I just knew Michael e. Stern would have some interesting and innovative pricing strategies to share.
That’s why I invited him for a second podcast/interview. I wanted to find out what he’s learned in 36 years as an artist succeeding as a photographer, now time-lapse filmmaker for construction projects.
The most striking thing is the self-respect conveyed by the sound of his voice. It’s not something I hear too often these days.
He also shared what he calls his 3 pricing “drivers” — instinct, emotion and numbers. (More about those here.)
One aspect of the “emotion” driver is something he calls “the J.B. factor” that goes into all of his pricing. Listen to his description:
The J.B. factor means “just because.” It’s very ego-driven. When somebody calls me to do the work, they think I’m special, and I’m going to repay that love by pricing my work as if I was that special, because I am. That means that my prices are a little bit higher than the competition and I don’t apologize for it. I know that I’m a low volume, high margin-shop. I don’t take on a lot of work at low prices where I have to do 10 or 15 jobs a month to make money. I can do one or two jobs a quarter, and make enough money.
I give every job every little detail and I sweat bullets over it. I give it a lot of thought, and I work very, very hard on all of my projects. I also try to have healthy and productive relationships – collaborative relationships with my clients.
It takes self respect to say some of the things he says in our conversation (which are very inspiring and almost contagious).
It takes self-respect to develop your own pricing strategy instead of borrowing from others.
It takes self-respect to put yourself in the position to gracefully decline clients who don’t value your time or skills. These aren’t the abusive one, or even disrespectful; but they aren’t respectful either. You know the difference. You can hear it their voice or the tone of their email messages.
I highly recommend you listen to this entire (20 minute) conversation. I find it very motivating, every time I listen — and I was there!