- “Well yeah Brian, project pricing works for some people, but not me.”
- “What if I spend too much time and I lose money?”
- “What if my client wants all this extra random stuff done after we start the project?”
- “I do WAY too many things to bundle them into one project price!”
- How to make your marriage last (hint: pick the right person)
- Why package pricing is advantageous if you set it up properly
- Avoiding the pitfalls of package pricing
- What “package hacking” does for your business
- How to set your pricing for packages
- Using “up to” language in your pricing
- What's the most important to you?
- Why package pricing should not be based on your time
- Raising your prices on existing clients
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[00:00:00] Brian: hello and welcome to the six Figure Creative podcast.
[00:00:02] Brian: I'm your host, Brian Hood. If this is your first time joining me on this show, first of all, thank you and you are in the right place right now. If you're a creative and you're trying to earn more from your creative skills without selling your soul, that sounds like you. You're in the right. Today's episode, I've got a, treat for you.
[00:00:14] Brian: I brought on a podcaster that I listened to for the last year or so, Brandy Mouses. She runs the serve scale SOAR podcast and we brought her on the show to talk about making the shift from the hourly button seat.
[00:00:26] Brian: dollars for hours freelance position, like if that's you and you wanna shift to package pricing, which is a much stronger position to be in for a lot of reasons. If you want to make that transition, this episode is for you and we talk about that today, and I'll get more into that in a second.
[00:00:37] Brian: Before I get into the, topic today, I wanted to give a, quick life update Last night. My wife and I, we got to celebrate. Our fourth year in marriage. shout out to my wife Megan. Love you so much. It was wonderful. We gotta eat paella at one of our favorite restaurants here, which is like a tapas place.
[00:00:50] Brian: One of our favorite places is Spain. We've been to Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona is probably our favorite city over there. And paella is probably one of our all time favorite dishes [00:01:00] if you make it right. Unfortunately, the place last night didn't really make it right, but it was still good. good paella takes a long time to make.
[00:01:05] Brian: And for any of my paella lovers out there, you know what I'm talking about. If you've never had paella. You probably won't have any good paella here in America because it's so hard to make. But if you're ever in Valencia, let me know and I'll tell you where to go for that. . Anyways, Four years of marriage with her.
[00:01:19] Brian: I've been with her for eight years now. Altogether, we've been together since 2015. So, I'm really enjoying the marriage thing. I highly recommend it. If you find the right person. That's the big thing. Find the right person. So anyways, that's the, the personal update. Other than that, it's like early March. Right now I'm in just like heads down work mode. first quarter of the year for me is always like busy because it's hit the ground running, got a lot of projects I wanna do. I just hired a business coach for a lot of money to help me with something that I'm struggling with.
[00:01:42] Brian: the team building side of things. I've just never been comfortable with hiring. I've never hired full-time people before finally making that transition. And I'll update our audience on that as that happens. But that's new for me. I've always been like lone wolf.
[00:01:53] Brian: Fly by the seat of my pants. I have a couple contractors here and there, which I love working with, but I've never done a full-time hire before and I'm projected to make two [00:02:00] or three full-time hires and some more part-time hires this year. I'll talk more about that it happens, but that's why I'm like super busy head down right now.
[00:02:05] Brian: It's just one of those busy seasons in my life. But anyways, you're here not for that or me, you're here for the topic that you saw on the episode today, which is shifting from hourly to package pricing and whatever variation of the title that I decided to go with. I've been wanting to do a full episode on this for a while and I, figured I'd just do it solo, but then I saw, uh, Brandy Malice is again, she's on the Serve Skills, so podcast, awesome podcast And she had an episode somewhat recently where she talked about hourly versus package pricing and the episode, she was very much on the package pricing site, so I thought I'd have her on the show and we'd talk through how to actually make that transition, not just one versus the other, although that's a good conversation to have.
[00:02:39] Brian: It kind of shifted more to why you should pick packaging how to determine what goes into your packages, how to determine your pricing for your packages, what common mistakes to avoid when trying to package your services. How do you actually communicate this with.
[00:02:51] Brian: Past clients. With new clients, there's so many cool things that I think she brought up es especially the test period for those long-term projects so that you're not stuck in this long, [00:03:00] horrible project. How to put guardrails in place we all know this clients where it takes so long to do something and we gave a flat price on something and it's an absolute nightmare.
[00:03:06] Brian: How do we avoid that?
[00:03:07] Brian: And because Brandy has a background in-law, she has a a good grasp on what to put in your contracts to make sure these things are all done in a way that's going to keep both parties happy. she's similar to me.
[00:03:17] Brian: She built a six figure kind of freelance service based business and then she shifted into the podcasting world And she also has courses and coaching programs similar to what I do or I have done in the past. I don't really do courses right now, but she's had thousands customers come through and she's seen a lot of different situations that come up when people try to make this shift from hourly to package pricing.
[00:03:35] Brian: So I thought she'd be the perfect person to come on here to talk about this today. So without further delay, here is my conversation with Brandy Malice. Randy, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
[00:03:43] Brandi: I'm so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having.
[00:03:46] Brian: I don't get to interview people that I've been listening to their podcast for like the last year or so, but I actually found you. January of last year, I think maybe it was the end of 2021 when I was actually researching the move over to click up. We were looking to find a new project management system and I was [00:04:00] looking in Spotify cuz Spotify's a way better search for specific topical podcast episodes.
[00:04:04] Brian: If anyone doesn't know that. Apple Podcast sucks for searching for specific episodes, but I found you on Spotify searching for like, click up and love the episode you had. I switched over to click up in 2022, beginning of that and have not looked back. I love it. so thank you for that episode and I've been listening to you ever since.
[00:04:18] Brian: So I'm glad to have you on the show. But for those who don't know who you are, don't follow you or haven't listened to your podcast for the last year. Kinda give people an idea of like what you do, who you do it for. Just a little backstory or a short background.
[00:04:27] Brandi: Yeah, so first and foremost, I'm a wife and a mom. I do have a podcast Surf Scale Sore, where I help freelancers really scale their business with simplicity so they can create a life of possibility and choices. And success looks different to everyone, so we always lead with 10 K months, but it's really about creating a life of choices.
[00:04:46] Brandi: And I truly believe that we get a life of choices through revenue and profit. And so our businesses are set up to help us create the life that we really wanna have. that's who I help, is those freelancers who are ready to just [00:05:00] start, grow, and scale their business without having all the complicated.
