Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pricing for Our Skillset - the piece of the pricing puzzle that doesn't get talked about enough Part 1

When I was a bank manager

(yes, I was a bank manager, please don't judge me)

there were salary ranges for different positions within the bank.

So, if a bank teller's hourly salary range was $10-$15 an hour, a total newbie would get $10 and a teller with say 5 years experience would get $15 and a teller with 20 years experience would get .. well, $15.

There was a certain dollar value attached to specific work and at some point more experience just didn't translate to better, more valuable work - to make more money the teller would have to develop new skillsets and transition into a different position; one with a higher (perceived) value.

As makers things are different, but the final say in our perceived value is determined by our customers (some would say "the market" but I do not believe so much in large homogenized things like "market" right now, so we will just say customers).

And the skillset we bring to the table greatly factors in too, until it doesn't anymore.

Let's say you are a person making necklaces who buys a charm and a chain and strings them together and if you are working with certain materials - either one of a kind findings or precious metals or stones or if you package or market your necklace in some very clever way you can charge more than someone who goes to Michael's and buys a charm and a chain and puts them together, but ....

this is because you have expended more energy (in the form of time or money) into your makings to increase their perceived value

you have taken the time to either search out those one of a kind findings, or make that special packaging or do that branding and marketing establishing yourself as an expert or you have put additional money into the metals and stones you are working with

this is not because you have a greater skillset and often when you factor in the additional energy expended - you are not really making more than our Michael's shopper because for makers in a crowded marketplace - skillset matters.

Many online shops were likely started with a 'what the hell' - let's throw it up there and see if anyone buys it

(and I know this pisses off a lot of skillset focused makers and the only reason it doesn't piss me off is because it is pretty much exactly what I did with my shop Uncorked in the beginning)

and I don't think this is something to be totally discounted as a jumping off point

sometimes the best way to start something new is by making the earliest conditions for success very, very easy - of course if this "easy" isn't followed by "more challenging and skill growing" we are in for a whole heck of a lot of well ... nuthin much.

There are also makers that start a business with a skill set that has been developed over time (which is how I started Polarity) and sometimes many, many years of time and this has to be factored in - until it can't be anymore because this increased skillset cannot be recognized by the customer as increasing the item's perceived value (and then lots of things other than skillset come into play).

There has been so much great info out lately about pricing for makers and hopefully talking about skillset (and raising of standards and challenging ourselves) will contribute to a fuller conversation.

As makers wanting to be paid what we are worth - which for many people means enough to quit our day job or pay our bills without actually factoring in whether we are doing the kind of work and have the kind of skillset to justify that yet -

well, if we want to earn what we are worth and if we are working from our hearts we are worth a hell of a lot - well to pay us for that we need to be thinking about just what we are doing to produce well, magnificence

yes, magnificence let's go there - even when there requires us to stand on our toes and stretch out our arms and fingers all the way - and to be attuned that when our skillset reaches a certain point (maybe someone who has been knitting for 2 years has the same skillset as someone who has been knitting for 10 - or maybe she doesn't) we probably need to be adding value in other ways.

So, anyhoo - will continue this series next week and if you want to know what the hell I am getting at here (which is multiple things actually because life is messy) you will have to stop back (please don't hate me, but I miss you when you're not here).

NOTE - the new moon on Tuesday in Gemini was exactly conjunct Polaris the pole star - Polaris is on the tail of the great she-bear constellation, Ursa Major.

It's known as having great spiritual power, since all the stars appear to revolve around it. Many legends associated with the star Polaris and the she-bear Ursa Minor are about women and spirituality and I have been obsessing about Polaris for a long time (I even named my locket for her)

and since all signs above are pointing to a new empowerment of the feminine down here it is worth reading about. There is a little essay here that supports all my feelings about this new moon.

* may the odds be ever in your favor print by cloud and clover

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