I Didn’t Really Think About Pricing

One of the questions I get most often from people is when should I start looking at pricing. Most experts, myself included will tell you as early as possible. Why? Because you need it to understand the profit story of your business. To understand what it will take to be profitable. To explain to investors, partners, banks and others how effective your business model is. You can’t do that without having had a real good look at pricing.

But most, way too many businesses leave it to the last minute and then struggle. That’s in some ways what happened with my guest in this episode.

In This Episode

Pauliina Rasi shares with us her pricing journey as she looks back at where she started with pricing. Why she started there. What it meant for her business and how it felt. As well as how her pricing has evolved, what changes she’s made and what it’s meant to her and her clients.

She start by sharing that at the beginning pricing wasn’t even a thought for her. She was focused on other things. I think you’ll find a lot in this episode that resonates with you. Enjoy!

Podcast Episode Highlights

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 2:46 Getting to know Pauliina
  • 4:12 The Value that Pauliina’s clients get
  • 5:57 Pricing at the Beginning
  • 7:49 Time based Pricing
  • 9:50 Value for each client
  • 11:11 Clarity in Strategy
  • 12:58 Confidence and Experience Aspect
  • 14:38 Pauliina’s Framework for Pricing
  • 16:18 Setting up your Prices is a Process
  • 17:08 When to Invest in Yourself
  • 19:02 Wrapping Up

Favorite Quotes

“The value of content or communication it can be in spreading the word. Especially during the early stages. Just getting your company name out there, but then it can also be further down in the customer’s journey in client acquisition and lead generation-getting more clients.” Pauliina

“Mainly the thing that now I have a clarity about what my strategy is. I have a framework with which to work to set my prices for different client groups for different projects.” Pauliina

“I have a lot more clarity and confidence in my pricing. To be honest, it’s not always easy. There are moments when it really stings and for your heart, it’s surprising. It’s not a feel good business where everybody just gets to feel amazing all the time. They will at the end because they really get the results and good value for money, but it doesn’t always feel good when you’re in the process.” Pauliina

“I know all which elements my pricing is based on. And then I can ask myself and my client the right questions so that they get the value and well it’s priced in a core systems and a fair way for both of us.” Pauliina

“I find often myself that I have to remind people that fair doesn’t mean just a low price for a customer. It actually fair would directly imply that it’s also a good price for you and for your business.” Janene

“When you need to invest in yourself and in your business and get help, it’s in those moments when you think you can’t afford it, you don’t have the time. You don’t have resources, you can’t do it right now. That’s usually when you need it the most. And it will also give you the best return on investment.” Pauliina

How to Connect with Pauliina

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Episode Transcript

Janene: Hello, everyone. And welcome to live with the Pricing Lady. I’m Janene Liston, your hostess. This show is all about helping you build a more sustainably profitable business by charging for the value that you and your products or services or software deliver. Welcome everyone, and welcome to today’s guest Pauliina Rasi. Hello, Pauliina.

Pauliina: Hello. Thank you for having me on the show.

Janene: Welcome. Many of you may not know this, but Pauliina is joining us for the second time. She was one of the very first guests we had on the show when I started back in 2018. It’s been a while I thought it would be great to have her come back on the show and share her pricing journey and where she’s gotten since then as well.

I would like to start with a few rapid fire questions. First of all, where are you calling from today?

Pauliina: I am calling from Switzerland close to Geneva. We are in the French speaking part of the country.

Janene: Originally, you’re from?

Pauliina: Finland in Northern Europe.

Janene: Excellent. What is your superpower either personally or professionally?

Pauliina: Personally, I have a very wide stock of song lyrics stuck in my head so I can sing a lot of songs really by memory. However, my singing voice is not spectacular, so the content is there, the delivery.

Janene: It could be worked on. That’s fine. When I was a kid and we did a lot of road trips and I would always sing along with almost everything that came on the radio. My dad would always yell at me and he’d say, Janene, why is it you can remember the words to thousands of songs, but you can’t remember your history homework.

Getting to know Pauliina

Pauliina: Yeah. It’s funny. It’s probably there’s something there that just makes them sticky.

Janene: Yeah. Well, speaking of music, here’s another question for you. What’s one song that would be the soundtrack of your life right now.

