Wanna run with the big dogs? You may be closer than you think.

Earlier this week, I wrote about pricing. Specifically, that most business owners are selling themselves short when they price their work.

Why? They consider “the market” when they determine prices. Smart move.

If you consider the right market.

Most often, they consider a market that’s not pricing properly to begin with. They’re considering “affordability” (that’s a code word for low priority). They’re thinking about volume instead of quality.

They’re playing small because that’s the only game around. Or is it?

The Myth of Volume

What kind of businesses succeed on a volume model? What kind of businesses operate on a razor thin margin? Huge corporations: Walmart, Target, McDonald’s… They have supply chains, human resource policies, and manufacturing systems that support this business model.

You don’t. Don’t pretend volume will make your profitable. Build your business model around delivering exceptional value.

“I used to act on the principle of higher production rate equals greater return. Now I operate on higher value equaling greater return. …

“The idea is that you as an independent are the only one responsible for everything – marketing, selling, creating, building, growing – and as a result you must be very conscious of the advantages this brings to your ability to become self-sufficient within your work.”
— Adam King, How Do You Define Meaningful Work?

Run the numbers. Unless you can – or want to – create 60 of what you make every day, don’t bet on volume.

The best market to consider when pricing your work is the market you want to be in, not the market you’ve ended up in by default.

Businesses don’t thrive “by default.”
Businesses thrive when they take the lead on creating something truly worthwhile, something innovative, something that goes beyond a new take on what’s already unnecessary. Businesses thrive when a product or service is the result of a hundred or more careful calculations, when every decision is derived from a distinct perspective.

So what market do you want to be in? When you dream about your successful business, who are your peers? Who is making the waves you want to make? What products or services are unrivaled in your eyes?

Why not price yourself into that market?

Actually, I’m sure you can think of plenty of reasons not to price yourself into that market. And I have plenty of ideas on that (they’re coming in my next post). For now, I want you to consider some specific examples as objectively as possible.

Ask yourself: what’s so different between these businesses & yours?

You wanna run with the big dogs?

John T Unger: an artist with perspective

John T Unger has a unique perspective:

My creative mandate is “sustainable design with an edge.” Just because we’re good doesn’t mean we have to be boring, right? I think there’s a place for rock n’ roll to dance with environmental responsibility in a house shakin’ way. If green products are to compete in the market, they need to be sexy, sleek and chic— cooler than new.

Unger creates unmistakable “firebowls” from recycled materials. He has a large & loyal following that covets his work and supports his vision.

But Unger knows the value of his work to his customers. He knows the statement — the WOW factor — it makes on the front lawn or back porch. His firebowls range from $1500 to $3000 for the readily available models.

Danielle LaPorte: an artist with strategy

Danielle LaPorte retired her $1000 business strategy sessions, Fire Starter Sessions, almost a year ago. And certainly not for lack of clients.

In addition to undying passion, unceasing discipline, and fierce spirituality, LaPorte lives & breathes strategy. Those who committed to a Fire Starter Session with her had complete faith in her ability to give them a $10k, $20k, or $50k idea. Would you be willing to trade $1,000 for $50,000? Thought so.

Decide to rise because you want to expand — your being, your life, your possibilities.

Decide to rise because super powers are meant to be activated and applied in everyday life.

Decide to rise to explore your place in the universe.

LaPorte urges her clients, readers, and fans to rise. Rise to meet her.

Natalie Chanin: an artist with a community

Natalie Chanin‘s collection of handcrafted clothing exists at once in both days gone by & the present. Texture, layers, and tone-on-tone pattern are the hallmarks of this vision-driven brand.

Chanin employs an arsenal of artisans in Alabama to create pieces that range from $3-5,000. Her customers value the unique designs, the attention to detail, and the sustainable lifestyle her clothing represents.

…early in my journey I realized that sewing traditions (and I would go so far as to say survival traditions – everything around food, clothing and shelter) were dying in my community – and communities all over. Very soon after coming home to begin my work with hand sewing, it became clear that it was important to begin to collect stories and techniques about these traditions and to work towards not only incorporating them in my work but using my work as a means towards cultural preservation.
— Natalie Chanin, interview on EcoSalon

For Chanin, who also has a line of DIY kits & books, it’s not enough to stop at good enough, or even great enough. She finds value, as do her clients, in the fullest expression of her vision & values.

Peter Shallard: an artist who fast tracks

Peter Shallard is the shrink for entrepreneurs. He caters to a specific type of clientele, tells it like it is, and is confident of the results he delivers.

But, perhaps most importantly, Shallard understands that the true value he provides to this motivated bunch of clients is an express train to greater success. These are people who are already accomplishing quite a bit. Shallard gets them to bigger & better, faster.

My approach focuses on actionable psychological insight that creates practical, measurable results, making me an ideal choice for the busy entrepreneur who wants to fast-forward success – the kind of person who wants to rapidly leave roadblocks behind and make big things happen quickly.

What’s the express train to success worth to his clients? It’s certainly worth more than the $750 per month for email consultation that is the lowest entrance price to his services.

Shallard believes in enabling enterpreneurs to achieve wealth, freedom, and social impact with as few barriers as possible. Now that’s convenience.

Who is your role model?

Your particular role model probably isn’t on this list. Maybe you dream of being the next Jonathan Adler, Rachel Zoe, Jonathan Fields, Martha Beck, or Kris Carr.

And maybe, just maybe, you’re closer than you think.

Does your business — and the way you & your customers view it — represent your proximity to this dream?

What would you need to change to bring it closer?

***

Want to run with the big dogs but don’t know where to start? Know where to start but it scares the %*&@ out of you? It’s time for an Insight Intensive. Let’s spend some quality time breaking it down, making plans, and gather information. Let’s run together – click here for more info.

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13 comments on “Wanna run with the big dogs? You may be closer than you think.

  1. El Edwards says:

    I loved this Tara, such a great idea and so inspiring. Where I get in a pickle though is, if memory serves me right, Danielle LaPorte started at $300 for a firestarter session. She worked her way up to $1000 an hour. So does this mean that someone like me who is newer equally needs to start lower and aim to work up to that sort of scale? What do you think?

  2. Erica Burns says:

    Great info! So true too! I hate to see people under estimate their worth!

  3. Steven Davis says:

    Thank you for another great article.

    You may want to check out this column at the NY Times on competition vs. creativity and creating “new monopolies”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/opinion/brooks-the-creative-monopoly.html?_r=1