[00:05:05] Brandi: Things that, gurus tell us that we need to have, and massive agencies and low profit margins. I'm about keeping it simple so your life can be full.
[00:05:14] Brian: you and I kinda had similar trajectories where you started as a freelancer, you grew to six figures. You did that for a while, and then you jumped to the podcasting and consulting and coaching or courses side of things, which is always a really good, what I call like a graduation for freelancing.
[00:05:27] Brian: You kinda have to earn that to get to that point. the reason, I like having people like you and especially you, Brandy. On the show is because you have a unique perspective of looking inside of the businesses of hundreds or maybe thousands of freelancers, so you see a lot of.
[00:05:40] Brian: Things going on and what works and what doesn't work. And when you have somebody who is just a successful freelancer and they've just done it their way just one time, that one way might have worked for them, but it won't work for everyone else. So people like you, you get a really good perspective on what works at scale with a lot of people.
[00:05:53] Brian: And I think that simplicity is one of your core values as a teacher, as a freelancer and just service provider yourself. And I love that [00:06:00] about your approach to everything. So the topic I had Chosen today with you that I, think, is a real fun topic that I heard you talk about on your show and I wanted to bring to our audience, cause I don't think we've really talked about this in depth, is for freelancers who struggle with package pricing versus hourly pricing, this is a huge debate, a huge topic of, it's not like some big.
[00:06:17] Brian: Argument between people, but it's something that people really struggle with making that decision whether they should be a package service provider or a hourly. And I think that a lot of my audience is still on the hourly train and I am the kind of person that pushes them more towards the packets pricing.
[00:06:30] Brian: And I know you are split as well. You're not a big blanket statement person, but I wanted to bring you on to to talk about that because I think you have a lot of good insights on what works and what doesn't work from your own experience as a freelancer and also, All the people that you've coached over the last years, several years since you've been doing that.
[00:06:43] Brian: before we get anything else, can you just quickly explain the difference between hourly pricing and package pricing? I know this is a basic question, I just like to have a good foundation for everyone so we're all on the same page, no matter what level we're at as a listener right now.
[00:06:54] Brandi: Yeah, and I think this is a great place to start because like when they hear packages, a lot of people. [00:07:00] Aren't actually on packages, they're on hourly and just charging in a package format. when I'm talking about hourly, I call 'em the hourly hustlers because you are literally trading time for money.
[00:07:11] Brandi: And that means you do X amount of tasks at $15 30, $60 an hour, and then your client pays you for that. how much you make is solely determined on how much time it takes you to do something where packages is like, this is what I'm gonna provide you and you're gonna pay me a set fee. one thing, I think some people get confused is when they bundle like a 20 hour package.
[00:07:36] Brandi: they're charging like $30 an hour and they're like, you get 20 hours for $30 an hour. That's not a package. You're still on hourly. You've just put it into a way where they can, like Costco, buy you. And so it's very different where packages tend to be more like, here's what I'm providing. It doesn't matter how long it takes me or how short it takes me, you're gonna pay me the set fee versus I'm trading [00:08:00] my time for your dollars.
[00:08:02] Brian: I love the, Costco analogy. It makes it feel like I talk about commoditized services on this show all the time. So our, current listeners are like, Brian, don't bring this up again. commoditized services are just like, I could literally go to Costco right now and buy one.
[00:08:12] Brian: Of your services on the shelf and there's a million to choose from. And I'm just gonna pick either the cheapest one or the one that, with the coolest design package on the front, So I like that perspective but what are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these?
[00:08:22] Brian: Cuz I know it's not a blanket statement, one size fits all. I tend to lean towards the package pricing, And maybe we'll bring this up at some point, but believe more about selling the transformation than the services. but I know there's pros and cons on both sides. So can you quickly just talk about some of the pros and cons of package versus hourly?
[00:08:36] Brandi: There's not very many things that I'm black and white about. I always think there's a gray area package pricing and hourly pricing is something that I believe is like very black and white. There's not a lot of gray room in there. The only time I think like hourly can sometimes be a good idea.
[00:08:53] Brandi: Is if you're adding on an addition to your package, and even then, I always feel like there's a better [00:09:00] way to probably structure that. But an example is if someone hires you for, X amount of time for a package, but then they're like, oh, but can we jump on like a two hour call? And you walk me through how.
[00:09:13] Brandi: This is done so I can share it with my team. Then maybe you charge an hourly for your call. But I don't see a lot of pros when it comes to hourly because what happens is that even if you're getting started, it is so hard It's not impossible, and I share tons of tips on how to do it. But it's much easier to start someone on a package, then take them and say, I'm gonna start you on an hourly and then move you to package.
[00:09:38] Brandi: So even for our brand new freelancers, I'm like, Ooh, don't even start with hourly because you're just gonna get in this mindset that everything has to run through hourly. So there's very rarely a time where I think that hourly is a good place to start, even if you're starting brand new. I'd rather you learn the lesson that, oh crap, I didn't charge enough than.
[00:09:59] Brandi: [00:10:00] Oh, now I have to get out of this mindset of hourly and move into this package.
[00:10:04] Brian: one of the biggest hesitations. My audience specifically struggles with moving over to package pricing is the area of scope creep when you're doing hourly. If the project gets outta hand, you're getting paid the entire time. And I know this from my background as a music producer when a band would come in very very prepared, it'd be very quick and it would go very smoothly.
[00:10:21] Brian: And if I charge that band the same as a band that came in unprepared, and the vocalists didn't have his lyrics written, and they weren't prepared, and they weren't well practiced, and they didn't know their instruments well, that would take three times as. back in those days before I knew how to counter that.
[00:10:32] Brian: And I know a lot of things I, how to counter that now, but that I didn't know back then. that sort of stuff. When I, if I charge flat fees for those, or packets, pricings for those kinds of projects, I would be losing a lot of money on those, unprepared artists or unprepared bands. So how do you counter that sort of thing when you have one client that might take more time than.
[00:10:48] Brandi: Yeah, this is where you put your big girl or big boy pants on and you. At boundaries. And I think one of the hardest things for us to do is set boundaries. Because we feel like if we set boundaries, then people won't [00:11:00] hire us. When in reality, people actually work way better with boundaries than free range.
