By Leah Sachs, as told by Sara Shelton
Part of our “My Blueprint Story” Series
I was in business full-time for almost two years before I had that “a-ha!” moment most small business owners have—the moment that you realize you’re working too hard and making too little!
When I looked at the time I was giving to my business and the money that was coming in as a result, something just wasn’t adding up. And honestly, that was a tough thing to realize.
I’ve been operating Leah E. Moss Designs full-time since 2016. I’m a calligrapher and watercolor artist, specializing in custom wedding stationery and event branding. And like most entrepreneurs, I spent the first year of my business saying “Yes!” to everything that came my way.
Pulling my hair out and running myself ragged just to pay my bills. I was booked and busy all the time, but somehow felt like I could barely make ends meet. It didn’t make sense.
That’s how I ended up in the Blueprint Model. I knew I needed a better game plan, and the course would help make that happen.
And it did, but it didn’t come easy!
As I was working through the pricing module, I started tracking my time, figuring out my services, and narrowing down on my pricing. The goal was to calculate what my hourly rate actually boiled down to on paper. My result? $3.79.
That’s right! For all the hard work I was putting in to do a job I loved, the reality was that I wasn’t even earning $4/hour for all of it. Believe me when I tell you that I burst into tears right there in front of my laptop. Ugly crying… lots of it. It was a gut punch to my business and served as the motivation I needed to raise my prices.
That is, until I calculated what my pricing actually should have been. When I saw that big number, something in me immediately chickened out. I just didn’t have the confidence to make that leap.
It wasn’t a solution that solved the tension I was feeling between time and money in my business, but it was something. And that felt like enough. For awhile.
Fast forward a few months later, and I’m sitting at the Blueprint Summit, surrounded by other women who work in my same industry. As we’re going around the table sharing a bit about our business models and pricing, the attention falls to me. When I told those girls what I was charging, their faces looked back at me in complete shock. They couldn’t believe I was charging so little for such customized work.
To encourage me, they spent the next several minutes speaking worth and value into me. And you know what? They were right!
I left that retreat with a fresh confidence in the work I do. I made a vow to raise my pricing to match the worth of my work. This time, I followed through.
I took a holistic look at my business to see what I needed to do to make the increase in my pricing work.
I started with a few pricing-adjacent things. I updated my logo and changed a few things on my website to reflect the kind of customer I was trying to reach. If I wanted to charge for a luxury service, my brand needed to show that!
I also reached out to some event planners that I work with regularly, to make sure they had everything they needed to showcase my work in a way that really displayed the value in it.
Additionally, I started using a CRM tool to give my customers a more organized and complete client experience, from the inquiry process all the way through to their proofs.
Then, I moved on to my pricing. I used the method from the Blueprint Model to determine an appropriate hourly rate for my services (ahem, not $3.79/hour) and generate the new pricing structure I’d be using going forward.
Armed with this information, I listed a pricing range on my website for invitation customers to see right away. This left no questions about the cost of my services for potential clients. I also set a minimum for calligraphy as a standalone service (such as envelope addressing). This allowed me to know how many couples I needed to work with to meet my financial goal, as well as made sure I was going to be fairly compensated for my time to produce their projects.
And finally, I learned to speak with confidence about my pricing. Instead of going in to conversations unsure, I now went in with a full understanding of what my clients were getting for their money when it came to my offerings.
Now here’s the truth: I’m only a few months into this price increase, and it’s not been easy. Sometimes business is quieter than I’d like it to be, and that can be scary.
Though the quantity of inquiries I get may have slowed, the quality has grown! Customers who reach out to me are doing so knowing full well what they’re paying for, and how much they should expect to pay. And that means the conversion rate from inquiry to customer has increased, too. That is most definitely a win!
Ultimately, I’ve experienced a newfound appreciation for my work, by realizing this worthiness. I know my numbers. I know why they are what they are.
And there’s a real confidence that comes with knowing that you are worth the time, energy, and money you’re asking for in your business.
→ finally making money doing what you love!
→ providing real income for your family without having to sacrifice all your time and energy to the non-stop hustle.
→ transforming your business (and life!) just like hundreds of other men and women who’ve implemented this proven business blueprint.
If that sounds like a dream year, then I want to invite you to join us inside The Blueprint Model!
April 4, 2019