Do you know why that’s your price?
Or why your price is what it is?
Many small businesses have no good reason for why they have the price they have except – that’s what other people are charging. In my book that is rarely a reason that will make you feel confident. Nor will it give you the best price (i.e. the right one for you, your business and your customers) you can have.
Knowing why your price is what it is, is what’s going to give you the confidence to charge the prices that you need in your business. The best price is one that’s both good for the customer and good for you. That represents the value and is suitably profitable for the business. Without those conditions being met, you’ve got the wrong price.
And that’s what this episode’s guest is here to share with her.
In This Episode
In this episode I sit down with Bethany Hawkins, CEO & Founder of Crackers in Soup. One of her biggest learnings was that she didn’t account for all the costs in her business when she was setting prices. It resulted in her not have a full view of what the businesses needed in profit and in under pricing. She’s going to share that and more as we discuss her pricing journey.
Podcast Episode Highlights
- 0:00 Intro
- 2:13 Getting to Know Bethany
- 4:11 The Value Bethany Brings to Clients
- 6:51 How did Bethany Start Her Business
- 9:08 Pricing at the Beginning
- 10:50 Pricing Journey
- 14:06 Most Difficult Thing in Pricing
- 17:31 Biggest Success in Pricing
- 20:37 Best Business Advice
- 22:26 Reason Behind Crackers in Soup
- 24:28 Wrapping It Up
“It (setting my first prices) was horrifying. I had no idea what I was doing. …I thought to myself ‘if I can charge 3 clients at this price I can cover my mortgage and a bit more.’ …that was my thinking.” Bethany
“I think the most difficult thing for me when it comes to pricing has been knowing when to stop raising prices. …finding that sweet spot.” Bethany
“My biggest success in pricing has been being able to onboard team members. Allowing my team members to work in their genius so I could focus on and concentrate on mine.” Bethany
“Accepting that your prices are going to need to change over time as you go forward in your business is an important part of growing your business.” Janene
How to Connect with Bethany
Book Recommendation: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
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Janene: All right. Today we’re here to talk about the importance of knowing why that’s your price. First let’s start with getting to know Bethany better. Bethany, what would you describe as your superpower?
Bethany: My superpower is I can make a joke out of anything, even in the most like situations where some situations that I shouldn’t, but I’m like, it’s my coping mechanism did it, and then I’m like, Oh, yikes,
Janene: Yeah, there’s a time and place for humor. I can imagine sometimes it doesn’t always land , but I mean, I think that’s humor can be used in so many different ways. So it’s a great superpower to have.
Bethany: Thank you.
Janene: Thank you. What’s one interesting thing that most people don’t know about you?
Bethany: This is such a dope question. I did not talk until I was like four or five. And my pediatrician at the time, Very up to like the most knowledge for pediatrician stuff. And there was a question of whether or not I had autism and that wasn’t a buzzword when I was younger, cuz don’t let this good skin fool you.
I’m 44 and after a while he was just like, let’s just see if she comes into her own. I started talking and now my whole profession is based on people talking, so the irony and me not talking and now paying my mortgage with talking. Isn’t lost on me.
Janene: You’re making up for lost time.
Janene: Okay. That’s interesting. Yeah. I know every child develops on their own and yeah, I’m sure it’s difficult sometimes to know when there’s something wrong or not wrong, but usually when they can, they come into it in their own at some point.
The Value Bethany Brings to Clients
Janene: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do and the value that clients get from working with you.
Bethany: Such a great question. My company’s called Crackers in Soup and we create podcasts for people who historically have been quieted. The majority of my clientele are black women, women of color, and if they’re not women of color, they are allies of women of color.
We allow them the opportunity to get their voice heard, either in regards to their business or in their passion project. And we put it all together for them. We do podcast management. We do podcast launching and it ends up being from a client to contractor into like a family relationship.
Janene: Yeah, I’m sure. I love the podcast community in general. Then when you add that special target group that you work with, that special community that you work with into it, I’m sure it becomes quite the family along the way. Thank you for sharing. And in terms of the value that they get out of working with you, what is it that they can expect in terms of value.
Bethany: I love that. It’s an investment, it’s an investment to work with my company. It’s an investment to work with us. You invest in us. And we invest in you. Not only do you have the expertise of everything that my team and I bring to the table. But you also have that relief and freedom from your podcast.
My Clients Can Go on A Vacation
Bethany: As you know, podcasts are very time consuming. If it’s done right, there’s a lot of different moving parts, and the value is my clients can go on vacation. One of my clients went to Jordan and she just uploaded her audio and she knew that it was taken care of. Right?