Pauliina: I do love your questions, especially as a former journalist. I do appreciate a preset design of questions. I’ve been listening quite a bit of Jamie Cullum recently, so let’s go with the “What a difference a day made”.

Janene: Oh, cool. What a difference a day made is a great song. Excellent. All right, so what’s one interesting thing that most people don’t actually know about you.

Pauliina: Well, I mentioned I used to work as a journalist, but I think many people know that about me, but they might not know that my dream when I was younger, when I was doing my studies, was to become a foreign correspondent and work in French. Now when you look at where I am, I’m not that far from France. So, yeah, I’m not a foreign correspondent, but.

Janene: But you’re hearing communications

Pauliina: Exactly in that silence. We didn’t fall that far from the tree.

Janene: It’s funny. I have no recollection whatsoever of what I wanted to be when I grew up there was something. I’m always kind of curious of how people remember that.

Pauliina: Well, there must have been other things as well, but I even applied to Uni to study the French language, but I needed to get in. I got in journalism, that’s where it got me.

The Value that Pauliina’s Client Get

Janene: Now let’s turn a little bit towards what you do. What kind of value do your clients get from what you do? Explain what you do first.

Pauliina: Absolutely. I work with all things written content. A lot with blogs, social media, website. Those are many things that most listeners are familiar with, and most businesses need at some stage or another.

I help my clients figure out what kind of content they need, what they should share, say. How they can spread the word about their amazing software, service, product, or whatever it is that they are offering. I can also help them get the job done. When they need more hands on deck, when they want to have a small team, or they just need more women of power on creating quality content, I can help them and deliver that.

Janene: What is the value of that at the end of the day?

Pauliina: Well, it depends a lot on what the business goals are. The value of content or communication it can be in spreading the word. Especially during the early stages. Just getting your company name out there, but then it can also be further down in the customer’s journey in client acquisition and lead generation-getting more clients.

But one thing about where content can deliver a lot of value and that’s often a little bit overlooked, maybe it’s also in onboarding or customer service, especially with tech companies, service based companies. When you want to make sure that your clients actually make most of your service, they don’t just work with you, but they actually get the results and they keep getting those results. After you finished working together, that’s where content or communication can be very useful.

Pricing at the Beginning

Janene: Interesting. Why don’t we turn towards your pricing journey? You can tell us a bit about where you started and what pricing was like for you at the beginning.

Pauliina: With pleasure. It’s kind of fun and look back into all of that after all these years. To be completely honest, when I started out, I was thinking a lot about what I love to do, writing and clear messaging and things like that and how that could be of help for other people that are businesses.

I didn’t really think of pricing that much in those early stages. It might sound a bit naive now in perspective, but I really didn’t have a strategy or a very clear approach on how I was going to price my services.

Janene: That’s very common. I think for many people at the beginning, they don’t really think about it too much until they have to communicate it to someone.

Pauliina: I was also lucky in a way that my first clients were very used to buying services. They had those frameworks in place. There was kind of a starting point, but when you let somebody else define the value of your work, instead of doing it yourself intentionally, it’s a little bit of what they say. When you take on a new job, if you accept lower salary, it’s very hard to make any dramatic changes, to win along the way.

If you start with your own business by just following pricing strategies that maybe your clients, contributors, or contractors have used. It doesn’t drive your business costs in the best possible.

Janene: You started out contracting and what you were charging was generally led by your clients and.

Pauliina: The other people in the industry like standards.

Time based Pricing

Janene: Industry standards of which there are a few, but we like to think there’s more than there in pricing. Then you kind of shifted towards time based pricing.

Pauliina: Exactly. From there, I started figuring out how much am I making on an hourly basis, just on average. I started using that as a base, I’ve never charged hourly, per se. I’ve often tried to favor package pricing, but that package price was based on my estimate or how long a time a job would take. That’s can cause another rocky road in a different way because some projects take much more than anticipated. Others are maybe shorter or lighter.

Janene: Shifting to time based pricing is another methodology for pricing. Gives you a little bit more control over what you’re doing. I love the fact that you weren’t necessarily communicating it that way. But communicating more of a package is I think what you said.

How was that working for you? Did it work well, do you feel like it was representative of what you were doing? What was that like?

