Rise of the Innerpreneur

What If You Didn’t Set Prices?

Pay What It's Worth

Have you ever considered why you choose to set prices? For most of us, we set prices because we have been taught, and we believe, that if we do not, our customer will not pay fairly for the item of value we are selling. This feeling, of others not being willing to pay, is based upon the assumption of scarcity that permeates, and is the foundation of, our modern economy and economic theory. >> Read the rest of the article on Local Organics Food Co-ops Network‘s blog.

As my new book catalyzes me to be more public about my business model and pricing method, I’m receiving strong interest and support from individuals working in social responsible and/or sustainable businesses. I’m proud to share the above article with Ontario’s local and organic food co-op network.

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

An Economy of Scarcity?

photocredit: Paul Nicholson

Economic theory is based on the assumption of scarcity – why is that? Aren’t we, collectively, always creating and printing more money? It’s not a limited resource, so why do we use it like it is?

We can’t run out of it. It’s not clean water. Or pandas. We make it, and we can always make more of it. So why should we believe and act like it’s going to run out?

I make a conscious choice to live in a world of abundance, not scarcity. And that includes money.

In Paying What It’s Worth for the value you receive, you shift the traditional supply curve (based on scarcity) to one based on abundance. In not setting prices, you remove the false ceiling that’s been placed on your value, maximizing your return potential, and removing any self-imposed limits to it.

So why not forget that economy of scarcity story? Its plot is full of holes.

photo credit: Paul Nicholson

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

Pay What It’s Worth: The Book

Pay What Its Worth - the book

After five years of experimenting with not setting prices, in Pay What It’s Worth: Building Your Sustainable System for Not Setting Prices, I introduce this pricing innovation and share integral strategies for creating a balanced exchange experience, empowering both your customer and you to fairly value what’s being exchanged.

Diamond

Pay What It’s Worth: Building Your Sustainable System for Not Setting Prices

explore how an open pricing system with

Accountability. Norms. Disclosure.

creates and sustains a relationship of

Mutual benefit. Exchange. Connection.

between customer and creator

shaping an economy of integrity for your business to be valued in and grow from

Learn more and read the book

Diamond

Pay What It’s Worth is self-published by Tara Joyce under Elastic Mind Press. Currently you can purchase a PDF version of the book, and pre-order your print, kindle or EPUB version.

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

Building Blocks on My PWIW Path

BuildingBlocks

I was all set to release my first book on Pay What It’s Worth pricing last week, a book I’ve been writing in one form or another for, I don’t know… six years or so, but life got in the way, as it does.

Life, it seems, had a bunch to teach me, and specifically about PWIW.

Life had me thinking my book was a terrible lie. And then it had me thinking that there was so much missing from it.

See, that’s my problem with Pay What It’s Worth… always has been. There’s just too much to say. And it keeps growing. And I can’t get it down fast enough before it teaches me something new.

A New Truth

I’ve always felt very strongly about the communication around Pay What It’s Worth, in that I feel strongly about the importance of how I communicate what I am asking my customers to do when I allow them to set the price they pay.

It is my feeling that to be happy in the exchange both participants need to feel empowered, and that means holding both buyer and seller responsible for their contributions to the exchange.

Last week, as a seller, it became very clear that the biggest part of my job (beyond creating value) is to guide my customers towards a fair exchange with me — to support them in being responsible with their giving and in their relationship with me.

We all have our money stuff, and in choosing a system where I allow my customers to determine my value, I am entering into a relationship with their money stuff too.

A New Block to Build From

In asking my customers to pay what it’s worth, I’m asking them to experience the value they are receiving and to give fair monetary value in return for it.

And while that sounds simple in words, it’s terribly difficult in practice. And what I haven’t been totally responsible for, I can see now as a seller (and as a writer on the topic), is the truth of this.

It’s fucking hard to stay balanced and in integrity with money. It’s fucking hard to pay what it’s worth.

The truth is, if I’m asking people and all their money stuff to value me fairly, I had better provide ample support and understanding. Because what I am really asking is for them to be in a balanced relationship with me.

