In this issue of the “Simple Wisdom” ezine I announce Pay What You Choose Coaching. This is something I have been dancing with for a l-o-n-g time. Dancing or going around in circles.
I chose this pricing decision as the topic of a session with my own coach last week. As I told her, I have been coaching for nearly 20 years, and I have never had an issue with pricing my work.
I started low
In the olden days, as a newbie, I was happy to price my services near the bottom of the range. In fact, my first rate was $175 a month for four one hour sessions, which was well below most posted rates.
I was happy to earn that, and I never seriously questioned my choice to low ball my prices as a newcomer to a brand new field in a market that was largely unfamiliar with the concept of life and business coaching.
My rates went up from there
As I gained training and experience, I raised my rates. The first change was an increase to $240 a month and a reduction in the amount of time to three 40-minute sessions. I raised my fees regularly over the next few years and played with various lengths and frequency of sessions until, in 2013, I was charging $5,000 for six months of twice monthly hour-long sessions.
I’ve written and taught tons about pricing
Over the years I have written and taught a lot about pricing. I’m familiar with the notion that people tend to value more what they pay more for, and I think that is often the case.
I’ve coached clients who had blocks about charging for their services, and I kept questioning my motivation. Was I suddenly in the grip of doubt about my value? Had I turned over night into someone who couldn’t have a straight up conversation about money?
The truth is I don’t know what’s up with this shift
I honestly don’t know what’s behind this pricing shift. That troubled me until my coach asked me a question last week that shifted everything.
The way I heard it, she asked what happened if I let go of the need to understand.
Letting go of understanding freed me to do the obvious thing
Letting go of needing to understand what’s going on freed me to notice a simple fact: except when I was second-guessing myself or trying to figure out what is going on, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
I wanted to offer Pay What You Choose Coaching.
I could follow my inclination or fight it
I realized that the only thing keeping me from being 100% comfortable with doing what I wanted to do was analyzing it. And since analysis has never, ever been able to shine much light on inspiration, it wasn’t helping.
There are no rules about pricing
The rather disorienting truth is that there are no rules about how to price your services or run a business or a life.
There are models. There are cautionary tales. There are theories. And they can be valuable. I’ve gotten heaps from them over the years.
But right now models, cautionary tales, and theories obscure rather than clarify, so I am setting them aside in favor of an experiment.
I don’t know how long the experiment will last
Who knows how long I’ll price my services this way. It truly doesn’t matter. Now that I’ve made the decision, I’m excited to see how it goes. As is my wont, I will certainly keep you posted.
Here’s how Pay What You Choose Coaching will work for now
For the time being, I’m offering 55 minute coaching sessions on a Pay What You Choose basis. The ground rules are simple.
Use my online scheduler to select a Pay What You Choose time on Wednesdays between 8:00am and 1:00pm Pacific Time (11:00am – 4:00pm Eastern Time, 3:00pm – 8:00pm UTC/GMT). Click here to choose a time: http://shaboominc.com/scheduling/ NOTE: PWYC Coaching is now available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too!
Please schedule a single session to begin with. When you and I talk, we can determine together if multiple sessions are a good idea and talk about how often they should occur.
When you schedule, there will be a place to tell me how much you choose to pay. I will send you a PayPal invoice for that amount and ask that you pay that prior to our session.
You can choose to meet by phone, Skype, or Zoom.
Is there something you’ve been running around in circles about?
Is there something in your life or biz that you’ve been chewing on for too long, analyzing endlessly without getting any clearer?
If so, I invite you to ponder the question my coach offered me. What happens if you let go of the need to understand?
Sometimes we lives as though there is a way things should unfold, that certain things should happen and other things shouldn’t. Our spouses should be faithful. Loved ones should not get cancer. When we look more closely, though, we see that doesn’t make any sense at all.
What does it mean to get decisions right? What is our responsibility when it comes to making the best decisions we can? And who’s in charge anyway? A meditation on our shared human dilemma and a tiny perspective on choosing mastectomy. Yikes!
Woohoo! The first in a series of free Happiness Hangouts happens this Friday, August 8, at 9:00am Pacific Daylight Time and YOU are invited.
Why? Because it happens that happiness doesn’t just feel good; it’s startlingly practical.
As the name suggests, Happiness Hangouts are all about happiness and its startling bearing on life and biz. We’ll look at:
Why happiness is a default, not a destination.
The relationship between happiness and wisdom.
How to use happiness as a navigational aid in life and business.
There will be some teaching and some coaching and some who-knows-what-else. Think insight meets pragmatism meets sassiness. (Hmmm. The term “wise sass” just occurred to me. I like that!)
How It Works
Happiness Hangouts will use Google’s Hangouts on Air technology to broadcast a live video feed of yours truly. You can watch the live feed on a page at my Web site or via Google+. If you have a Gmail account, I recommend the Google+ option, because you’ll be able to see and participate in the live chat.