[00:11:04] Brandi: And so an example of this is if you have these clients who are coming in not prepared, you will learn very quickly when you're on packaging, Ooh, this is not how we work on hourly. You accept that scope creep more. Cuz you're like, oh, I'm making more. But you probably could have fit in two other clients in that timeframe that you just put up with this person who wasn't prepared.
[00:11:27] Brandi: So then you learn in your contracts like, oh, you have to have X, Y, and z done. if we have to reschedule, there's this thing that happens. And so an example is the first time I ever built a sales funnel for someone, I charged $1,500. And I was like, oh my gosh, I can't believe someone's gonna pay me $1,500 to build their sales funnel.
[00:11:46] Brandi: Holy cow. I learned a whole lot during that process of like, how many edits am I gonna allow? And that one in my contract, are they gonna do copy? Am I gonna do copy? What does that approval process look like? How [00:12:00] many Times am I gonna let them change? Am I gonna do AB testing next time?
[00:12:03] Brandi: So one thing I think that you find out really quick when you start with packaging is what you're gonna include in your contract and you're much more willing to make those changes and build that confidence after you've experienced losing out on money. Like I was probably getting paid like $10 an hour after this whole funnel was built, and you're quicker to make those changes.
[00:12:24] Brandi: Then when you have someone. Scope creeps. A lot of us are just like, I got paid for it, the next client won't be that way, and we don't make changes. And so most people are more driven by pain to change than pleasure. the pleasure is you're still getting paid, so you're not gonna make those changes.
[00:12:42] Brandi: The pain is, Ooh, I actually just ended up working for $10 an hour because I didn't have these things. You're putting them in place for the next person and you're able to scale so much faster.
[00:12:52] Brian: you're taking a short term pain starting the right way. Even if you're early on doing package pricing, seeing what that entails, and then learning from your. [00:13:00] Aches and putting those guardrails up later on. And I think I've made this analogy before where it's like when you're really bad at bowling you put those bumpers up on their lane, it keeps you from rolling gutter balls and think about the boundaries in your packages or in your contract as the guardrails that keep you from rolling gutter balls with projects.
[00:13:13] Brian: So I love that. What about the types of clients that are on kind of retainer? Cause that's how my wife works. She has long-term clients, they pay her monthly. what can happen is you get locked into a long-term project You didn't have those guardrails up or you vastly underquoted on or whatever, how do you avoid that sort of thing from happening, especially on those like retainer projects that are long term it's good when it's like a short term one and done.
[00:13:34] Brian: It's a sales funnel. Gosh, this sucks. Or an album or an EP with a band, gosh, this sucks for a, a couple weeks or whatever, but then I can move on and I can learn. But when it's like a six month or a 12 month contract,
[00:13:44] Brandi: Yeah. So I love this question. So what service does your wife provide?
[00:13:47] Brian: she's kinda changed over the years, but she went from social media to just doing copywriting for email marketing, specif.
[00:13:51] Brandi: Okay, so one of the biggest guardrails you can put up, and one that I'm a big fan of, and this is because I went to law school, so I'm always thinking like from a [00:14:00] legal mind and all of that First, whenever I work with a client, and it's a retainer client, it's always a 30 day And what this does is position one, it takes away a lot of the pressure that people have with working with freelancers, cuz a lot of times people have been burdened in the past. They don't wanna spend that much money. So I always put position, our first 30 days together is like our trust phase. We're gonna get to know each other and make sure we're a good fit.
[00:14:24] Brandi: And then I even tell. , after this 30 days, we're gonna move to a three or six month contract. But during that 30 days, I say, this is a chance to make sure like you're a good fit to work with me and I'm a good fit to work with you. So when we get to the end, if you're not happy, then we can just cut ties.
[00:14:39] Brandi: But it also works for me. If I don't think we're a good fit, I can cut ties. Too, and I say that doesn't usually happen, but this is like our dating period. And then after that we'll sign a three or six month contract. In that 30 days, you usually learn a lot about what it's like to work with a client.
[00:14:55] Brandi: You're gonna pick up on like what their weaknesses are as a client, what their red [00:15:00] flags are. so then when you go to sign the contract for three or six months, I never like doing more than six months only because. Life changes, our business changes. We pivot, I just don't like to be locked in more than six months.
[00:15:12] Brandi: But you have those three, six month contracts and then you can set those boundaries up inside those contracts to make sure that there is no scope creep. Also, the nice thing about doing three and six month contract is because once you get to the end of those, before they sign a new one, it's time for you to reevaluate your prices.
[00:15:30] Brandi: Are you gonna keep 'em at the same price or is it time to move them up to a higher price?
[00:15:34] Brian: That's great. I love the test period. I don't think she's done that with her clients. Makes a ton of sense, and especially if you're collecting an onboarding fee on top of that, they're more likely to move forward if they're happy. You still have an out after 30 days, you've been paid for the onboarding and the first month.
[00:15:49] Brian: And if you're happy and you don't have to really make any adjustments, it's a win for everybody. You just continue on. If it sucked. You can make adjustments or you can back out. I love that. That's actually a really good idea and I'm actually gonna take that and run with it for one of my [00:16:00] things. now let's talk about how we determine what goes into packages, What should be kind of an add-on?
[00:16:05] Brian: What should be, is there any hourly that ever makes sense? What do we do to determine what goes into our packages? And then I have some, maybe some follow up questions around that.
[00:16:12] Brandi: Yeah, so inside my membership, I teach package hacking. This is like my signature process for coming up with pricing when you're just getting started. Now, this isn't necessarily for someone who's been doing this for time and time again. We can find other ways to raise your price besides doing this, but this is someone who's either pivoting to a new service or they're just getting started with the service, or they're on hourly and need to move to package.
[00:16:34] Brandi: So package hacking is when we're gonna like start doing some research. We're gonna get on Instagram, we're gonna get on Facebook groups, we're gonna get on Google, and we're gonna type in whatever service that we're providing. So if you're a web designer, can start typing in Instagram, web designer or in Facebook.
[00:16:51] Brandi: Web designer, Google web designer, and you'll start to see people who are ranking on Google. Those are always good ones. You'll be able to go to [00:17:00] Instagram and see people who, have a good amount of followers, that have good engagement. People are leaving reviews. Facebook groups. I love to do this because you can see who recommends them.
