Hello! It’s me, the queen of awkward, Madeline, here to offer you my unsolicited advice about feeling awkward during inquires. If you’re a new business owner like me, you might run into the awkward struggle of pricing your service or product as you want to, VS as you think you should.
You might feel like you’re being tugged toward charging less, because you feel like you’re overpriced, and then struggling back toward charging what you do charge, but without guilt. Maybe you feel like you need to make bids of lowering your price because a client tells you that she’s speaking with several others about the same service. So you might get flustered over having to compete.
“We accept the love we think we deserve”, so let’s apply that quote to ourselves to help sort the matter out so we can proudly and confidently give our prices without the need to offer discounts, second guesses, reductions, competing, over-charging, etc.
*Disclaimer!* I am not a photography guru, nor am I claiming to be! This is all stuff I’ve learned over the years from some of my photography heroes, such as Jasmine Star, Susan Stripling, and a lot of other random pros and websites. So, you might find similar tid-bits here and there in other places. This is not new info, nor is it original from me, it’s just my own complilation, if you will.
So buckle up–here we go!
1. Break down your cost.
For me, Nick and I calculate all time—preparations, drive time, actually shooting, editing, and the final product & shipping. After adding up all those hours, we divide it by the total cost of whatever the client purchased. When you see that your hourly rate is actually more like $20 per hour, it might help you with your reservations about sending your prices.
2. “You’re so expensive!”
Call me crazy, but I actually like hearing this (or not hearing it, because we can assume that’s why we don’t get a response). What this tells me is, is that we aren’t a good fit. It tells me that this person might expect an amazing product without having to pay for it. It tells me they might be a little entitled, even. It tells me, maybe they don’t budget their money—because in a wedding, you budget for what’s important to you. It tells me that they might not value professional photography, so they don’t budget for it. It tells me that they dont value me as a photographer—that they think my service is not worth spending money on. And that’s totally fine with me, because a person with those opinions, is not someone that I want to work with. I don’t have to convince them of my worth. This point is the next one.
3. Stop trying to convince people of your worth.
Sometimes when I get an inquiry, I get the urge to fire off a page about WHY they should book me. What they get when they book me. What booking me means to me and my family. But I don’t. Here’s why:
Think back on the most effective adverstising you’ve ever seen—one that made you sigh to yourself, “I want that so much.” Maybe it’s a commercial for a luxury vehicle. An Audi. At the Rome home, we like Audi’s. Audi never has a commercial that begs you to come finance one of their cars because Audi knows Audi’s worth. Audi is confident. Audi shows dramatic, exciting clips of a professional driver driving the car fast and with attitude on a closed course, because thats all they need to do! No begging required. In fact, you’re probably the one begging to get approved. (Audi knows they don’t even NEED a commercial to catch me on their reel.) And an Audi dealership probably isnt going to have a lot of room to negotigate a lower price because you think its too expensive of a car. But Audi doesn’t care what you think. Audi knows its worth.
Don’t treat yourself like a used beat-up car from the 90’s on Craigslist. If you come across people that call you too expensive, don’t sweat it! (see #2). They aren’t for you, and that’s okay. Let them find the discount car on Craigslist. You’re an Audi.
So personally, if someone tells me they’ve decided to go JCPenny for an engagement photo instead of booking with me, I wish them well! A bride that’d rather have their teenage cousin snap shots of her nuptuals, was never my bride to begin with, and it probably isn’t the type of wedding I’d like to shoot, anyways.
I get butterflies before every single shoot. I get butterflies for every single inquiry. The butterflies have never gone away, and probably never will. A consequence of passion. I take a deep breath, and talk to the people inquiring like I’m talking to an old friend.
My reality being what it is—getting to stay at home with my babies AND be a professional photographer—is a blessing within a blessing within a blessing. I’m going to keep climbing the ladder, learning what I can, reaching my own definition of success, and not sweating what people think of me.
I can be a little awkward at times, and that’s okay. It’s who I am. I’m human and I know that life will refine me as I go. So just relax and enjoy the process! We’re doing what we love, so let’s take the good with the bad and have confidence in ourselves.
I hope this boosted your confidence a little! Good luck in making your dreams your reality, and peace out, cub scout! :)