Pauliina: For a while, I guess it worked relatively well. It worked better than not having any strategy at all.

The other challenge with the time based pricing is that our prices always sound expensive. It doesn’t matter how low it actually is. It still sounds expensive when you put it like that.

Then it can turn clients off. The challenge there is that the client don’t really know what they’re going to get. If you have an hourly price and from a contractor’s point of view, it makes the revenues stream sometimes not unstable, but it makes sometimes a little bit hard to anticipate how many hours are actually included because clients are very different.

Value for Each Client

Pauliina: What they need can be very different. And sometimes it’s not easy to estimate and anticipate that in the early stages I find and what the value is for each client, for some clients, it can be value that you’re very available and you use a lot of hours, and they might be willing to pay for that for some clients.

Janene: Right. It doesn’t give you a lot. It doesn’t give you as much flexibility in terms of how much you charge for what you’re delivering.

Pauliina: That’s really, and then it also puts all the clients in the same line, in a way, and well, the stages I was working, I still am working with early stage startups or very small businesses. Then again, more established, small and medium sized businesses who have very different needs. And they have different budgets for them. Value is very different. So then putting them all well in the same group can be tricky.

Janene: Yeah, it can be. Also, when you use time based pricing, you’re basically saying that the amount of time that you spend is what the value is derived from efficiently. It does contribute to the value in some cases like it’s going to take you longer, if there’s more texts, things like this, but the real heart of the value comes from somewhere else.

Pauliina: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that depends on cosmetic things.

Clarity in Strategy

Janene: Where are you now with your pricing and what, if anything has changed?

Pauliina: I guess many things have changed. Mainly the thing that now I have a clarity about what my strategy is. I have a framework with which to work to set my prices for different client groups for different projects. I could imagine that many freelancers, independent contractors can also recognize when you’re calculating your prices, it’s always a little bit of a long and labor process and you never know where you’re going to land. Having that framework and clarity and strategy in the first place has helped me a lot. I’ve moved from a time based and a client based pricing, to more towards value based and different packages.

And even bigger packages. Something I’ve understood along the way was that sometimes I was trying to create small packages to honor my client’s budgets, but then I started seeing that wasn’t necessarily what the client wants. It’s not necessarily a book post or even a website or landing page. They want more clients, they want more leads. They want to save their times. And for that, they might not actually need that one tiny thing that they think they have budget for. Having that clarity on pricing and also on the value that the offer delivers and gives for the clients has led me to package my services differently so that there’s not only copywriting for example, but there’s a strategy around that.

Which gives more value to the clients at the end, because they know why they are doing what they’re doing. They often upskill, they upgrade their own skills along the process. They have a lot more clarity what they are doing in terms of communication and content marketing as well.

Confidence and Experience Aspect

Janene: Right. I think what’s important there. One of the things that you said is that sometimes what the client says they want and what they need in order to get where they want to go are two different things. Sometimes as the person supplying the service or the product or whatever it is, you have to be the one to say, well, actually you’ve told them you want to get here in order to get there.

This is what you need. It takes a certain amount of confidence and maybe even experienced some might say certainly if you have the confidence that helps, right. To be able to speak with your clients in that way and have that conversation. Has that been a big transition for you?

Pauliina: I guess over time. Yes, of course. It rarely happens overnight. It’s a process of so many things in business, but definitely I do recognize that confidence and experience aspect. It is not always easy in the early stage and even less, if you’re not very clear so well, these things in your business, other than your own expertise.

Definitely a learning process, a learning curve there. It’s also a question of maybe the maturity of a business in a way to find that confidence and also to look at your business in a little bit wide away, and we’ll hit become also to a communication it’s really about. I say one thing, but if thinking about everything that comes before an often, I’m seeing the context, then it also connects to what the client actually wants and how they can get them.

Pauliina’s Framework for Pricing

Janene: When you think about when you first started your business and the topic of pricing and where you are now, does it feel different to you?

Pauliina: Pricing. Definitely. Yeah. I have a lot more clarity and confidence in my pricing. To be honest, it’s not always easy. There are moments when it really stings and for your heart, it’s surprising. It’s not a feel good business where everybody just gets to feel amazing all the time.