[00:17:11] Brandi: Like If someone's like, I'm looking for a web designer. Then you see where people start tagging and you're like, okay, these people have clients that are crushing it and you're gonna go to their websites. sometimes they'll have their pricing, sometimes they won't. But you're gonna start to see what they include in their packages.
[00:17:27] Brandi: Very rarely is someone like absolutely crushing it. Are they on hourly? Sometimes that'll happen. But you're gonna go through and start collecting this data, like what is this person what kind of offers do they have? And you're gonna do this for 10 to 20 people and you're gonna start to like copy and paste what they have into a document.
[00:17:45] Brandi: And then you can go through and be like, Ooh, I really like this. I don't wanna do that. And you can kind of modify and create yours, but you're seeing what other people are including or not including in their packaging and what their prices are. So then with the prices, [00:18:00] If you're just starting out, you're probably not gonna be the highest priced, and you sure as heck never wanna be the lowest.
[00:18:05] Brandi: you do not wanna be the Walmart of your industry. it's where can we meet in this middle where the market's already said, we're paying this price. Start there, and then we can raise your prices after each client testimonial, social proof that you get, but it gives you like a really clear like, okay, this is what the market's already paying, this is what other people are offering, and this is how I want to structure mine.
[00:18:28] Brian: I love that package hacking. I think I've heard you talk about it on your show, but I've never really heard the whole kind of process laid out like that. What do you do if you are in an industry where they don't have pricing publicly on their website? Because I, I know a lot of especially the higher up companies, think if you're like ranking on the top of Google for your city or whatever, a lot of those people are typically your quote based.
[00:18:44] Brian: What do you do in those situations where you can't see the prices publicly?
[00:18:46] Brandi: Yeah, then you just gotta get like gorilla researching, like Instagram's a great place because of the search functionality and most service providers have their profiles pretty well, keyworded. And so if I get on there and type in, [00:19:00] web designer, like it's gonna come up, but I was helping one of our.
[00:19:03] Brandi: Members, he is doing YouTube channel management, which is like this underserved area. Like There's not a lot. So even getting on Instagram was hard. Facebook groups were hard. So we started going onto Google and looking up like channel manager, YouTube video editors, and we kind of had to like piece together a few different things and get pricing.
[00:19:23] Brandi: And so it just took, like taking this, but breaking it down. and making it our own process. You just have to get creative, but you will find prices.
[00:19:32] Brian: Either way, you have a starting point This is not perfect. if a year into your business you're still doing the exact same pricing and packaging that you started with then you've probably messed up somewhere. One other thing that we've talked about on the show before is sometimes if you are undercharging early on because you mis did something, you can think of that as a marketing budget.
[00:19:48] Brian: The difference between what you charged and what you should have charged There's a goodwill element in that as well, that your client knows that they got a really good deal, they're really happy with the quality that you gave them. You're probably not gonna make that mistake again.
[00:19:59] Brian: But that's a [00:20:00] really good marketing budget type of thing because that client's now gonna send more clients to you. Now, they may be a low budget clients, they may not be the best. there is some good side of, undercharging sometimes early on, and it's not all negative stuff, but how many packages should you have?
[00:20:12] Brian: is there an optimum number of, different packages?
[00:20:14] Brandi: I'm a big fan of no more than three and three is only because then they're probably gonna pick the middle one. so there's some like marketing behind that. But actually when I'm like, okay, We can get it down from three, I'm a two person packaging and usually what that two packages one for like retainer type clients and one for a project base.
[00:20:36] Brandi: So that could be like a v i p day, it could be a project that's definitely in, and then one's retainer. And those are like the two packages you have in your business. I work with a a lot. Brand web designers they'll have the branding package, the web package, and then it's like the bundle of the two.
[00:20:52] Brandi: That's fine, it's three, but really you have two packages, but then you get a little bit of discount if you bundle 'em together. But I really like [00:21:00] this two package, one retainer, one project based.
[00:21:03] Brian: for the three, you kind of do a tiered pricing model where you have like, don't wanna say low, medium, and high, but essentially that's what it is. And you're saying they pick the middle package typically kinda like a SaaS company.
[00:21:11] Brandi: Yeah, it's one of those things like that's not ideal, but a lot of people who are just starting out. They really like, have a hard time narrowing down their packages and they wanna customize everything. And so that's what we found as like a good middle for them is have these three tiers.
[00:21:26] Brandi: Most people are gonna pick the second tier, but how quickly can we get rid of one of these tiers? Usually the lowest one. if you're like, I'm doing what Brandy set, then go for the two, the retainer and the project base. That's ideal situation.
[00:21:38] Brian: Yeah, we had an episode on here. back at episode 2 23, shifting your clients from one time projects to monthly recurring subscriptions. Anime Tonkin, she had a great episode on If you are a one and done type of service provider, which is a lot of our audience, especially in the music production space, she's a photographer herself doing family portraits.
[00:21:53] Brian: So I feel like if she can do it, anyone can do it. But if you're trying to figure out how to do the recurring, retainer element, that's probably a good [00:22:00] episode to go back to and listen to. But what about for, Music producers, recording engineers mixing engineers, people like that. In my, background space, which is a lot of our audience, one project might be one song, another project might be a five song ep. Another one might be 10 songs.
[00:22:12] Brian: Someone might need mixing, someone might need mixing and mastering. Someone might need full production. So like when we have all these different variables and the different variables and number of songs to the number of services needed. How do you look at packaging at that point when there's so many different variables at.
[00:22:24] Brandi: Yeah, this is very similar to a conversation I had with podcast managers where you have. Clients who have an hour long episode. And then you have some clients like me that I'm like, I'm getting outta here in less than 30 minutes. And so how do you package those? what we've decided is the average, so we're gonna look at your best client.
[00:22:43] Brandi: Your average client produces four podcast episodes a month. there's some that there's five in a month. Weeks or whatever. But for the most part it's four episodes. And let's say most of your clients are under the hour mark. So your package is for four episodes that are [00:23:00] under an hour. And then you have all these things you include.
[00:23:03] Brandi: well if one month they decide that they're only gonna have two. Podcast episodes. They don't get a discount it is what it is. Or if they decide like, oh, but we have a graphic designer that does our Instagram, great. You're just not using that part of the package, but you don't get a discount.
