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.


Chris Ramsbottom said...

I'm with you! Only I don't charge for my distance healing. I ask people that, if they feel they have benefited from it, they send me whatever they feel they should send me and they always send me £20 - which is what I charge for a home visit in person, but I never mention it in connection with distance healing. So I think I'm doing it right.

Alice Langholt said...

Thank you for your comment, Chris. I'm glad things are working for you in this area. I used to ask for donations for distance healing, and it made people uncomfortable because they didn't know how much to send, and worried about either being strapped, or offending me. (Neither of which would've happened, but people are funny that way.) But it's good that you feel in alignment with what works for you, because that is the very most important thing of all. Love to you.

Beth Grant said...

As a long time client of your distance healing, I can say that what you do works GREAT. And when I learned how little time it takes you to do the healing, I understood the budget-friendly price. So many services are by the hour and that's how we buyers think of the price.

Anhun ap Siarlys said...

As one of your students who is very pleased with what he learned and has put into practice, I agree that what you do has value and is powerful. I think some people value everything by the price, and that's a mistake. I can get more health value from a fresh tomato sandwich on whole wheat toast than I can from a filet mignon, but we know which one is more expensive!

I experienced this many times in my work as a consultant, technical person, and editor. I'm not sure why, but people often feel that value is commensurate with price. I think some of it goes back to the old and inaccurate statement, "You get what you pay for!" Sadly, often you don't. In the past I have often paid high fees for various services that left me unsatisfied. (Heck, I even use shareware and freeware on my computer, and a lot of it works beautifully!)

This person sounds like, as I said to you before, someone who buys expensive shoes because they ARE expensive, not because they look and feel good.

Keep up the good work, Alice. Don't let the naysayers get to you.

Tamu Ngina said...

Wonderful blog post. Thank you for sharing. Some people put such erroneous value on money but it is only a reflection of their inner turmoil, at least in my opinion. That can go for ose who do not put enough value on money or put way too much value. The fee for a Reiki session can not be compared to a "cheap hotel" , however it can be compared to the pricing of a massage therapy session. In some areas a massage ranges between 55 to 75 dollars. In big ritzy resorts they are 120 dollars.I have had clients complain that those ritzy fancy resort massages are fluff and buff usually and thus not good massages. A great example why pricey is not always quality or better value.

Healing ultimately comes from within and often we block our own healing do to improper mindset, illogical expectations and the need to be in constant judgment.

Alice, once again, thank you.

Alice Langholt said...

Beth - Thank you for your comment. I truly appreciate having you as my client because it continually validates the power of this work, and fulfills my purpose in being able to be of service to others.

Anhun (Tony) - Thank you for your comment. I love the tomato sandwich analogy too! And, thank you for the testimonial and encouragement. I'm grateful to be your teacher.

Tamu - Thank you too, love. You're so right about the ritzy resort massages - they are the perfect example of what this person was looking for in a Reiki practitioner. I'm sure she'll find it, but it won't be me. I very much agree that healing comes from within and so much can block it, including attitudes about money.

Keep doing your beautiful work. I'm blessed to know you.

Amber said...

AS one of your students, I feel you've always tried to be as fair as possible with your pricing. For one, you take into account what the student/healing recipient's situation is and you don't try to sell yourself short.
I also think you do a very good job of occasionally stopping to re-evaluate things as they are and see if adjustments are necessary now and then on things like this. Situations change, and formulas need to be reworked or tweaked every now and then to go with the change of times. I'm glad this mercury retrograde was an eye opener for you on these :)

Beth Cornell said...

Pricing has been a hard thing for me too.

I like what you're doing. I'm doing similar work with my business, Arizona Energy Wellness.

I find myself drawn to creating a non-profit entity although I do not have the time to organize it at the moment. I consider money an enchange of energy, just like everything we do, it should be in balance. Imbalance shows itself in may ways... subtle and in your face. It's up to the individual practitioner to decide where that balance is, and it does change...

My rates are similar to yours (although I started out with much higher rates). I find that my clients value what they receive no matter what my prices - high or low. I want to reach many people and I couldn't do that with the higher price. My business model is evolving - my goal is to reach more people in a sustainable way (not to be rich or famous)). I am glad to be one of Reiki Awakening's affiliates and hope to one day teach a class or two from your online venue as well.

Thanks for the work you do everyday. It's inspiring :-)

Peace ~ Beth

Ashwita said...

I agree completely. I usually price my classes at what people earn in a day, on average. I've always taught in my classes that the price for a healing session must pinch, but not hurt. Those who can afford expensive things often forget that healers are more interested in touching as many lives as possible - which means making healing accessible to those who cannot afford a stiff fee. I enjoyed your insights regarding the role of the ego however - I hadn't thought of that before. Nice article!

Alice Langholt said...

Thank you so much for your comment. Knowing you and valuing you as I do, it means a lot to hear about the way I am perceived through your eyes. It isn't authentic work if it's not also carrying a measure of thoughtfulness, self-reflection, and of course, sense of humor. :D

Thank you for sharing what you do. I'm happy for your holistic practice, and honored by your being a Referral Partner for my school as well. May your business thrive as you grow.

Thank you so much for your comment. Pinch but not hurt is an interesting phrase that merits some reflection. I see where you're coming from - the pinch is in order to induce the commitment from the client through the sense of it not having been too easy to toss in the money for the session. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this thought. I'm also glad that I could share something worth pondering with you!
To abundance on all levels!

as good as it gets said...

Very interestung article and thank you for being very honest. I think that was Reiki's way of saying you could increase your fee. As an energy transaction, there must be an equivalent if not symbolic transaction that is physical in nature.

ixoye said...

What about a 'Fixed price' with a sliding scale fee to accommodate those in need.
Or ask the wealthier clients if the would like to have a percentage of their fee go towards helping others. Like 10 or 20 percent?

Meredith Laskow said...

The woman who rejected your services because she thought your prices were too low -- wow, her negative energy just screeches out from that simple description. Shallow values cut across more than just money. Her attitude is that external status symbols are more important than internal growth. Reiki is just another toy that she can throw in front of her friends to say, "Look how enlightened I am!" Whatever your price, you couldn't heal her because she's not ready to take that step.


I'm a jeweler and have marked non-negotiable prices on all finished products. On the rare occasion when someone says my prices are too low, I smile and say, "I try to be affordable, but I graciously accept tips if you think it's worth more." I usually get a nice tip :-)


re ixoye: the problem with a sliding scale is that those in need may not ask for it. I, for one, would never ask for a discount on creative or healing work. It seems SO disrespectful. My attitude is -- if I can't afford it, maybe it's not meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity I clicked on the link provided for the other woman's blog entry. Oh my my, she has a lot to learn is all I have to say. Be thankful for this experience, as it provided growth and a new awareness for you. Looking forward to taking your Reiki Awareness course. <3