Saturday, March 1, 2014

Putting a Price on Healing

During Mercury Retrograde (finally over as of yesterday, thank you), we are called to think about things. Reflect on our life, our business, our relationships, all while communications and plans are disrupted so we can do that. Ha. 

And now it's a New Moon. That's the time when we should set our new plans, goals, and dreams in motion.

Seems that I've been given the opportunity to do both - big time - and now I'm here to report on it. It was a lesson that was put right in my face. (Thanks again, Universe.) Here's the way things went down:

A couple weeks ago, I received a newsletter from a copywriter who I've followed for a while. In it, she detailed some serious emotional blockages related to her unfortunate childhood. I felt moved to write her back, encourage her to stop being limited by her past, and go for her dreams. I also mentioned that some Reiki healing can greatly help with releasing those painful past experiences, and allowing yourself to move forward. 

She responded that she was curious about Reiki, and could we talk on the phone. I answered that of course I'd be happy to speak with her. We set a time. We spoke yesterday. 

It was not what I had expected. 

She asked me some questions about Reiki, and I explained. She seemed enthusiastic. That is, until she asked me how much a distance Reiki session costs. I told her $50 or 5 sessions for $200. There was a pause.

"That's ALL?" 
I answered yes.
"Why on earth do you charge so LITTLE?" She asked in an astounded tone. 

I explained my rationale. An in person Reiki session is about the same cost as a massage. A distance session doesn't require me to travel anywhere or prepare a massage table with a sheet. So it's less. 

Then she told me that she simply can't understand how something that could help change someone's life, help the person heal from years of baggage and turmoil, could be priced so low. She went on to say that it must mean that I don't value my own services. She also told me that she had gladly paid $4,400 to attend a program designed to teach you how to think.

She also said that she was no longer interested in my services. She advised me strongly to raise my prices by about five times what they are. She said that charging as little as I do means that I'm telling the world that I am not offering something anywhere in balance with its value to those who receive it. 

I told her I would be happy to accept more money, and assured her that affordable doesn't mean not powerful. It was apparent, though, that this wasn't really the right connection for either of us. I thanked her for her advice, told her that I hope she finds what she needs, and we got off the phone. 

About an hour later, she blogged about our conversation

I spent a good, long time thinking about this. I asked myself:

  • Am I undercharging?
  • Am I undervaluing my work?
  • Am I holding myself back? 
  • Does my work have a perceived low value?
I really pondered this. I searched inside myself. I tested my feelings about charging more. I tested my feelings about her reaction. 

I came to a conclusion that some people think that if they pay a lot of money for a solution that says it will resolve their issues, that it will take the problem away for them. It must be the best if it costs so much more than the others. But that says a lot more about the people who think that way than it does about the people who charge the highest fees. A friend (and one of my clients and professional associates) from Facebook who I asked for some feedback added, " I will also say that paying a huge price tag and getting little results is often more palatable to the ego than being presented with an actual solution for a very low price.  It's a way that the ego appeases us by pretending we are doing "big" things to solve our pain or problem."

I think that I agree with that. And, also, I think that it's another reason that she was not a good potential client for me. 

In answer to my question to myself about my pricing, I feel that my fee for distance healing is affordable, but that doesn't mean it's not powerful. I know from experience that the distance healing sessions I offer are received in powerful ways, with life-changing results, by those who accept them. But I like that they are affordably priced. I feel comfortable with the price point where it is. 

I guess that I know what it feels like to struggle to afford something I feel I need, and I also know how it feels to be grateful to afford something I feel I need. I think it could be harder to fully receive a healing session if you're thinking in the back of your head how hard it was to pay for it. So that's another thing. 

I can't measure the value of a Reiki session. Priceless. That's about it. So I have to set a fee that feels comfortable for me to offer. 

My Practical Reiki classes are also affordably priced. I used to charge less, and I realized (after my friends and students alerted me) that the fee was too little, because it did have a lower perceived value. ("Dollar Store Reiki" is not what I offer!) So at the time, I raised it to a number that felt more in balance with how I felt and how I want it to be perceived. Let me say that I am completely confident about my Practical Reiki training's value. It's outstanding. It's priceless. I could easily charge double for it and deserve it. Although if I did, some people would struggle to save to receive this training. But, I could justify the price because it is seriously excellent and allows one to immediately become a practitioner, if desired.

But, the other side is that it's really easy for me to teach, doesn't take a lot of time to learn, and I want it to spread far and wide. I want there to be a million people using Practical Reiki in five years' time, because I trained them or someone I trained (or their students trained) did. Practical Reiki is a straightforward, unplugged method of energy healing that anyone can learn, regardless of previous experience.

Then, I asked myself about the value of my time spent teaching. That was a good question, and I felt a slight disconnect was there, so I have slightly raised the fee for live classes (compared to recorded), and offered an add-on for a private hour on Skype with me for Q&A to those who take the recorded version. I also include the books with the live training. That adjustment feels in alignment with my values, and feels like a quality offer.  

It's true that some people undervalue themselves, and undercharge for their services. The opposite is also true. And, it's true that some people take advantage of the fact that there are people out there who actually go looking for the most expensive option, and charge accordingly for their services. I can't be in integrity with myself if I try to be one of the people who raises my fees to target those who want to pay top dollar. So that's good for me to know also. 

I am grateful for the lesson from this past Mercury Retrograde, and ready for the New Moon to take my goals, plans and dreams and energize them into being. 

Comments and feedback are very welcome.