One of my other clients, she’s actually traveling to Poland today, and she is in the process of launching her podcast and we had a meeting yesterday and she was like, Everything is just so organized. I really don’t have to worry. And because we take project management into consideration when we’re launching our podcast, she’s like, everything is just there.
Like I don’t have to question how to go about doing anything. We bring you through that process. So that’s the value that they get out of it. And I mean, they work with me so clearly everybody’s winning .
Janene: They must have a good time, for sure. . Okay.
Excellent. So what I hear then is part of it is it’s freeing up their time.
Bring up their head space from worry about this not being done and that not being done. But also helping them build their businesses and move forward in their business as well.
Bethany: Exactly. They can keep their mental bandwidth for something else.
Janene: Right. Exactly. I love it.
How Did Bethany Start Her Business
Janene: Bethany, how did you become an entrepreneur? Or how did you start your own business?
Bethany: I was in the criminal justice system for 18 and a half years. I have degrees in criminal justice and certifications in paralegals and paralegal studies, I had a lot of student loans and after 18 and a half years I just was burnt out. I didn’t want to work in that industry anymore, but I didn’t wanna just get another job.
Prior to me starting my business, I had been introduced to podcast and I completely and utterly fell in love with the conversations that were being had. The understanding that other people had my experience that weren’t in my vicinity. But it felt like that they were my family and that we were friends because there was just, it was so relatable.
I wanted to share that knowledge and those experiences with other people who were in my same situation that they were dealing with microaggression. They were dealing with offices where their voices weren’t really heard. And I was fortunate because in the hierarchy of the office it was the district attorney, it was the deputy district attorney, and then it was myself.
I Wanted To Get Voices Like Mine Heard
Bethany: For me to have felt like I really didn’t have a voice or a place, and I was like the third of the highest people in the office. That is extreme so I decided that I didn’t want another job and I didn’t want to find myself in the same situation that I was in. So, I wanted to start and create my business, and I wanted to get voices like mine heard.
I wanted to work with people who looked like me and who had the experiences like me. Also, to highlight people’s businesses. I had no idea what, how to start a podcast at that time so I took business courses. I went to YouTube University and just YouTubed a whole bunch of stuff until I really had an understanding in a basic foundation of how to put a podcast together.
And as they say, it’s all crazy. From there, the rest is history. The rest is history.
Pricing At The Beginning
Janene: Okay. Very good. And what was it like for you when you first had to set a price for something? What was that experience like?
Bethany: It was horrifying. I had no idea what I was doing. In the courses they talk about price setting and I was like, Okay, well I’m just gonna pull this number out of the air. I’m just gonna make enough to cover my mortgage because the way that my husband and I divvy up bills is I pay for the mortgage, he pays for the inside of the house. I just need to cover these particular bills that I’m responsible for paying.
That’s what I’m going to charge if I get like three clients at this price point. I could pay my mortgage and a couple of my other bills, and then I’m good. For me, that was why my price was what it was. Like, who needs to eat? Right? Like right eating’s for the rich. I’ll just nibble on some grasp. Please. It’ll fine. Clearly, I was eating but it was horrifying to have to kind of.
And everybody says, Oh, price your value. Price what you’re worth, blah, blah. Don’t listen to those people, audience members, don’t listen to price with what you’re worth. Do not wrap your worth into a financial dollar amount. Because if this business goes bust, I’m still worth more than the business could ever provide for me.
Because I’m a whole being outside of my business, and it just makes me cringe when people are like you’re not valuing who you are because you’re not pricing that. No. And that’s something that I had to learn through the process of actually owning a business. When I started, I did not price correctly.
Janene: So how did you recognize that?
It Was Like a Visceral Effect
Bethany: I was stressed. I was exhausted. I was burnt out. It was like a visceral effect. Where I was like, I have all of these clients. Why aren’t I making the financial demands that I think that I should be making? How come I’m not able to save?
I also was so busy and I wanted to hire somebody to come in and help me, I wanted to hire a team member. I couldn’t because of my prices were inappropriate. And I was like, this is like a hamster wheel. What am I doing? So then I started exploring the things and the attributes and the skills that I brought to the table and started of like pricing that out.
All of these transferable skills that I have, all of the million dollar budgets that I had to do in the corporate world. All of the meetings and organization skills. I had all of these transferable skills that I wasn’t allocating for financially. And then I started thinking of, well my computer is an expense and my lights are an expense and you know, my heating, cuz again, I live in Massachusetts.
I’m cold. We need heat, I need body warmth. That’s an expense. All of those student loans that I was talking about. Education, that’s an expense. Started inserting all of those particular price points. As well as anticipating me adding on team members. And that is kind of how I got to a price where I was able to onboard additional team members, onboard contractors. I finally understood the answer to “why that’s your price”. I knew why mine needed to be what they were. So now I have employees and I have contractors. All from figuring out how to price my packages appropriately for my business.
Make Sure You are Profitable
Janene: Yeah, it’s very important. I think that as people go through their pricing journey, they go through different levels and people who are math oriented will tend to start by calculating costs.
Often people who are less comfortable with math will start with other things. But as people go through whichever journey they go on, wherever they start to where they’re going most people come to a point where they realize that they’re not actually accounting for all the costs in their business.
That’s so true and it’s important. Now, is the cost the thing that you should set your prices based upon? I would disagree with that in most cases. But whatever price you do choose, you do have to make sure that you are profitable. Yeah, and I think that that’s part of the point that you’re making there. Correct?
Bethany: Absolutely. And I love what you said about people who are just accustomed to mathematics and getting that price point, because I am not, I am a visionary. I see things and that is one of the things that makes me successful in my business and with my clients, I can foresee the information that they’re bringing to me and how they want their podcast to feel to them. And then I can implement that. Right. As far as all of the data and the mathematics and the calculations, I’m like, Wooh, Who needs that? You know? Who needs that business owners. That wraps into the mathematics and the price points and the cost that wraps into all of that.
Most Difficult Thing in Pricing
Janene: What’s been the most difficult thing for you when it comes to pricing in your business?
Bethany: I think knowing when to stop increasing your prices. Because there is a very sweet spot where you can price so that the people that are your clientele that you’re focusing and concentrating on are going to be able to afford you. There are the times when you want. You feel like you should increase your price, but it doesn’t feel right for you. But there is like kind of that pressure. Tapping into myself, there was a time when I was going to increase our podcast management prices and I had reached out to some of my clients and I had let them know, hey, it’s going to increase at such a date.
Then I was sitting with it and I was like, I don’t think I want to do that. I met with one of the clients that I had reached out to, and we were just, she was wrapping up her season and I always do an end of the season conversation and meeting. I said to her, I just wanna let you know I’m not going to increase my price.
She literally started crying and she said, I actually talked to my therapist about this because with the increase of price it was going to make me have to choose a different podcast. I was like, Oh my, I love her, I love her podcast, but in my heart, I was just like, mm.
I feel like that this is a good price. That this is like what I want, and clearly it was what she wanted as well. Without even having that conversation, it ended up working out for the past.
You Can’t Rely Solely on Interest
Janene: I mean, there is something to set be said for intuition. You can’t rely solely on interest. And at least that’s my experience in pricing, because most people’s intuition is missing a few elements when it comes to either being profitable or pricing based on value. There’s more to it than that, but there is absolutely something to be said for intuition and like, when I work with clients a lot of times, especially when we’re just adjusting prices kind of thing, Well, what do you think you can do?
They say something and then our job is to go about and make sure that that’s possible for them. And if it’s not, then we can always adjust that, one way or the other. But I think that intuition is very important and I think it’s something you also develop as you go through along in your business as well.
Absolutely. And there are other things that you can, that can bring your business revenue. It just doesn’t have to be package points. It can be other things like speaking engagements, offer, master classes. There are other opportunities to bring revenue in. It just doesn’t have to be those package price points.
Yeah. This is absolutely true and I think for most businesses, having more than one revenue stream is an important part of the business model because, we’ve all experienced once or twice, one revenue stream slowing down or drying up. yeah. And, and so being able to have that flexibility to rely on other parts of the business when one isn’t functioning the way that you want it to, I think is important to keep an overall profitability standpoint.
Bethany: Agree. Yeah.
Biggest Success in Pricing
Janene: What’s been your biggest success in pricing?
Bethany: I think onboarding team members. Once I understood why that was my price things changed. I could bring on that team because I built the right structure in the business and was charging for the value and what allowed me to cover those costs. I had that bandwidth mentality where I was allowing my team members to work in their genius so I could focus and concentrate on my genius. And that is bringing people to the company that is discovery calls, that is the meetings that I have with my clients.
In some aspects that’s working on their podcasts, creating show notes and audio, and doing all of the things that make a podcast function. And not having to worry about emails and not having to worry about responding to people sliding in my dms and not having to worry about graphics because my graphics were janky and sad.
