You know it is time to raise your prices. But you are terrified.
Will you lose all your clients?
Will new inquiries laugh at your rates?
Will you ever book a new client again?
I know how scary this feels because I have been there. But after more than 10 years in business, I want to offer you some insight into what happens when you raise your prices.
First of all, take a deep breath. I imagine you raised your prices for one of two reasons.
You either are finally taking control of your business and are tired of working for pennies (or worse). You are ready to earn a decent living and thus, have raised your prices.
Or, you are tired of booking out for months (and months) in advance and are raising your rates in hopes of being able to work less and make more.
If you are in either of those situations, congratulations!
Raising your photography prices may feel very scary but you are doing it because things are going so well for you.
This is a good thing!
Okay so now that we have established that you have a good problem, let’s address you being terrified of what comes next.
Raising your prices is like taking a step into the unknown. You have never offered your services for this high before therefore you don’t know how people will respond. It is all one big question mark.
Here are a few things to help you prepare for what is about to happen:
You are going to lose clients. But that is okay. You are likely shooting way too much and not every client values you as the artist. Raising your prices and losing clients is like weeding a garden. You are clearing out people who don’t value you to make room for new clients who do.
At first, losing clients will really sting. When they tell you they can’t afford you, it will be tempting to offer them a discount. Don’t. When you see their family’s photos show up in a local competitor’s social media feed, it will likely make you get a bit nauseous. Ignore it.
This is part of the process.
Let me repeat this again, you are going to lose clients. And that is okay.
The best thing you can do is to mentally prepare yourself for this happening and know that the pruning must happen before the new growth happens.
2. You are going to book fewer clients. And that is also okay. You might be coming from a place where you booked every single inquiry that came through your inbox. Because everyone could afford you. But that is about to change.
Depending on how much your rates are going up, you might cut your bookings in half.
But remember that this is part of the process and the point of what you are doing.
You want to be working less and making more.
You want to be able to breathe.
You want to only photograph families that value you and your art.
This means not booking the bargain shoppers who don’t care about you or your business.
3. It takes time for the dust to settle. Depending on how drastically your prices are going up, it might take a month or more for things to even out. At first, you might get a bunch of inquiries and no one committing to your new rate. Or, if you have your rates published on your website, you might see the inquiries completely drop off.
Again, this is part of the process. Take a deep breath. You have been booking for months in advance. You still have a lot of sessions on the calendar.
Just keep shooting, keep sharing, keep blogging, keep showing up online and the dust will settle. You will eventually start getting the inquiries that want to pay your rates. They will come. Don’t panic.
I am telling you all these things not to cause your panic to increase. I want you to be prepared about what is about to happen. When you are prepared, things aren’t nearly as scary.
You might be wondering, how you can possibly prepare for what is coming with your price increase. Here are a couple of things you can do now:
Be prepared to lose clients. Give yourself a pep talk if you have to. Write it on a post-it note on your desk. This is part of the process.
Constantly remind yourself that this is business, it is not personal. When past clients take their business elsewhere, it is not because they don’t like you anymore. It is a business choice. Don’t take it as a personal attack on you.
Have some emails pre-written to save yourself from a potentially panicked response. Go ahead and get an email typed up and ready to copy in the event that someone tells you they can’t afford you and they ask for a discount. Or if someone asks why you raised your rates. You don’t need to go into all the business details, but it is wise to have a polite, short, to-the-point email drafted in the event that you get these types of responses.
Have a plan for your favorite clients. If you have a core group of your most favorite, dream clients, have a plan to retain them. Maybe that looks like a one-time small discount or an added print credit. Something that will encourage them to come along with you on this new business journey.
Remember, that raising prices is part of doing business. You want to be in this for the long haul and that means being profitable do that you still love this job and don’t burn out. You can do this. I know it feels scary but you have got this.
In the event that you think you may want a mentor to help you along the path to profitability, I am available for both online and in-person mentoring. You can find out more here.