They will at the end because they really get the results and good value for money, but it doesn’t always feel good when you’re in the process. But yeah, I have a lot more clarity and confidence. Like I mentioned earlier, I feel like that’s framework. It’s not necessarily that I know on top of my head that if you want this, it’s going to cost you this much, but I know.

 I know all which elements my pricing is based on. And then I can ask myself and my client the right questions so that they get the value and well it’s priced in a core systems and a fair way for both of us.

Janene: Right. That’s a great point there. I love that. That is very important. A lot of times when people come to me, they’re talking about, I want to have a fair price.

And I find often myself that I have to remind people that fair doesn’t mean just a low price for a customer. It actually fair would directly imply that it’s also a good price for you and for your business. Right. That’s super important. Cool. Paulina we’re actually at the end of our time today, I’ve got a few wrap-up questions here for you.

Pauliina: Let’s fire away.

Setting up your Prices is a Process

Janene: What’s one thing that you’d like people to take away from our discussion today?

Pauliina: That pricing set pricing, setting up your prices and setting up your pricing strategy is a process. And there’s no such a thing as (starting) too early. I think it’s better to start earlier than later, but anyway, it’s a process and a framework that we evolve as your business evolve, because I remember when will.

Asking myself all these questions I was asking, is it too early to really work on my pricing? No, I probably could have done it even earlier, but wherever you are in your business, it’s a really, it’s when you both wealthy too, to think about this, these questions and ask yourself these questions.

Janene: If you think back over, how long have you had your business?

Pauliina: Four and a half years.

Janene: Four and a half years. What’s the best business advice that you’ve been given that you’d like to share with us?

When to Invest in Yourself

Pauliina: That’s good. There’s actually something I heard quite recently.

When you need to invest in yourself and in your business and get help, it’s in those moments when you think you can’t afford it, you don’t have the time. You don’t have resources, you can’t do it right now. That’s usually when you need it the most. And it will also give you the best return on investment.

Janene: It’s those ouchie decisions, right?

Pauliina: Exactly. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Janene: It does. I remember when I was deciding to move to Switzerland, I had already accepted a job offer with another company. Then the boss of the company I was working for came to me and said, will you stay if I can send you to Switzerland?

I said no. For a week, I was the most miserable person on the planet because in my heart, I really wanted to go to Switzerland, but I felt like I had given this other company my word. I remember I’d gone on a bike ride with some friends, we were standing in a parking lot at the pizza parlor and I was crying.

It was one of those moments where sometimes the toughest decisions are the ones that set you free the most. I never imagined that 21 years later, I’d still be here. Obviously. I gave up the job and came over here.

Pauliina: The rest is history?

Janene: Right, What’s a favorite book or tool that you’d like to share with us today.

Pauliina: I love a book from Donald Miller that’s called Building a StoryBrand because it’s a very good introduction to how you can use storytelling and the elements of storytelling in your business and your communication in every effective way.

How to Reach out to Pauliina

Janene: Excellent. Last question. If people would like to reach out to you to find out how more about what you do and how to work with you, where should we send them?

Pauliina: I’m hanging out on LinkedIn. That’s really my favorite social media platforms. You can find me there with my name, Pauliina Rasi there aren’t a lot of Pauliinas with two I’s. So when you just get that right, you will probably find me very easily and I love to connect.

Janene: Excellent. I’ll put that in the show notes for you guys, as well as a link to the book so that you can find that and get over there easily. I will confess here that Pauliina is the one who helped me with a copy for my own website.

If you want to see a great example of her work, you can also head over there to thepricinglady.com.

Yeah, it was good. Pauliina, first of all, thank you so much for being with us today. I really appreciate you coming on here again and sharing your journey and giving us some updates on how that’s been going. Thank you so much.

Pauliina: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve been listening to your show for a long time, so it’s nice to be here.

Wrapping Up

Janene: Everyone. I wanted to let you know this week I’ve been running two web classes, but you missed them. Sorry, if would like to watch the replay though, they will be up on my Facebook group for the next week. You can head on over to Charge your Worth with The Pricing Lady, but they come down in five to seven days.

You got to get over there now and have a look at that. Otherwise, if you’d like to find out more about how to improve pricing in your business, head on over to thepricinglady.com and book a discovery call with me. That’s all I have for you today, folks. I wish you all the best and as always enjoy pricing everyone.

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