Yep. I said it. My time means more to me than it does to you. Or you.
I began my own business back in June. Kind of. Well, I’m trying. But apparently people around here don’t dig the price on specialty, custom, made-to-order cakes. The kind that take one person anywhere from eight to 20+ hours to complete. Cumulatively, not consecutively. Except for the all-nighters. The rest of the time I’m trying to balance four kids and a household all while maintaining some semblance of sanity. Some. Oh, and did I mention I also have a ‘real’ job, part-time outside the home and that I’m moonlighting as a designer?
You see, it’s all fine and good in the corporate world to deem yourself important and valuable enough to ask for upwards of $20, $30, $50 or $100 dollars an hour. I used to be one of those people. But the minute the domestic diva decides she wants to pursue an at-home business, all bets are off. Suddenly your time is worth, at best, about $1.50 an hour. And even then, you NEED the business and the referrals so you suck it up, smile and take what you can get. Ironically, I work harder now than I ever have before. Never have I juggled so many proverbial balls. I love what I’m doing in all aspects of my life. But it’s exhausting.
So, no. I don’t want to ‘take what I can get’. I want to ‘get what I’m worth’. But who decides that? Well, in my case, I did quite a bit of research, both online and by talking with local businesses and businesspeople. And guess what? People, though quick and eager to give you advice and tell you you’re “totally worth that” STILL DON’T WANT TO PAY!
So now I’m faced with undercutting myself. I spent hours setting up a pricing model for cakes of all sizes, flavors, icing and decorative combinations so that my quotes were based on factual numbers, only to be met with hemming and hawing. Or awkward email silence. Hey, I won’t take offence if I’m not in your price range but just let me know, y’know? Plus, being that I’m the boss, I have certain flexibilities that other places don’t, so I’m willing to make certain concessions in the name of getting the business. But do I want to set a precedent by continually lowering my prices?
I’m faced with this dilemma today. Still unsure of what to do.