[00:23:17] Brandi: I always think of it as when we have live Hulu, tv, and so I watched maybe four channels. But like Hulu doesn't give me a discount cause I don't watch all like hundred channels. And it's the same way with our services. just because they're not using every little single thing that we may do doesn't mean we need to discount our services.
[00:23:35] Brandi: And then you can always add on. So what do you do if they go over. An hour and they have two episodes that are like an hour and a half. Then that's where there's, you put in your At this rate, we'll charge X amount for any overage. once you've been working with clients, you usually see a theme that happens.
[00:23:54] Brandi: So maybe you have one package that's X amount of time, X amount. Edits for this price. So maybe it's the [00:24:00] one episode and then you have the average people have five and then 10, so up to 10, up to five, one, and those are your three packages. If they don't use all of 'em, it is what it is.
[00:24:11] Brian: I had this in my notes to bring up was the up to language. Like I love that sort of language in, pricing it's a wonderful way to include, things that they could get that if they don't use it, you're still charging for, because again, going back to kinda something I said earlier where we're, charging for an outcome or a transformation, we're not charging for the services or the hours it takes to get that transformation or that outcome.
[00:24:30] Brian: When you approach it like, And you say it's up to this amount of things, up to X number of songs, up to three rounds, revisions up to one day per song, or one hour per episode. That way, if they go over, you now are saying, okay, there's an add-on, there's an upcharge for this. to the bowling analogy, that's the bumper lane that we put up.
[00:24:46] Brian: And then if they go under that's just extra money in your pocket. So I love that sort of approach when it comes to packaging.
[00:24:50] Brandi: And I don't even look at it as extra money in my pocket because here's how I see it, is all your clients are gonna average out. You're gonna have that one client that like maxes out every [00:25:00] single thing, and then you're gonna have that one client where it's like, this is the easiest client ever. So my podcast editor, I'm under 30 minutes.
[00:25:07] Brandi: if I record, there's no editing. the intro of the outro and then like fix the audio a little and that's it. There's not a lot of editing, but then she has other clients that it's like a ton of editing, so I don't see it as extra money in your pocket.
[00:25:19] Brandi: I just see like it's all going to even out.
[00:25:22] Brian: If you read the, book the Pumpkin Plan by Michael Malowitz, he talks about How to prune your pumpkin patch so that the only clients you have left are those dream clients. Whereas Leland's gonna now hit up Brandy and say, Brandy, can I edit your podcast, please so I can fire Brian and all his heavily edited shows.
[00:25:37] Brian: sorry about that, Leland. Anyways, okay let's, move on to the, pricing factor of this. we've got these things laid out what's included in our packages? How do we start thinking about pricing? Do we just look at competitors and go from there?
[00:25:47] Brian: Or do you have a pricing hack?
[00:25:49] Brandi: Yeah, so I mean, when you're first getting started, you're not gonna. the best price and everything. And so the worst thing you can do is based it on how long it's gonna take you. Like, Don't do that because it's not about the time, it's about the [00:26:00] value that you're bringing. And so one way just to get started is through that package hacking is picking the middle numbers.
[00:26:06] Brandi: So like you'll have really high numbers, you'll have really low numbers. Pick somewhere in the middle. Cuz the market's already saying like, we'll pay this. And then your goal is to become one of the. And you can do that through raising your prices, but then other times it's easier to decide how much something's worth to someone.
[00:26:22] Brandi: you can't do this with all services, only because not every service has a direct roi. But like with ads, and I have a lot of ad manager. It's very easy to see what my worth is to them. so another example is I'm a growth consultant, so fractional C M O for a lot of companies.
[00:26:40] Brandi: And so what that means is, I know if I just increase their revenue by one or 2% per month, I'm more than paid for like a year. And so my pricing of $5,000 a month to have me on standby is like a no-brainer because they're making. 20,000 more per month just [00:27:00] having me on. And so there's that value where like, I'm never gonna question my prices. If anything, I'm gonna say, am I charging enough? Because I can see that direct return on how much they're making. Now that doesn't work with all services, but even for our people who don't have a direct one, like photographers, like if they're doing.
[00:27:18] Brandi: Newborn photography or anything like that you have to think about, but what's your experience? Because as someone who's been looking at newborn photographers, one thing I am looking at is what is the general cost? In the market. That's where I'm saying the package hacking comes in play. But then you get someone who's like the outlier, but their skills like, huh man.
[00:27:39] Brandi: And you want the people who are like, I want that person because they have this certain style. the like balancing act is getting your prices so you can get enough experience to then move into. Wow, look at what they do.
[00:27:52] Brandi: That's what I want. but you have to start somewhere. And like I said, you don't wanna be the bottom the cheapest, cuz that's not gonna track the right clients. But you [00:28:00] can't start at the top unless you can show that like I'm the top dog, the one you wanna go to. And that comes with time, skill, practice, and testimonials.
[00:28:10] Brandi: So you have to get work first.
[00:28:11] Brian: there's a lot to talk about in that, but starting at the top is difficult unless you have, maybe you're coming. Of a corporate background and you had a lot of experience and you can kinda just hit the ground running from the very GetGo. And if you listen back to episode 207, we had Michael Jana on the show the background of working with like a b, ABC and Disney and a lot of like big companies.
[00:28:28] Brian: And so when he came out swinging, he made six figures his first year as a freelancer. So it's a bit different. But I love your approach of value-based pricing and your thoughts around that. And when your service is really closely tied to the bottom line, or your service is really closely tied to where the money flows, which adds the money's flowing right through ads, when you're doing things like a fractional CMO or fractional chief marketing officer, that is really closely tied to the money because the person who's in charge of the marketing for a company, Is in charge of getting more customers, more money, more clients, whatever company does. So it's really closely associated with that. But I also think there's, a [00:29:00] lot of value when you look at things that are priceless.
[00:29:02] Brian: you said you're like two weeks away from having a new baby, which congratulations on that. so now you're looking for new, more photographers. And I love when you can put yourself in the position of hiring freelancers as somebody. Is a service provider or a coach or a freelancer yourself, where you start to look at what does it look like from the other side where you're the one buying and how there's certain things that you do well, you have, disposable income to some extent, , I've read enough on your website to know that cuz you said you like your bank account, like you, like your tacos stuffed or something like that. loaded. Yeah. Yeah. I love that phrasing. So when you're looking at that and you have disposable. Now you're looking at the top of the market. What do they have that these other people don't have, and how do they separate themselves from these people that are just charging the same average fee as everyone else?
