By Katie Ryan, as told by Sara Shelton
Part of our “My Blueprint Story” Series
Here’s a truth for all the creative entrepreneurs out there: Money doesn’t have to be a dirty thing.
That one may need a second to sink in for some of you. Because if you’re anything like I used to be, you probably feel the exact opposite is true.
When it comes to your business, one of the most difficult things to determine and talk about is pricing. Why?
Because for some reason, we all think money is this thing we just aren’t supposed to talk about with any sort of confidence at all.
I get it. Talking about money and pricing with your clients isn’t easy. It has the potential to be awkward and uncomfortable.
And after all, isn’t some money (even if it’s less than you wanted to make) better than no money at all?
I used to see it that same way.
I’ve been an artist all my life. It’s always been my passion. So after graduating college, I decided to make art my business. I opened an online shop and started selling my work. But over time, things just weren’t progressing. I was working hard, putting in the time, and even selling consistent work, but somehow, the numbers just weren’t adding up.
I’d been in business for three and a half years when I finally took the Blueprint Model. And you guys, what I learned changed the trajectory of my business!
When I really learned to look at the numbers, I realized that I was spending 80% of my time doing work for my shop, but that work was only bringing in 20% of my profit. Custom work was bringing in the majority of my income, but I’d allotted very little time for it in my schedule.
The numbers weren’t adding up, and I was spinning my wheels trying to make them fit.
So at the beginning of this year, I made a shift. I closed my art shop and started a new chapter in my company. Now, I focus solely on artful branding for small businesses. It’s a niche that I’ve found that I truly love—one that marries my love for art with my education in marketing.
With this shift in business also came a shift in price point. While I used to average around $300 per client, I now take in about $3,500. In fact, I just got my first five-figure client, something that never would have happened had I not learned to approach my pricing with confidence.
So what exactly had to happen to help me approach money with a little more confidence? Well for me, it was three things.
Going through the Blueprint Model helped me actually grasp the value of my time.
When I was doing custom illustrations, I had to take on so many projects just to break even. I wasn’t charging enough for the time I was putting into the work. Finally understanding what my time is worth helped me change my approach.
Now when I talk to clients about pricing, I talk about the time that will go into the project as well. And I only need one or two clients to meet my profit goals each month because I know I’m charging what I need to charge in order to make it worth my time.
Most of us creative entrepreneurs probably struggle with the tendency to undersell ourselves. Seeing the worth in our own work is key to being able to break this habit and actually make the money we need (and deserve!).
Moving from a $300 product to a $3,500 product was a big leap in price point for me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it. But because I saw the worth in the work I was offering, I was more confident to talk openly with my clients about the pricing and all it would entail.
I truly believe in what I’m doing, and I’m so confident in what I can give to my clients that I know my work is worth their money. It’s an investment, and it’s one that I no longer feel bad if some can’t afford. That’s okay!
When I took on my first branding client last summer, I was just so thrilled to have the work.
She took a chance on me, and it showed me what an opportunity this business really was for me. Sure, the increase in pricing was scary, but when I saw the payoff, I knew it was the right thing to do.
After I booked that project, I was able to book a trip to Paris. It was the payoff I needed to see to know that this really was the right direction for my business and my pricing.
So if you’re one of the many creative entrepreneurs out there still struggling to talk about pricing with confidence, remember this truth: Money doesn’t have to be a dirty thing!
Once I embraced that as fact in my business, everything shifted. It’s been amazing to see it all fall into place simply because I approached it all with a new, more confident outlook.