The Art of Emotional Pricing

I’m considered one of the more practical coaches for creative professionals. However, there is a place for what is sometimes referred to as “emotional pricing” as one component of the pricing process.

In his new book, Motivation for Creative People, Mark McGuiness, a poet and a coach for creative professionals, proposes that you already know how much you should be charging, you’re just afraid to charge it or you know your clients won’t pay it (which means you may need better clients).Motivation by Mark McGuinness

Emotional pricing isn’t for everyone and it especially isn’t for beginners. According to Mark, “It requires a certain level of creative accomplishment, as well as knowledge of your market.” Here’s an excerpt on this topic from his book:

Emotional pricing works best for creatives who are selling “originals” – artworks or creative services. Start by checking whether emotional pricing is appropriate for your situation.

  • Are you confident that you are creating high-quality work?
  • Are you getting feedback – from customers, peers, and/or mentors – that your work is of a high standard?
  • Do you have a basic knowledge of what constitutes low, average, and high fees in your market? (Emotional pricing isn’t “charge what you like” – to calibrate your scale, you need some connection with actual prices being paid for comparable work.)
  • Are you earning significantly less than you want to for the hours and effort you put in?
  • Do you ever find it hard to motivate yourself to work because you feel you are not being adequately rewarded for it?
  • Do you find yourself envying competitors who earn more than you, when you believe your work is at least as good as theirs?

If you answer “yes” to at least half these questions, read on to learn how to use emotional pricing for your creative work.