Have you ever puzzled over your prices, wondered whether your rates were too high, or searched high and low for a pricing formula that honors both you and your customers? If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, I’m willing to bet that you have—and today, we’re going to get to the bottom of it.
One of the most common things I hear my coaching clients say as we map out their offers (particularly at the ‘starting out’ side of the spectrum, but also among more seasoned entrepreneurs) is that they want their products and services to be “affordable”.
And whilst there’s nothing wrong with wanting to create a solution that’s attainable and accessible to many people (we do want to increase our impact as well as our income, after all), I have a bone to pick with this idea of “affordability” that so many of us are attached to.
Here’s the thing… what does “affordable” even mean?
It’s such a buzzword in our culture that it seems to have lost much of its meaning—and since money is energy, always moving from one person to the next and never standing still, it goes to follow that the terms we use to describe it don’t have a totally fixed meaning, either.
Dictionary.com defines “affordable” as something “that can be afforded; believed to be within one’s financial means.”
Read that again, and you’ll see that affordability is not a fact, but a belief.
And while it may not seem like a big deal, I promise that tiny detail makes all the difference.
Think about it: our beliefs stem from nurture, not nature. We accumulate and acquire them over the years based on our surroundings, our circumstances, our social conditioning, and the lessons taught to us by the people around us. And while they may be potent (seeping into our thoughts, emotions, and actions) that doesn’t make them right—nor does it mean they’re doing you or your bank account any favors.
Each of us has a set of money beliefs we’ve been accumulating since childhood—such as the idea that there’s never enough, that rich people are evil, or that life is a never-ending financial struggle. I like to call this your money story (I’ve got a separate blog post showing you how to uncover yours), and the idea of affordability falls under it. And unless you pay attention to the beliefs and stories you’ve been taking as fact, you might just hold yourself back from making the fortune you desire and deserve.
The good news is, any money story or belief (yes, including affordability) can be reshaped and rewritten to suit the version of yourself you want to cultivate and embody… so if wealth generation falls high on your priority list, I’m about to dish out some tough love to help you push past this block once and for all.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not here to give you an optimal pricing model or strategy or tell you exactly how much you should be charging. A quick Google search or browse through a business magazine could help you figure that out.
Instead, I’m here to help you do the deep work—to challenge you to question the very idea of affordability that you’ve grown so accustomed to, and realize that it has nothing to do with your products, services, or even your customers at all… and everything to do with your own money mindset.
Ready to rewrite your money story and kick “affordable” out of your vocabulary?
Let’s get into it.
Firstly, remember you’re programmed for scarcity.
A common thread running through most people’s money stories is the idea of scarcity, or that there isn’t enough time, money, clients, or other resources to go around. That’s because our well-meaning loved ones may have told us things like “money doesn’t grow on trees” or that “you should never pass up a good opportunity”. That’s scarcity speaking, and it doesn’t serve you when you get into business, because you’ll always be settling for what you believe you can get based on past experiences, rather than what you’re truly capable of.
How does this relate to affordability? Well, you might find yourself thinking things like…
If I charge more money, I’ll lose clients and customers.
If I raise my rates, people will think I’m too expensive.
If I charge high-ticket, lots of people will miss out on my offer.
Basically, every time you try to price a new offer or consider raising your rates, your limiting beliefs are bound to kick up a fuss, clouding your judgment and making it harder for you to validate the value of your work. And beyond that, you’ll also concern yourself with what’s affordable for other people (more on that later) instead of charging for the true value of the transformation you’re offering, in an objective way.
That’s why you’ve got to work on cultivating an abundance mindset, and remind yourself at every turn that there are plenty of potential clients and plenty of money to go around—and also plenty of other offers on the market serving those who genuinely can’t afford what it is you’re selling.
Secondly, you’re probably selling yourself short.
If you want to attract high-ticket clients, you’ve got to charge high-ticket. Simple. The way I see it, it’s better to price higher at the outset, and address money-centered objections on sales calls as they come, rather than preemptively setting yourself up for failure.
The truth is, sacrificing profit in the name of affordability does your products and services a massive disservice. Not only does it limit the amount of money you’re able to invest back into your business (in order to keep creating new and exciting offers your clients and customers will love) but it also cheapens your brand perception. Even when our conscious brain discerns value differently, subconsciously most of us still believe that a lower price tag translates to lower value, lower quality, and lower effort. That’s what’s going on in your clients’ and customers’ minds when they see you undercharge—yes, even if they believe they’ve found a good deal.
Another thing I’ve noticed among my clients (and something I remember well from my early coaching days) is that when you undercharge for your work, you start to feel resentful of and resistant to it—and to your clients. So instead of charging the bare minimum (to cover your costs and basic expenses), you should factor in a profit margin that will eventually allow you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of (whatever that looks like for you), so that you can continue to pour the best of yourself into your work, rather than what’s left of you.
For instance, I’ve known for a long time that vacations in luxury locations, dressing in designer clothes, and surrounding myself with beautiful decor and furnishings are integral to showing up as my highest self every day, and in turn, serving my clients to the best of my abilities. I’m done with surviving—I’m here to thrive. So think about it: what can you not afford to compromise?
Finally, not everyone spends money in the same way.
Are you guilty of making assumptions about your clients’ and customers’ finances? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, but it’s a bad habit worth breaking. I’ve learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover. For example, I encounter clients with more money spending modestly, and clients with less money spending lavishly. (Case in point: you’ve got billionaires like Elon Musk making headlines for living in studio-sized apartments!)
Here’s something you probably don’t want to hear: it is not your responsibility to determine whether or not someone can afford your product or service. Your job is simply to create the offer, pack it full of value, communicate that value through your marketing, sell it, and then deliver the transformation. That’s it. You are not in charge of your client or customer’s bank account—they are. Period.
Besides, affordability is a totally relative concept. Not only does the meaning of it fluctuate between products, industries, and people, but it also changes for each person over the years. I’ve seen this happen firsthand in my own life. Now I invest in myself and my business heavily, with confidence that if I make smart moves, I’ll bank a return. But, back when I lived in a tiny studio apartment in London, making $25k a year and being a coupon queen, I considered spending money on a glass of wine while out on the town to be outside of my price range. And let’s be real, my life working a corporate job as a Matchmaker would still have looked like luxury to someone living in totally different circumstances (such as someone relying on food stamps or living below the poverty line). What felt affordable to me would have been astronomical to somebody else.
So, instead of worrying about putting your offer within someone else’s price range, think about the different ways you can empower them instead. As the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, says, “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” With this in mind, stop imposing limitations on your clients and customers, and start believing in their potential instead. Trust that if the offer is right for them, they’ll find a way. And pour your heart and soul into delivering the transformation you’ve promised them. That’s what empowerment feels like.
Next time you’re pricing an offer, remember this ground rule: the people buying high-ticket offers can afford them.
Have you ever fallen into the trap of thinking you have to keep your rates as low as they can go? Let me know what helped you shift past that limiting belief!