Are you asking for less than you need?
"As women when we are fundraising we always ask for less than we need, because we don't want to get rejected" - Anna Philips, Manager of strategic Partnerships SNC.
Whether you are a woman or a man, watch this video and or read this blog and be honest if it describes you.
In the moment I realized I have this problem, I could start addressing it and make sure I don't fall into this pattern. Not only is it personally important to know to ask for what you really need, but actually asking for less than you need, can seriously damage your business.
Here's a personal story that shows why:
A few weeks ago we launched the double you retreat for women entrepreneurs. We know our product is good; we are investing hundreds of hours of curated thought to create the best experience possible; and we are privileged enough to receive support from ROI's community incubator, which enabled us to subsidise half of the amount invested in each participant.
We felt the responsibility to charge enough money from participants that will both enable us to maintain/sustain the annual community management and to provide the participants with an opportunity to invest in this annual experience and not take it for granted. The price we finally came up with – 560$ - reflects both what we need and what we feel is fair for this target audience.
But then, a week ago, we received a message from a potential participant that says:
"What you're doing sounds amazing, but $560 for someone who hasn't seen a paycheck in over a year is absurd. Best of luck!״
Initially when I just started reading it, I felt a bit of a shrink. It's never nice to feel like what you offer isn't accessible to all the people that need it, and it's never fun to be accused of doing something wrong, especially not something absurd : )
But a minute after that, literally a minute, my heart expanded, and since the process of choosing our price was so thought of and came from a place of sincere care for our community and our cause, I was inspired to write her the next message back:
"Hi, how are you?
First of all 560$ is an investment in this process which includes online content, support and community events for a full year. If you feel this sum doesn't represent the value you are going to receive- perhaps this process is not for you.
Secondly, in case it is for you – we have payment plans and would love to talk to you about these options. We strongly suggest that if you have a calling you should first apply.
On another note - I wanted to give you feedback, since you also gave us one and I think things happen for a reason- it might be more important than if you attend or not attend the retreat;
You wrote about being someone that didn't see a paycheck for a year (!). Did you talk about yourself?
In case you did, I wanted to share that not receiving a paycheck for a year is not sustainable and is usually a choice of the founder that is not prioritising his/her needs, that isn't going out there to charge for the value he/she brings to the world and is not focusing on monetization and growth.
If you want to talk and brainstorm about ways you can make a salary from your startup, email me and we'll schedule a call.
I had the same problem too in my first organization and I than said: "never again" and ever since, I never start without a salary. Part of the process of starting for me is making sure I have one, because I know that otherwise my results will not be as good.
I will share regarding the process of pricing this product that it was a journey for us. In the past when I did such retreats, on the 1st year, I charged 500 shekels and lost money. We had women from all over the world (7 different countries) that described the process we gave them as life changing.
So on the 2nd year, which was also partnered with the ROI community, we charged 850 shekels and invested over 4000(!) in each participant from sponsors.
In this retreat we charge 2100 and invest 6000 in each participant (retreat + activities throughout the year) through sponsorship money.
We work hard to become sustainable so we can continue to do this important work and scale our impact. I'm actually now writing to you from Central America since we are expanding to here too.
I wanted to share with you that the process of charging more and valuing what we do after we received amazing reviews from hundreds of women that we served was a process of growth for me that was challenging but it was so important.
It enabled me to hire a team so we can continue working around the clock to serve our mission.
I assume that the fact the price bothers you is something that is reflecting something on the way you manage your business and even if the goal of this whole correspondence was you to write it so I can answer you- it was worth it.
Because every time I'm invited to explain a price – It connects me even more to the importance of this decision. So THANK YOU and write me if you feel like brainstorming about money- it's an issue for me so have a lot of interesting solutions.
This message had very good results; she immediately apologised for her language and we decided to meet in Israel when she's back in order to talk about her business. I feel very honest in my desire to help her in any way, because things like that are exactly the reason why I do this work.
I feel that the fact I was so sure about our price enabled me to be transparent about the process and it showed her we're coming from a place of care- for our product, for our cause, for our community. She realized that us asking for what we need enables us to continue and serve the cause that can help her start earning a salary from her business.
So what about you? Are you asking for what you need in order to really grow and serve your cause?
If you have any tips on how should I go about it - please share them here