[00:29:41] Brian: What do these other people do to differentiate from these other kind of like button seat photographers? And you've probably start to spot those sorts of things. So it's cool to see how that kind of play out and how budgets can attract different people.
[00:29:51] Brandi: And I will say also the higher end clients, and I hate calling 'em higher end clients, but like I did a poll with a bunch of friends and I was like, is [00:30:00] money most important to you? Or time? And we all said time, a certain point, like money stops becoming like the most precious thing to people and it changes to time.
[00:30:08] Brandi: So even these services that are like O B M, so online business managers or assistants or things like that, that's. Save time. Even if we think about a podcast manager. I love my podcast manager because she saves me time. I don't have to do anything. I record and that's it. She takes care of everything else.
[00:30:25] Brandi: So even though like we could technically track how much revenue the podcast brings in, I'm totally fine paying her. would I pay her because she saves me time and I know we wouldn't have the podcast without her. So there's also this like invisible, ROI of time. Like how much time are you saving someone?
[00:30:44] Brandi: And with the photographer, what are these memories that I'm willing to pay for? How much is that worth to me? And those aren't things that you can necessarily put a price on, but you can put in a motion to, you can put a time to. And so just because you're not directly tied to someone's roi,
[00:30:59] Brandi: It doesn't mean you [00:31:00] can't have a premium price. Even web designers, if a really great website converts holy cow, like they're gonna see that money and it may not be as instant as like a funnel builder, but websites bring in money. They attract a different clientele. And so knowing like your value, your expertise has other things besides money tied.
[00:31:19] Brian: Yeah, and I think you brought up an important point there. The higher up you get in the market as far as the budgets involved with the clients you work with, the more they value time over money. And when you have clients that have more money than time, you're in a really good spot. As a freelancer the mistake I see a lot of my audience, especially in the music production space, unfortunately, is that you have more Clients that have more time than money. So in that case, they wanna do as much as they can themselves. They wanna record themselves and they just wanna hire somebody else to mix it or master it. So it gets really difficult in a market like that, where you're not working with serious people who have.
[00:31:51] Brian: Very little time, but lots of money. I always say like, you have to find the balance for you. Everyone's different. Some people are more creatively driven than they just wanna be in a market where they're just really passionate about it. And some [00:32:00] people are like I've got kids, I've got mals defeat.
[00:32:01] Brian: I gotta make money. So in that case, as a freelancer, as a creative, you find the markets where people have more money than time. But what are some common mistakes you see when people are trying to shift over to packages from the hourly kind of rat race?
[00:32:13] Brandi: Yeah, so they still base their package pricing on how long it takes them. And the thing is like our air condition stop working and we live in Florida. even though it's February, it's 85 degrees here, it's supposed to be 90, getting that air condition fixed, especially nine months pregnant is really, really important. with that being said, like he was here for. 15 minutes, and I don't even wanna know how much we probably paid for it, but like I didn't question like, oh, he was only here for 15 minutes, so I should only have to pay X amount. he fixed the problem. I'm good. I don't care because I'm paying for his expertise.
[00:32:49] Brandi: Not for how long it took you. And so one of the biggest mistakes is even when you move to packages, you're still like in the mindset of, okay, I've been doing this, it takes me X amount of hours [00:33:00] to do it, so that's how I'm gonna price. But what you're forgetting is all that time that it took you, To become an expert in what you do and you're not taking that into account.
[00:33:10] Brandi: And the other thing you're not taking into account is because you do something really good and really fast. Doesn't mean if it took them the same amount of time to do it. Me editing a podcast, I could do it. I have script. I could like go in there and clip some things out. , but it would take me much longer to do it than it would my podcast editor.
[00:33:30] Brandi: not giving yourself enough credit. The fact that you are good at this, you can get in there. I get in there and set up ads in like 30 minutes where it would take someone else, like 30 days take, get in there and set up the same campaign. So don't underestimate your skill, your knowledge, the time that you've learned this craft, when you're pricing yourself and most time.
[00:33:51] Brandi: Still pricing themselves based on our, and saying that it's a package.
[00:33:56] Brian: you not look at hourly earnings on a package, just to make sure you're not vastly [00:34:00] undercharging? Actually for newer people. I honestly, I did this with somebody I was on a, call with we looked at all the hours they work, their income level for the year and we just learned that they thought they were like earning 50, 60 bucks an hour, what they were charging and their actual earnings was like 14 bucks an hour.
[00:34:12] Brian: I do like looking at hourly, but I don't know where, if you even take that into account when coming up with your package pricing.
[00:34:16] Brandi: Yeah, so I think like if you're just getting started your first month or two, maybe you should be tracking your hours. A client never sees that. That's for internal and you shouldn't stick to a price. what people do sometimes is they'll be okay, I'm worth It. All comes back to how much you're worth and your pricing has nothing to do with your worth, but I'm worth only $40 an hour.
[00:34:38] Brandi: And they get in there and they start tracking and they realize but I'm actually making $80 an. Maybe I shouldn't be char like they get in this head game. So I would say maybe when you think you're working a whole lot and you're tracking your hours, I think like tracking your overall weekly hours is a good idea.
[00:34:55] Brandi: Not for a specific client, but how much are you actually working? and you get in [00:35:00] there and you start to say like, I'm exhausted. I'm burning the candle at both ends. then let's get it on project base and make sure like you are charging accordingly. But I think it brings up a lot of mindset things for people when they're not doing it.
[00:35:12] Brandi: now every three months, me, my team. , we all do a week audit of our time, and I think everyone should be doing this.
[00:35:20] Brian: That time.
[00:35:21] Brandi: yeah, a time study. And so you would be able to quickly see what you're doing. But one thing also is if you're only tracking your time for like a client or two, it could be in that situation where one client.
[00:35:33] Brandi: You're like working way less another. You're working way more, and then you change your pricing based on that, and you're not thinking like, oh, we're just breaking even. So I think the first thing to do is just get into the pricing and then if you feel like you're overworking, if you feel like you're overwhelmed, then let's break this down and go in.
[00:35:51] Brandi: Look at our time.