My graphic designer is the bomb.com, so I was like, Cheryl, take all of these off my hands and not even have those little things. Graphics is just like, you just wait off my shoulder and Right. I, it does work so much better than me. Like I know where my faults are..
Janene: I love doing it. I have to give it to other people because I enjoy doing it so much.
Bethany: Really? That’s so, No, I was like, please take this, please. Please take this off my nails. I’m like, Oh, here’s a stick figure. Don’t you love that for your cover heart? Isn’t that amazing? No, it wasn’t. So. Janene: Oh, that’s funny. That’s funny.
Be Flexible in Growth
Janene: Let’s start wrapping this up a bit. What’s one thing that you think that people should take away from our discussion today?
Bethany: I think that people should know when you start out in business, what your prices are, are not going to be what they’re going to be in the very near future. Your experiences in entrepreneurship, in creating this business and in creating this world, especially if you’ve never been in it before, are going to drive a lot of changes, so you have to be flexible in that growth and that experience because that is going to help you be better and that is going to help you price better.
Janene: Yeah, I totally agree. And recently I’ve had, excuse me, quite a few people who were on the show or people who I spoke with who like, Yeah. You know, finally had this, it occurred to me a few years into my business that my prices were actually gonna have to change. And before that point, it had never even occurred to them that that was something that needed to happen.
Which of course, from my perspective, I’m like. How could you not? But of course, I come from a different world where that’s what I was doing. Of course I would understand that. There’s plenty of other things like having to post multiple times a days on social media where I go, we have to do that.
But yeah, I think that accepting that your prices are going to need to change over time as you go forward in your business is an important part of growing your business. Yeah, absolutely. Love it. What’s the best business advice you’ve been given?
Best Business Advice
Bethany: I think the best advice that I wasn’t given, but that I give my team members and it’s, I am fallible. If there is something that I’ve done or something that I’ve said that makes people feel badly or upset, I want them to come to me and share that with me. That it is a safe space to have these discussions, right?
Knowing that as a business owner that I am fallible and I want to create a safe space for the people that not only I work with, but that work with me is probably the most important thing that I’ve done for my business. Because there’s a lot of vulnerability in podcasting and people don’t realize that there is a lot of mind trash that can come up in that.
Having them being able to bounce that information off me, share that, and us being able to work through it, is something that I don’t take lightly. You have to own that you’re human and that you’re going to make mistakes.
Also the best business advice, don’t talk to everybody. Everybody is not your person. Everybody is not your client. Don’t just talk to everybody because those people aren’t your people, you will come to head and it’s not going to be a good thing.
Janene: I like both of those. Those are very important. We all make mistakes, and I think I’ve said this before in the show, one of my biggest realizations was I thought that this was a career journey when I started a business that it was all about my career. No. It’s a personal development journey. It was a shock for the system.
Bethany: Tip number three. Get a good therapist. A good therapist will make your business just thrive.
Reason Behind Crackers in Soup
Janene: I love it. One thing that I have to ask you, and it occurred to me as you were talking why Crackers in soup?
Why is that what you call the business? Really curious.
Bethany: I get asked this all the time. Number one, I’m a total, like I like to eat. Like I know that I’m just like from the neck up, but there’s a whole lot underneath that neck, food is my whole g g, and when I was trying to come up with the name of my business, I didn’t at the time know any podcast terminology.
Now I do and I didn’t wanna name it after myself because Bethany Hawkins company, blah. I was kinda like at a loss. At the time, my daughter, she was going through a soup phase, but she only would eat soup with crackers. And I was like, and one night she was like, Mom, can I eat soup? Can I soup?
I was like, you can have some soup, but you ate all the crackers. And she was like, but crackers, make it better. And I was like, that is the name of my company because ideally my client’s podcast is The Soup and we are the crackers that come in and just make it better.
Janene: I love it. Now I understand.
No, that’s great. I love it. Absolutely fantastic. Thanks for sharing that.
Bethany’s Fave Book and Tool
Janene: Two more questions for you. Is there a favorite book or tool you’d like to recommend to your audience?
Bethany: I love Asana. Asana is my project management tool for all of my podcasting, for my team members. As far as books like business books or just like books to read for pleasure, whatever you prefer, I am recommending the silent patient to literally every single person who will come into my vicinity. I’m like, you have to read this book. It is so good. It is like a mind thriller whammy, and I am all for it. I love to read. Somebody put me in their book club. I love to read.
I’m curious for you reading /listening to this do you know the importance of why that’s your price?