As we grow our experience and reputation, we should keep raising our rates, right?
Not always. It’s an assumption that might be limiting you from doing more of the work you love.
My own example:
In August, I quietly raised my private coaching rate. I changed it on my website, without any fanfare. I didn’t announce it anywhere. Just a simple number change on an obscure webpage that few of my website visitors will ever see.
Based on my experience and skills, and the market rates, I felt completely deserving of the raise. Even at the new (higher) rate, my coaching was still priced lower than most of the peers at my level of reputation.
Strangely, the inquiries to my private coaching stopped. From late August through early November — usually one of the best times of the year for inquiries about my work — I barely received any inquiries.
For 20 months, I’ve consistently received *more* inquiries than I could handle, month after month… due to my regular posting of free content that resonated with my ideal audience.
Why suddenly did the inquiries stop?
I don’t think it was the price change.
Based on talking to interested clients over the past few years, some of them didn’t even have a chance to look at my price beforehand. They asked me right on the call.
However, because I *thought* it was the price change, I put the price back to the rate I’ve been charging since 2016.
Within a few weeks, the inquiries went back up, and now I have a waiting list again.
The thing is, my new clients aren’t that price sensitive. I don’t think my new rate was so different that it would’ve affected their decision to contact and work with me. They didn’t even know I had temporarily raised my rates.
If it wasn’t the price change — since it was unannounced — what was it?
In life, we usually can’t know the real reasons behind why things happen, when there are so many factors involved — other people, societal changes, economic cycles, the weather, our own biological changes, and many unknown influences we’re not aware of.
What we are left to do is interpret the mystery, and be at peace, knowing that we might eventually come to understand more deeply.
Here’s how I interpret what happened:
For years, I’ve preached the message of pricing our services & products from an inner space of Enoughness and Compassion, rather than the popular self-destructive idea of “charge what we’re worth”. You can see my newest iteration of this teaching here:
Should you “Charge what you’re worth?”
Service providers, have you heard that you should “Charge what you’re worth?”
Even at my original rate, *I had enough*, allowing me to pay all my bills, visit family occasionally, and put money away into retirement savings every year.
I raised my rate because I got temporarily amnesia — got swept up in the idea that I “should” charge more, because look at my peers! The market can clearly bear a higher price.
Then, the Universe / God steps in, and closes the doors during those few months. It helped me to come to my senses, remembering that it is my duty — and opportunity — to model what I preach.
Now, I feel deeply grateful. I believe there’s always a power/intelligence, far greater than our limited human consciousness, that is constantly working to arrange Life in order to teach us what we need, now.
The lesson I learned (yet again) is what I’ve been preaching all this time: charge based on Enoughness and Compassion.
My old rate gave me enough in all ways. There’s no need to raise it. My clients are grateful for my old rate and it feels compassionate to keep it that way for new clients as well.
And, as I pay off the mortgage and student loans in the next 10 years, and my book(s) begin to sell better, I will need even less income from my coaching, and might even lower my rate.
Keeping my rate at the lower end of my market allows me more freedom to choose the clients I wish to work with. I have clients on both ends of the spectrum: some just starting their business, and some well-established, with the means to pay more. I keep it simple and charge the same affordable rate for all. (Even the wealthiest people prefer to pay lower rates when they can!)
I hope to be a model for a different way of doing business that feels compassionate to my clients, and feels nurturing to my heart.
We don’t have to keep raising our rates. Let’s decouple our rates from our self worth, and recognize the freedom inherent in being able to lower our rates if we want to.