How can you tell when a decision is the right one?

decision making meadow-680607_640In 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?

Beats me.

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.

  1. 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:
    NOTE: PWYC Coaching is now available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?


  1. Lynnda

    I have had the exact same notion about selling my art at shows. One of my objectives is just to get a tiny glean into what keeps folks from buying when they obviously love the art and it is obviously speaking to them. I thought I might start with one wall of my booth. Please give us follow up reports on how this goes for you. I’m very interested in how people react! Hooray for just “doing it.”

    • Molly

      I certainly will, Lynnda. A breakthrough for me was realizing that i could run an experiment and change or end it any time.

  2. Kathleen

    Intriguing concept. Reminds me a lot of the late 60’s-early 70’s the student days, and then Ananda.

    Later, life got so expensive that it became less and less an option, especially for professionals needing to “save up” in order to take time off for writing.

    As we get older, we need less, so the option might return again. Internet seminars and teleconferences, which I’ve been doing, don’t pay very well, for instance but are a service we meet interesting people. We also earn new technical skills that engage our aging brains.

    My latest book, the Kindle edition, had different page numbers than the hardcover edition I used to assign homework, so, sorting things out online was a challenge.

    One of the students lived in Wales, I’m probably thinking of this process now because you’re there, Eric!!

    • Molly

      Hi Kathleen,

      Just checking–I know an Eric who is headed to Wales, but I am not he.


  3. Barb

    Molly, Thank you for modeling for us the way to just let go and not try to understand! I was thinking about myself today and how my tendency is to want to figure everything out… and, it certainly can get in the way. I am anxious to hear how this plays out for you. I’ve considered offering it myself and may just take a stab at it at least for awhile.

  4. Marilyn

    I fretted and fussed over my decision not to sell on Etsy. I felt that when people asked, “Do you sell on Etsy?” I had to follow my “No” with articulate and compelling reasons. I finally realized that I didn’t have to understand it, I just had to respect it. It was an important learning for me.

    I look forward to hearing how this experiment goes for you, Molly, and what you learn about pricing.

    • Molly

      I love that, Marilyn, and I will keep you posted!

  5. Gavin

    Hi all, well I’ve no need to understand that my comments are not usually concise and to the point, though I’ve come to realise that the more I make comment, the more this may happen naturally over time. I have a friend that I’ve known for over 60 years, and although I’m a mere 11 months older than he is, he is the more dominant person. I was always the less educated, worldlywise and competitive to keep this concise. He is much more business savvy and I find almost aggressive, in a mostly business sense. For the recent few years when he felt the strain of thinking he had to be a leader figure, for everybody whom surrounded him, at the time that included me, not that I was asking this from him though, his wife died from ovarian cancer. Rather than him then mellowing down, he stayed on the same path. My point with talking about another behind his back is that for me, I felt very uncomfortable for a very long time about many issues within our relationship, and decided that if he felt unable to separate his friends from his business dealings, then I wanted to call a hiatus for our friendship until things returned to a calm and unconditional loving friendship.
    My friend didn’t like that because I’m not sure he liked my taking the lead role in this, and proceeded to blame me totally for the breakdown and basically tell me some home truths and suggesting that I needed time to sort out my problems. Sorry this is long comparing it to the earlier comments, which after reading them, I felt I could add something to Molly’s comments! Oh Dear.
    I agonised over my decision before mentioning it in public, I’m not used to standing tall, I’d be the first to capitulate, but things had to change, and I was going to change them, whatever the outcome.
    Then I remembered what Jack Pransky says on this subject in his book “Somebody Should Have Told Us! (Simple Truths for Living Well)”
    pages 52/3. It’s not long and if you request to hear it, and a follow on short piece about the effects of using a labyrinth mentioned on p54. I’d be glad to pass it on. If of course Molly doesn’t mind, because I’d be virtually positive Jack would instantly be positive, and delighted. If it can help others. At that point my angst dissolved away and I initiated the decision as outlined above. To follow on a touch, in the past I would have felt destroyed by any idea that I had created any perceived unrest in our camp as it were, and it would have taken months to feel better and start thinking my mistake had been forgotten about now. But no more. By making these decisions for ourselves and pushing them on through to completion, helps greatly to fill in those holes, where in the past I would have backed down and out.

    It seems to me that Molly’s coach with her insightful question should be considered for a guest spot in a future webinar. Just saying.


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