In addition to watching, you can participate in the Hangout by teleconference. You’ll receive all the info about how to watch and/or call in when you sign up. You’ll get replay info as well.
Are you in?
Click the link below to sign up for the free Happiness Hangouts.
As best I can tell, this is the last regular issue of Authentic Promotion. Can you say, “Yowza!”?
It all started at the end of March during a retreat with my beloved Brain Trust*. As we talked about who I am and how I want to be in this, my 18th year as a coach, I realized that it was time to invoke the spirit of creativity and experimentation by letting go of this ezine and devoting myself to creating cool new stuff that will arouse, inform, entertain, and, one hopes, delight you.
You see, I love to make stuff. The photo in today’s issue is of the “vest” I made for my ’67 VW Beetle. I love to play with ideas, fiddle with designs, and experiment with new formats and media. In 1996, I put that love to work building my first website and convening conversations in early online communities such as womenconnect.com and AOL special interest groups. In 1998, I started this ezine, and in less than two years it was reaching over 12,000.
Back in the day, email newsletters were few and far between. Junk mail was sparse, and inboxes spacious. Since then, ezines have become as common as dust, and even when we value them–as I hope you have valued this one–they often languish unopened and unread. As open rates have declined, my sense of connection to you, my readers, has lessened. I don’t like the idea of adding every week to the clutter in your inboxes. I want to add value, not noise.
In the future, instead of a weekly ezine, you’ll receive an announcement whenever I’ve got a new cool thing to give you. An insightful interview. A provocative slidedoc. My latest cartoons. Heck, for all I know I’ll sing and dance for you, so long as I think it will serve you. In between cool things, I’ll let you know as usual when I offer a new product or program or when I come across something, whether it’s free or fee-based, that I think is worth your consideration.
I’m thrilled at the prospect of putting my creative energy to work in new ways to entertain, inform, provoke, and inspire you. Fans of my Facebook page are already seeing tidbits of creative goodness a few times a week. Check it out, and while you are there, feel free to post your questions and insights to the timeline. I would love to know what’s on your mind and in your heart. Oh, and if you haven’t already, be sure to give me a LIKE so that updates appear in your newsfeed, www.facebook.com/shaboominc.
I haven’t made any decisions about the blog. I rather think I’ll be posting the odd (!) insight, observation, or link from time to time. To subscribe, add this link to your blog reader: feed://shaboominc.com/wordpress/feed.
Whether you have been a reader since the early days or are a recent subscriber, I hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from what emerges in the days ahead. Meanwhile, thanks for coming along on the adventure.
*The members of the Brain Trust are
Michael Bungay Stanier, boxofcrayons.com
Eric Klein, wisdomheart.com
Michele Lisenbury Christensen, hotloverevolution.com
Jennifer Louden, jenniferlouden.com
Mark Silver, heartofbusiness.com
Not surprisingly, scarcity thinking came up during the Wealth Makeover calls last week. One common concern was how to meet financial setbacks without going into scarcity thinking.
During the calls we talked about the essential wholeness and wellbeing that is our factory default as human beings. How we are each an expression of and participant in the dance of creation, part of the formless energy or intelligence out of which everything arises and to which everything returns.
We talked about how the experience of scarcity or abundance is a function of thought, not circumstances. Consider how easy it is to be elated about getting a new client only to be deflated moments later by comparing yourself to someone else in your field.
Or how a funk about not being able to afford to travel more can give way to a wave of gratitude as you contemplate something you love about your home.
If you reflect for just a minute on your own experience, you can readily see that what seems like more than enough money in one moment can seem woefully inadequate in the next and vice versa as your thinking about your circumstances changes.
We live in the feeling of our thinking, not our circumstances.
At first blush it might seem that a smart approach to being happy and prosperous would be to manage your thinking. Think happy thoughts, have a happy life. Think prosperous thoughts, have a prosperous business.
In other words, just say no to scarcity thinking.
But it doesn’t work that way. (Besides, when you think about it, it’s kind of superstitious, don’t you think?)
It’s said that we have upwards of 80,000 thoughts a day. We notice and track only a tiny fraction of those. It’s simply not possible to manipulate your thinking to create the experiences you want.
Fortunately it’s also unnecessary.
You don’t have to fear scarcity thinking precisely because it is just thinking. And thinking can’t damage the wellbeing that is your factory default. At most it can only obscure it temporarily.
When you see that all that is going on when you’re afraid, angry, or insecure is that you’re experiencing your thinking, you can relax a bit, even though the experience may be quite intense.
When you remember that you are the thinker, you don’t need to fear the content of your thinking.
When you don’t fear or struggle with the content of your thinking, your mind is free and open to new thought, including the insight, wisdom, and common sense to live peacefully and well.
And that’s why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking.