The struggle we feel with charging people for coaching them
If you are a life coach then you may be in this boat with so many of my clients. A great deal of the life coaches I work with on marketing themselves get a lump in their throat when it comes to talking about their prices.
Unsurprisingly, the main issue for many of them is a feeling of guilt over charging people to help them. We get into coaching with a burning desire to make people think, feel and do better – but when it comes to us getting something out of that arrangement, feelings of guilt and even unworthiness come bubbling to the surface.
It’s not just guilt either. Typically it will be a cocktail of things. Many of us were raised with the voices of our grandparents reminding us that work should be hard graft and not something to be enjoyed. When we start to do work that we love, oddly that can make us feel a bit displaced, like this is all ‘too good to be true’.
What I like to remind my clients here is that their grandparents are from a different time. There was a war on when my grandparents were employment age! Today the world is a different place, and we have more choice and freedom.
So these are two big, key ingredients in the typical ‘life coach money guilt’ cocktail. Then for many new coaches who are still working on getting their experience in the field, you can add a liberal dash of imposter syndrome to the mix too.
The money struggle vs. marketing
With this discomfort in charging, an unpleasant domino effect ensues. When I start working with a life coach we don’t typically talk about pricing early on. After all, I’m a marketing consultant, not a business coach. But if it comes up, then 99% of the time we get there because I’ve picked up on my client’s unwillingness to really put themselves out there and be seen – which is a major hindrance when it comes to marketing!
Typically, this will begin to show up as not wanting to place a call to action (such as a link to a sales page) on their social media posts or website.
They might ask me;
“Can’t this one just be content for the sake of giving value? Can’t I ask for business later?”
It’s funny because I’m also trained as a life coach, although I don’t work as one. But I do know fear-based procrastination when I see it. So when we work the problem back to it’s roots, it usually transpires that the coach doesn’t want to put their offering out there because they are not comfortable with an element of it. And that element is nearly always the price.
When the price both is, and isn’t the problem
Working around this is a simple exercise, and I like to share something that I learned from my business coach, David Goldsmith. I had this issue too with charging for my consulting. I just wanted to help struggling small business owners, life coaches especially, to not struggle so much.
So David taught me to look at my price as a small percentage (10% or less) of the problem I fix. For example, if my help can take a coaching business from flat on the ground to making a healthy annual income that replaces the need for a full-time role – then how much is it okay to charge?
Let’s put it in a specific coaching context. Say you are a corporate coach, and your clients typically command a salary in the £60,000 plus space. Your client is burnt out and too stressed to keep working. Their work with you could be the difference between them keeping that salary or not. So 10% of their problem is £6000… I bet you are not pricing your packages anywhere near that, am I right?
This is the point where you hopefully breathe a sigh of relief!
The few hundred pounds you are likely charging is completely reasonable – it’s just a matter of considering the context from the client’s perspective. On most occasions, the coaches that worry about their pricing are not receiving shock responses from their clients at the price. Often our worries about pricing are just our own hang-ups.
If you are a coach and find yourself in this position – you know the drill by now! It’s time for you to get a little coaching yourself and find the root cause of your discomfort with money.
Sort out your pricing issues, then market yourself with confidence
When you are past your money hang-ups and have found a way to price yourself that both sits comfortably with you, and that pays you what you need and deserve – then marketing yourself is less scary.
In the earlier days of my marketing career I used to do a lot of sales calls. I found that once I was working for a company where I truly believed in the value of the product I was selling, the sales came in really naturally. Why? Simply because I had full confidence. I didn’t doubt what I was saying, and I didn’t feel the need to chase or scramble. Things flowed because I wasn’t fighting with imposter syndrome or guilt. And I never felt the urge to apologise for the price.
Today when I state the price of my consulting packages to new clients, I feel the same. If you look at my website, you will see that I’m reasonable but not cheap either. But as I’ve gotten over my issues with pricing I now focus on the value I provide and feel good about it.
If you are struggling with pricing and guilt right now, feel free to leave me a comment below. I know you won’t be the only one feeling this way. But I also know that it can be overcome, and when you get there, your business can start to thrive.
Sarah Brandis is a social media and content marketing consultant, mentor, trainer and author helping solo entrepreneurs launch their businesses through her Inner Sanctum program.