Is it fair of me to expect that they know what this looks or feels like? Especially in a “business” relationship?

Support for Giving Freely

Our relationship is not one where the customer gets to pay what they want. In offering that, I’d be creating a relationship where they’re free to put their money stuff on me, and I’m free to put my money stuff on them.

The intention for our exchange is empowerment and wealth creation. It’s not about want, it’s about meeting needs and exchanging fair value.

If I want this intention of need and fair value to stay true throughout my exchanges, I need to ensure all my guideposts indicate this. In my offering of paying what it’s worth, I need to ensure that I’m not creating space for my customers to default to paying what they want.

It’s important I protect myself from how easy it is, when our money stuff arrives, to make it about want.

As a seller it’s imperative I continue to do what I can to guide my customers towards being responsible in how they value me. This, it seems, is my biggest responsibility in our exchange outside of providing great value.

If I sincerely want our exchange to be about what we both can give, I need to acknowledge how hard that can be to act on. Only in my acceptance of this can I help my customers to be responsible to it.

photo credit: Kaytee Riek

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

An Experiment in Selling Products Online using Pay What It’s Worth Pricing

After Christmas Sale

I’m curious about selling products online using PWIW and how it can work best. So, about six months ago I turned some communication tools I’d created over the years into products and began selling them in my store using PWIW.

Using PWIW for an Online Store

For my experiment, I wanted to figure out a strong way of selling a product online using PWIW. My first task (I felt) was to find software to help me with the buying and selling of my products. I needed a shopping cart tool to enable the sales transaction and to provide the product to buyers after sale. After doing research I decided upon using e-junkie. I have been happy with this decision.

The second decision I needed to make was how I was going to employ the e-junkie shopping cart with PWIW pricing. As with most online shopping carts, while it allows the customer to set the price of the item (often called a donation), it also requires the seller to set a suggested price.

Suggested Prices Signify Something

One of those things they can signify is what I think the thing I’m selling is worth. And for this experiment, that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted you alone to decide what the product is worth to you.

But this was not, and is not, an option currently with online shopping carts — to set NO suggested price — so I needed to set the suggested price at something. The value I decided to use (for every product’s suggested price) was what I felt was a ridiculously low value ($0.07). My hope was this suggested price signified, please think about what you value this at because this price is clearly not a fair one.

It was my hypothesis that $0.07 was such an insignificant value to give/pay that it would be altered by each buyer. Most of us would not feel good giving $0.07 to a person in need, nor as a tip for service. And what can we puchase for that amount, outside of loose candy?

Despite this truth about the value of $0.07, my experiment yielded a handful of people that gave this amount to a faceless shopping cart in return for a communication tool created by me in support of them.

(It should be noted that no profit is made from online sales roughly less than $0.50 due to PayPal’s costs to process the transaction.)

A Curious Result

This is not to say there hasn’t been customers that have given fairly, despite the $0.07 suggested price. The fair are the majority in my PWIW experiment. But I found it curious, this minority that used the $0.07 suggested price as their price. They, I feel, are something to consider further.

I theorized there was something in my communication, namely the suggested price, that was contributing to this outcome. I wondered if by setting the suggested price very low, I was unconsciously sending a message about how I valued my work. What does it say about me and how I value my products when I set the suggested price low?

My Question

If these people exist, those that do not consciously consider how they value a product, and you want to sell something online using PWIW, how can you improve the exchange so that they behave more fairly?

My Theory

I’m theorizing that when the suggested price is set extremely low and there is no human connection, the communication it sends allows others to more easily react from a scarcity mindset and not value the product fairly, nor pay fairly.

Trying Something Different

Rather than setting the suggested price ridiculously low ($0.07) for each of the products in my store, I’ve set it ridiculously high ($777).

I am still hoping the suggested price will signify, please think about what you value this at because this price is clearly not a fair one. I am interested in how this higher suggested price affects the behaviour of those customers who are buying unconsciously.

In six months time, I’ll let you know what my experiment yields.

photo credit: kevin dooley

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.