[00:35:52] Brian: That's great. for people that are trying to move old clients onto this new package pricing, how do you approach that? With your clients, [00:36:00] especially the older clients or if you've never sold a package pricing before, you've always done like a day rate or an hourly rate.
[00:36:05] Brian: How do we get on our next like sales call or with the next client and communicate packages to them in a way that makes sense?
[00:36:11] Brandi: Yeah. The first thing is if you have contracts, it makes this conversation way easier. But if you're not coming from there, I always love to position this as you're doing your client a favor, and that's what you need to position this as. When you get on the phone with the client is, Hey, I'm changing my pricing structure and here's how it's gonna roll out.
[00:36:31] Brandi: But it's with you and mine because before I've been spending so much time focused on the clock ticking, and it really holds me back from being like the best help that you can get. And my goal is for us to X, Y, and Z, whatever their transformation is, I can do that. With this new package pricing that we're gonna present.
[00:36:52] Brandi: And it's also amazing for you because you're gonna know exactly each month how much you're paying me. And so once you position it, [00:37:00] as I'm gonna be able to show up and serve you better, you're still gonna get the results that you've been getting. and you're gonna know exactly how much is coming outta your bank account.
[00:37:09] Brandi: that's really valuable to businesses who are projecting and especially ones that really focus on cash flow and what cash is coming in, what's coming out and so when we position it is this is all about you and helping you and letting me be the best service provider I can be, it changes the conversation.
[00:37:28] Brian: yeah, this is a very similar approach to when I moved to package pricing. When I finally got smart, probably 2015, I think, and I started telling the artist, Was working with that. I was charging a flat fee per song was how I kind of positioned it and priced it. And I did a lot of up to terminology where it was like up to X amount of days per song or up to, you know, whatever. So that there was some clear guardrails in place. And the thing that I think they loved most about it was because I could position it in a way that was a benefit to them, so you know exactly how much this is going to cost you versus when you show up to the studio they're charging you, Dollars per hour and [00:38:00] that engineer's probably gonna drag it out as long as possible. You have no idea how much it's gonna cost. At the end of the day, you may be 6,000, $10,000 into this and still not even be halfway through the project. And then you have to figure out what are you gonna do with this half completed project and no money left over.
[00:38:13] Brian: So it was a really easy transition for me. what do you do when clients try to negotiate when it comes to especially package pricing, especially retainer, things that are long term ongoing. Like, do you budget all, do you just say No, this is the.
[00:38:24] Brandi: It depends on how much increase it's gonna be. So like we can't come at someone that's been paying a thousand dollars a month and be like, my new packages are 3000. That's not gonna go over well. what I would say is I know that this is gonna be a jump and how much you've been paying me, and this is where my prices are going.
[00:38:41] Brandi: This is where they're at for any new client. I'm so grateful for you giving me a chance before my prices were this high. So what we can do is sign a three month contract and we're gonna go up to like, if they're at a thousand, maybe go up to 1500, 2000 or whatever, and say after those three months, then we will need to jump up to the [00:39:00] 3000.
[00:39:00] Brandi: But I wanna give you that buffer time. , so it's not such a shock. And then they're either a yes or they're a no. You let ' 'em go or you keep 'em. And the thing is, you should always have a pipeline of new clients coming in that would feed that spot if they choose to say no.
[00:39:15] Brian: one last thing I need to discuss here that I should have probably brought up earlier. Cause I feel like the person that this is a concern of has already left the show and not listening anymore, I'll bring it up anyways. I know there's a creative listening right now.
[00:39:24] Brian: They're still listening to the show and they're hearing all of this and they say, yes, this makes a lot of sense logically. But it cruses my soul to have a cookie cutter approach with my clients. I am such a unique and individual person, and there's no way that you could put all that contains me into one or two packages because I'm such a unique , special snowflake.
[00:39:43] Brian: How do you approach that with somebody who has that kind of mindset? Maybe they can't be changed and maybe it's true either way, but what do you do to approach that type of mindset?
[00:39:49] Brandi: Oh my customizing.
[00:39:51] Brian: Is that your avatar name for.
[00:39:53] Brandi: we have a whole pricing persona. And this would be my customizing. Chelsea and I have heard it all from everyone. [00:40:00] I can't package up my O B M services because they're so unique. I can't package up my web design my copy cuz it's so unique. And the thing is, you are doing your.
[00:40:10] Brandi: Such a disservice. I'm gonna take it from a copywriting perspective. Copywriters come to me and they're like, oh, but they want this page and this page, and maybe they don't need that page. And it's like, yeah, maybe, or you're doing them a disservice because you actually know what they need. To get to the transformation and you're letting them sell themselves short because you're not willing to put your expertise in a package that's set for their success.
[00:40:36] Brandi: if someone comes to me with a launch plan and it's a copywriter, and they're like, oh, I just want my emails done. And that's it. I know that that's not gonna work if they don't have a great landing page ads, thank you, page follow up emails, because these one emails are gonna be so disconnected from the rest of the marketing that nothing's gonna flow together.
[00:40:55] Brandi: I am doing that person a disservice because I know what success looks [00:41:00] like when this project's complete, and they're not gonna have that. So I always come from it as you are being absolutely selfish. If you don't package yours up and you're giving them the option of customizing. The other thing is whenever we customize stuff, you're putting more decisions in their hand than they actually want or need.
[00:41:19] Brandi: And so one of the biggest arguments spouses have, Is what's for dinner and it's because by the time it's what's for dinner, it's the end of the day we're in decision fatigue, and so we can't make decisions. Our brains are trying to preserve itself. So the more decisions you give to clients, the less likely they're gonna make decisions that are gonna get them the results they want.
[00:41:42] Brandi: Or they're just going to not make decisions at all. So by having these set plans, you're making the decisions for them, which business owners really appreciate because they're making decisions all day long. The last thing they need to decide is all these add-ons, customized packages, and you're being selfish [00:42:00] because you know what it takes to have a successful X, Y, and z.
[00:42:03] Brian: I think this is what makes the difference between a freelancer who is offering transformational services, and a freelancer who's stuck in a button seat kind of job. I see this In certain spaces where you're just doing a button seat job, doesn't matter what button is in the seat, it's gonna get done.
