I’ve set up a culture in my classes where money is not scary but fun to talk about.
Talking about money is awkward especially if you’re collecting money at the door as opposed to online sales. I try to be as clear about expectations as possible by stating when, where, and how class money will be collected (for example, sometimes for donation based classes I collect at the end of class) so that folks aren’t stressing about what to do around payment. I let folks know the range of prices and the actual cost of the course (all of which has been posted on my website ahead of time). I establish a “lucky” mug or teapot as the receptacle of abundance for collecting money; I look folks in the eyes and thank them genuinely for whatever they’re able to give (which can be hard sometimes when you know someone is underpaying you, let’s be honest. But it’s also a practice in compassion and gratefulness that you choose to take on when offering the sliding scale or hosting donation-based events). With my magickal crowds we even say a little spell between us for abundance - because that’s how my Witch kin are like and I love it.
Making money fun to talk about is always a work in progress and I’m learning as I go along - let me know how you make money an easy thing to talk about in the comments below. I would love more ideas and inspiration!
I don’t discount my services.
I’m going to make an assumption here, but it’s based on years of observation of the herbal and magickal communities I run in (which is made up of largely queer, folks of color, gender-rebellious, and womxn-centered and femme folks). I bet that for most of you reading this, you’re already offering your services or goods for a discounted rate. Because you’ve underpriced it, because we don’t talk about money and fair wages, and because many of us would have a hard time defining what a fair wage is to begin with. Because our global market ranges from the super exclusive, hand-crafted artisan objects to “cheap” slave labor produced items (and there are plenty of times when those two areas cross-over). Then throw in social pressure, scarcity complexes, the continuing impact of childhood trauma, and some pretty unhealthy ideas about success and whether or not you’re allowed it as an activist and of course we’re confused about money and pricing.
I used to discount my services all the time. And I still felt bad all the time about charging folks and not earning enough (ugh, that’s a vicious thought cycle). Offering my services at a discount didn’t mean I made more or got more folks purchasing my remedies or classes. Nor was this behavior something that I expected my peers to do - that’s where my mindset began to shift. If I didn’t expect my peers or those I was serving to get underpaid in their work, why did I persist in this expectation for myself?
Part of my shift away from offering discounts all of the time (which, the not-so-secret secret is that I do offer a discount - but only those who sign-up for my newsletter and the very occasional seasonal sale), was realizing that I didn’t want to be running a discount emporium of magickal goods, but a space for starry-hearted community to grow. That meant I needed to get paid fairly so I could reinvest in readers like you and the community I interact with daily.
What I realized is that I would much rather be able be able to write quality, in-depth blog posts that reach a lot of folks for free than give away my classes to one person at a time. If I’m getting paid fairly for my teaching work, then I feel more able to give in my writing and in other low-cost or free services. Being able to pay my bills and save money means that I can actually offer more for free because I’m not stressed and counting pennies at the end of each month worried about paying rent and putting food on the table.
If you’re in a similar place, I recommend starting by assessing what you already give away for free - your blog posts, newsletters, volunteering in your community, the emotional labor in relationships (personal, professional, familial, and community-based), webinars, videos, and more. Celebrate what you already give and place value on it. When folks ask for freebies point them to the free content on your website which you know is good, quality stuff. I’ve never had someone email me or tell me in person how great it is that I had so many discounts back when I was constantly offering them. What actually has happened is I get regular feedback from folks saying how appreciative they are of the length and scope of free resources I offer on my site - which feels really good because I want folks to feel like their getting quality information that is of use in their life. That’s what I look for in other businesses and it feels good that I’m also providing such a service.