goes without saying that if you have current contracts, you are bound by those rates until the contract ends. You can’t arbitrarily change the contract terms in the middle of the contract. But you can reassess going forward.
It also probably makes sense to spend some time thinking about how you’ll respond if clients push back. For your favorite clients, you might give them a bit more time to implement the new rate. Perhaps for them, the new rate is effective November 1. Or perhaps you allow them to continue at their current rate for another year. It’s completely up to you. For your least favorite clients, there is probably less wiggle room.
As you reassess, here are three things to know, do, and believe this month:
Know: What costs you need to cover and when you’ll break even.
Make sure your costs here include all the costs you need to fund, and figure out how many hours, projects, paintings, or gigs you’ll need to cover them. That’s not the goal, of course, but it’s not a bad idea to keep your break-even point in mind as a metric to monitor.
Do: Reassess your customers and competitors.
What your customers value about you or your work may have changed. So check in with three of your favorite customers to better understand where they are right now and what they truly value about you or your work. Do the same thing for three of your competitors. What they are charging and including may have changed, so reassess your competitor research. What you find may change your rates.
Believe: Your work and your time have value.
Everything you do adds value to the world, and it is okay to capture that value through the prices you charge for your work or your time.
What We’re Doing
This month, we have our first in-person workshop in a very long time. We’ll be joining 33 amazing artists in Indiana for the third iteration of On-Ramp. Over three days, these artists will build community, business skills, and confidence. And then they’ll change the world.
What We’re Talking About
Lately our coaching conversations have been all about prices. And we’ve gotten deep into the weeds doing the math around what makes sense. How many clients do you need at what rate to make your revenue work?
Creative Coaching (1 hour, $110)
If you’d like to chat with me to answer your own questions, feel free to find a time that works with your schedule. Fair warning: These slots are full (ish) for the next month or so.
Reassessing isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it is the best thing to do as your own path evolves. I can’t wait to hear about what you discover as you reassess your own rates.
Until next month…