[00:42:17] Brian: And so the client's going to tell you how it's done. The client's gonna tell you what to do. The client's gonna tell you what they want and what they don't want. And there's a hard cap, a hard limit on what you can charge for that. But when you offer a truly transformational service, As the expert in that field, as a copywriter expert or as a web design expert or whatever, it's up to you to now help consult your clients on what is the best thing for them in order to get the transformation or the outcome that they want.
[00:42:41] Brian: And when you know that and you can consult your client on that, you're able to then sell them what they need, not what they want. And that's a huge thing I see, especially as a business coach myself, where I help with client acquisition. People come to me and they think they want X, Y, and Z, but the reality.
[00:42:54] Brian: None of that can happen until we can, fix X, Y, and Z problems, or A, B, and C problems. So I [00:43:00] see this in my space. I see this in my client's spaces. I'm sure you see this all over the place becoming the expert in your niche of helping your client get what they want, and knowing all the things that come along with that so that you consult them and guide them to the services that they need to.
[00:43:14] Brian: And that makes you a more valuable freelancer and much more indispensable. So is there anything else related to this subject that's worth mentioning before we wrap this conversation up?
[00:43:21] Brandi: Just one more thing because I feel like sometimes examples are so helpful. said you had a lot of photographers, creatives, the transformation is not to have a bunch of family photos taken is to have those family photos up on the wall. We're like, people can see them I am so good at hiring photographers to take a bunch of photos that sit in my Dropbox every time we travel. I hire a photographer. They're all in my Dropbox. We moved into our beautiful house a year ago.
[00:43:47] Brandi: Zero of these photos are up on the wall, that's not the transformation I wanted. I wanted to showcase all these beautiful photos from our travels. the photographer we just hired she actually requires, in her package, [00:44:00] That we're gonna get X amount of physical prints and it's way more expensive, there's no way around it because she knows that people like me keep these photos in the Dropbox and that I'm never gonna hire her again because it's not top of mind.
[00:44:13] Brandi: Like I can go pay anyone. , but I'm gonna have physical photos done, framed, and they're gonna be hung up. Like now it's just my husband putting some nails up in the wall, which he's great at. that's the transformation is I want these photos up on my wall. And so we have to think like our clients think that they want one thing.
[00:44:30] Brandi: But really you have to know what's the thing that they really want. a regular photographer would be like, oh, she just wants photos of her family. But what I really want is photos up on the wall of my family. I wanna showcase our memories, no photographer has given me that yet. And now we'll have one that does.
[00:44:47] Brian: I love that example. Anyone who's ever tried to frame a photo, knows how big of a pain that is to like get the measurements and then order the frame and then it didn't fit. So you gotta send it back and get another one and get it framed. And you realize, I actually want a [00:45:00] little bit of white space on the outside, so I'm gonna get a third frame and I'm gonna try it again, and then I'm gonna hang on the wall and then I'm gonna realize I got 10 more of these to do and I hate, I don't wanna do this.
[00:45:06] Brian: So when you are a photographer and you know your client has more money than time, then you can start putting these add-ons, not even add-ons, they're part of the package because that's what you truly want at the end of the day. So I love that example. That's a really good thing to end on there.
[00:45:18] Brian: So, Brandy, I want you to think of this and then I want you to answer a question. All right? First thing, What was your favorite place to travel that you and your husband have been to? And next Where can our audience go to connect with you and learn more about you?
[00:45:29] Brian: Or where do you wanna send our audience?
[00:45:30] Brandi: I have two places for you. One is the serve skills. So podcast, we drop a new episode every single Tuesday. think we're about to hit 200, 300 episodes. I don't know,
[00:45:40] Brian: You're in the 180 s right now.
[00:45:41] Brandi: So 200. So we've been doing this for four years, never missed an episode.
[00:45:44] Brandi: Super proud of that. That's because I have a freelancer that does all this work for me. Serve scale, sore podcast. And then we have a free training for you serve scale, so.com/10k. So one zero K, and that'll take you to my free training on how to scale [00:46:00] to consistent 10 K months without hiring a team or creating a course.
[00:46:04] Brandi: So it's really about how to get your business simplified and scale. In a way that doesn't require a ton of overhead cost or all the extras that everyone teaches you. that's the best places to find me.
[00:46:15] Brian: Perfect. Thank you so much. So now, now you can answer the question. What was your favorite place that you and your husband have traveled to over the
[00:46:20] Brandi: Okay. So if we're gonna do my husband and I, cuz that's different if you ask me
[00:46:24] Brandi: my family.
[00:46:24] Brian: you gotta answer both now I need to know both
[00:46:27] Brandi: Okay, so the best place my husband and I travel and we go several times is Sedona. So in Arizona, not California. That's Sonoma. So people get those two confused. Sedona, Arizona. We like the w we like to hike,
[00:46:40] Brian: Is that where James Wedmore lives?
[00:46:42] Brandi: Yeah, so he lives there. We've been going before that, I like outdoorsy stuff, so like we do the four-wheeling, get all dirty and stuff. So I just love the energy there. I love the food. Like I've ate all over the country. My favorite restaurant is in Sedona, Mariposa.
[00:46:58] Brandi: You would be like in the middle of a desert. [00:47:00] Yes. It's so good. So that's our favorite place as spouses to travel. We don't take our child there. And then you're probably gonna guess this one. Our favorite place to travel as a family is Disney World , which we go at least once a month. we just love the experiences, the memories.
[00:47:15] Brandi: We love staying at the resorts. that's like living our best.
[00:47:19] Brian: I was about to say once a month, but I forgot You're in Florida, right?
[00:47:22] Brandi: Yeah, so I'm only an hour and 45 minutes. So like tomorrow after my last call for the day, we leave and we go for, four nights. Five days, and we'll hit up all the parks, do the resorts, the pools, the food. We just love Disney.
[00:47:34] Brian: I've only been one time, it was in 2017, I wrote down Sedona and then Mari Posta is the place that you said your favorite restaurant.
[00:47:39] Brian: Cause my wife and I love. Eating at awesome restaurants when we're traveling. And we've been looking at Sedona actually. And not Sonoma, I think is what you said in the California
[00:47:46] Brandi: that's in California. That's
[00:47:47] Brandi: wine.
[00:47:48] Brian: Well, Thank you so much for coming on here, Brandy. I love the advice you gave and I hope people go at least check out your podcast, if not your free masterclass or workshop
[00:47:54] Brandi: Yeah, masterclass.
[00:47:55] Brandi: Thank you.
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