Abundant Goddess: Sacred Pricing

by Leonie Dawson on December 10, 2008

Hola gorgeous goddesses!

Today I got an email from a beautiful soul who is starting on the path of selling her artworks, and wants to know how on *earth* to price them. Do you pull a number out of thin air? Work out your costs + projections – deductions + profits x headaches induced by lefty-brained logistics = perfect price?

And I started thinking about how this isn’t just about pricing artwork. This is about every time we need to put a number value on our work. You don’t have to be an artist to have this question. Maybe you’re a healer. Or a massage therapist. Or a babysitter. Or a designer. Or any kind of businesswoman, really.

So let’s circle… and talk Sacred Pricing.

The time I didn’t honour Sacred Pricing.

So, once upon a time, Leonie didn’t sell her artwork. She gave it away. Whenever anyone mentioned they liked her artwork, she gave it to them. Even relative strangers.

Why did Leonie do this?
Because she thought that was the nice thing to do.
Because she loved making the artwork, so she wanted to share it freely.
Because she was uncomfortable with putting a price on her gifts.

All the above is true. In fact, I gave artwork away up until four years ago. I felt fairly okay about the whole arrangement – but I had little bits of sadness about it. Like the part where I felt a little bit used up by it. And the part where I felt like I hadn’t honoured my paintings properly. And like I’d just given away my babies to families that I wasn’t really sure about.

I was starting to feel in my soul that maybe this wasn’t the right way to do it anymore. Like there had to be a better way for me, for my spirit, and for my art.

The words that changed me.

As they say – when the student is ready, the teacher arrives. One twilight, I was driving back from a labyrinth. It had been my first outing with my women’s circle, and I was bundled up in the back of a car with my two mentors in the front. {I’ll use totem names here, as I’m more comfortable with that today}.

Eagle Woman turned to the older Jaguar Woman and said “Leonie’s been having problems charging for her artwork. I told her you would be the right one to speak to about that.” Jaguar Woman is beautiful – silver white hair, wide blue eyes. She turns to me, and in her Scandinavian accent asks me “What is this problem Leonie? What are you charging right now?”

I blushed. And stammered. I tend to do this when caught off guard by honesty. “Ummm… nothing. I give my art away.” “And why do you do that?” “Because it’s… easier. I don’t have to think about it then. If people want it, they can just have it.”

Our headlights glowed along the stretch of road. We were driving through a large paddock, kangaroos and farm houses and old trees visible through the soft light. Jaguar Woman began to speak, and I listened.

“You must charge for your art. In everything – everything – there needs to be an exchange of energy. An equal one. One that fills me up. One that fills you up. If I give you a massage that nourishes and sustains and relaxes you, I ask you for money to nourish and sustain my life too. We must both be involved in the exchange, otherwise it is one sided. We must both be invested, so we both receive value. If I do not allow you to pay money for my service, I do a disservice to myself, but also to you. You must contribute too, in order to be fulfilled. You will value the things you pay for more. And my life will be better because I have helped your life be better. And your life will be better, because you have helped my life be better too. Everything – everything – must be an equal exchange of energy. It is sacred. Money is the manifestation of energy. Money is sacred too.”

Pricing to sustain and enrich you…

Since Jaguar Woman spoke those words to me four years ago, my mindset has been changed about money, and charging for my gifts and services. It is continually being tweaked, changed and evolved – as most things are in life. As we evolve, so do our attitudes and our insights about the things around us and in us.

My advice in pricing is this – price your services and products so that it sustains and enriches you. Price so that you feel happy selling at that price. Price so it feels like a true energy exchange – that what you are giving to another – they are giving the same value to you. Price so your life will feel joyful from it.

Leonie’s tiny bit of pricing practically…

From a practical level, make sure you include all your costs in, and then work out if the profit number sustains you.

I remember selling prints a couple of years ago. I forgot to work out prices of postage for the kind of tube I was sending. In the end, I lost $4 for every print I sold. That profit number obviously didn’t sustain me. :)

Just remember – every sale has a cost. Write up a scratchy list of them, so you know what energy you are truly giving out and receiving in.

A little note on gifting.

I’m so not anti-gifting. What I’m into is giving when it feels conscious and energy-filled from both ends.

Sometimes I still *gift* artwork to dear friends and family – but now I only do it because I WANT to do it. Not because I’m uncomfortable with the putting-a-price part of it. Not because I think I SHOULD. I do it when it’s true for me.

Passing the talking stick…

Over to you, gorgeous goddesses, if you’d like to share your experience or questions about sacred pricing… All words are held in a container of love.

Just like you.

Big hugs,

_______________________
P.S. Writing it here because I’m oh-so-excited! A new website design and name is coming! And more gorgeous goddesses are joining us for the Creative Goddess e-course & circle. *squeeeeeeeee!*