Pricing and Impostor Syndrome

November 16, 2019

I was chatting with some makers yesterday in a private group we have. One of them was feeling guilty about raising his product’s price, about asking for money even.

I’m familiar with this emotion. In an ideal world, a rich patron would pay my expenses and I would be able to focus on making and writing entirely.

The problem is that you can’t grow a business without money. You have to feed yourself, you need a roof above your head, and there are operational costs to maintain your digital product.

All work deserves to be rewarded, and it’s not because you can’t touch a product with your hands that it’s not valuable.

Money is not dirty either. You’re not an awful capitalist because you ask for a living. On the contrary, not asking for money is putting your business on a dangerously unsustainable path: you can’t help anyone with a failing business.

Reducing your price decreases your perceived value and doesn’t help you find reliable customers.

How many hours do you think your product saves? Multiply it by the minimum hourly rate of your target audience. You can already see how valuable your solution is. A $10 product that will help a user to make ten times more is fair.

I have absolutely no remorse asking $5 per month with 200WaD for example. Two days ago I sent the invoice for my first freelance gig. 20 cents per word. If I apply the same rate to 200WaD, I allow people to create $1200 in value in one month. That means I’m only asking for 0.5% of the estimated value, so no impostor syndrome to develop here. A patron would only lose money if his rate was below 0.0008 cents per word, and the lowest rate I’ve seen for a writing gig is 0.025c/word ($25 for a 1000 word article).

Figure out what problem you’re solving, quantify it, and ask for 1% or more depending on your perceived value.