Thanks for tagging me, but I am not “Cheap”.
It’s happened to all of us.
We get that Facebook notification saying a friend has tagged you in a strangers post. You go. And there is your name in a list of names with a post that says, “I need someone who does ________ as cheap and affordable as possible! We promise the exposure will be worth the amount we can’t pay!”
When I first started my career, I did gigs here and there for a little bit of cash and full day weddings for less than $500. Now, I can’t even fathom charging that little. But that was 10 years ago…when I didn’t have a business. I had a hobby that I occasionally made money from. I wasn’t paying taxes. I wasn’t paying employees, rent, monthly fees for websites & apps, etc.
I still get these posts every once in a while and these thoughts come first to mind:
Does this person really think I’m cheap?
Do they not see the value in who I am or what I offer?
Is it because of my personality or my appearance that people think I’m cheap?
And I have two choices:
a) I can either educate the person making the post and let them know the costs of business and why I’m worth it
b) I can ignore the post, see if they reach out, then break their heart that I’m way out of their budget
I’m not cheap for many many reasons, but the top one being that I am a full-time self-employed business owner on a mission to create a sustainable & growing company so I can give back financially to organizations I’m passionate about AND help launch the dreams of others around me so they can do the same. I wont be able to build an empire and take people with me for pennies or exposure.
So how do you prevent this from happening often? Well, you can’t control what other people will do, but you can help educate.
1. Realize those who aren’t in your industry are not going to understand why you charge what you charge. You’re gonna have to educate.
When I tell people my photography or website design prices, they respond with, “No, but really, how much is it compared to other creatives in this area?” “Wait, how much for clicking a button?” “Are you kidding me? My family member does that and doesn’t charge THAT much”.
What people don’t see is the amount of time it has taken to learn the craft & perfect it. They don’t see the amount of money that goes into equipment. They don’t know your experience and they don’t realize how much your time is worth now. They also don’t know the costs of running a business most times.
2. Realize that everyone is looking for a deal
Everyone is on a budget these days. Everyone is out for a deal. But just because corporate America can do deals and coupons doesn’t mean small businesses can do the same. If anything, you should be willing to pay more to support small businesses! Never discount your services because your competitors are. If you offer discounts, do it cause you genuinely want to OR do it in a way where it’s not going to kill your business. It can be a great deal for the consumer, but still be workable for you.
3. Realize with the way Social Media is, People may not realize your pricing, but they do remember you for what you do
The good news is: people remember you for what you do!
The bad news is: people may not know your current pricing, they may know you from the beginning “cheap” days. Have grace with them.
4. Remind people you cannot work for exposure
When I first started out, I did this thinking I would really benefit from getting my name out there. But unfortunately it kept me in the “cheap & free” category for quite some time. Did the “exposure” gigs ever pay off? Honestly, no. None of them. The only exposure that has paid off has been from paying clients.
Now every so often I do volunteer my time to shoot, but that is my choice. I very rarely do it when people approach me.?
5. No, seriously, remember:
6. You attract what you believe you deserve
I didn’t believe this for the longest time, and to be honest I STILL struggle with this (especially since I have such low-self esteem). But I’ve found this statement to be more and more true recently. For the longest time I was attracting people who didn’t find value in what I did. I was attracting people who only wanted to spend as little as they could. I was attracting people who wanted cheap & fast, but not necessarily great. And you know what happened? I hit a burn out. I got stuck in that price phase forever. It hasn’t been until this year when taking classes with Sandi Krakowski that I began to reshape my mind, my business vision, and the audience I wanted to bring in. It has made a HUGE difference!
In the end, remember, people will probably still tag you in posts like that, and it’s okay!
Remember what you do is valuable even though others may not see it and I know that it can be discouraging, but keep your head up and keep moving forward.