Spoiler alert: No, I don’t have a secret system, or a magic formula to increase your income as a creative. But I do know what works and what doesn’t.
Charging by the hour doesn’t work. Why, you may ask? There are plenty of freelancers and creative agencies that charge by the hour. Sure, I am not saying that you can’t work that way. But to really start increasing your income, you need to look at your services in a different light. This will improve your turnover, but also your mindset. What’s the income of a fashion stylist, and how did she increase it?
Ali, who just finished her 1-to-1 programme with me last week, nearly tripled her income within two months of working with me. That was an incredible win, also for me as her coach! We tweaked something really simple: we ditched the hourly rate. What did we come up with instead?
Haggling and hustling
As a fashion stylist, her clients ended up being rather stingy and kept questioning her invoices with comments like “I thought we only spent three hours together, not four?” It disheartened her having to argue about getting paid correctly for her time, and in the end it made her feel unworthy. Her ‘silly luxury services’ were obviously too expensive, and her clients didn’t see the value. She came to me feeling very frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. “Maybe I’ll just go and look for a job.”
The thing is, when you charge $150-200 an hour for coaching, or in my client’s case, styling advice, this can feel pricey to some, especially if they know they will need more than one hour. Another $200? No way! However, when you step away from the hour, and instead sell a solution to their desire, then suddenly $2000 is an amazing deal for having solved an entire problem for years to come.
And Ali’s clients were not women who couldn’t afford this. In fact, they would easily spend this amount when shopping for clothes. So it wasn’t that they didn’t have the money. They were lawyers, estate agents, business women working in corporate, wanting to look professional and beautiful. Basically, busy women with plenty of cash, but not a lot of time, and certainly no idea about fashion. Ali and I needed to do a bit of thinking…how could we sell this service of hers better?
A fashion stylist sells way more than just ‘style’
Stepping away from just mentioning the features of her service, the measuring, the wardrobe edit, the shopping trip…we looked at the bigger picture. What was she actually changing in these women’s lives? In other words: we looked at what transformation and solution she was offering her clients. That is where the magic lies.
She said she was ‘just’ helping people choose the right clothes. I told her she was doing so much more than that:
“You are taking all their wardrobe headaches away, build their self esteem and body image, and save them tons of time. For a set price they will look and feel amazing, every single day. Imagine the positive effect this feeling will have on their mental health, how they show up as a professional and in relationships. They are not ‘just’ clothes.”
We moved her from an hourly rate to a high ticket package, not only covering generously for her time but also offering enough value for the customer, honing in on solving the problem of feeling rubbish in the wrong outfits, and wanting to know what to buy instead”. She panicked. “But nobody will pay that price, it is way too high!”. I told her to try and sell it during her next call with a potential client, focusing on the message of transformation and how this would make the customer feel. Guess what: they bought.
She went from earning less than USD$2000 a month to a generous $5000-6000, and some months way more than that depending on the amount of clients and commissions she would get from the boutique she took them to. More importantly: she went from feeling unworthy and frustrated to feeling worthy and energised.
She has been selling many more high ticket packages since, and is now fully booked as a fashion stylist. Starting out with an income that was not more than a side hustle, she nearly tripled her income and is now even able to help her parents out financially. What a transformation!
Have you too struggled with pricing your offers? Have a think about what you can change. Think further than the features of the products, and instead look at how your services change lives, and make people feel. What is the value and transformation you offer to your client? What would this change be worth to someone?
If you too would like my support as your business coach, please schedule a free call. Together, we will transform your mindset and business.