My first steps to determine appropriate service fees
Free sessions feel out of balance
Charging low or high rates
Sliding scales resulted in negotiation
Intuitive rates, a first step into the right direction
Heart-based fee takes everyone into consideration
Since I started my own business in 2006 I have played with different forms or payment because many people told me they couldn’t afford coaching sessions. Trying to find a solution that works for all of us I offered sessions for free, barter, low fees, high fees, and fees on a sliding scale. Nothing seemed to work until I created the heart-based fee.
At the start of my own business I was very enthusiastic, wanting everyone to be able to have coaching sessions. At the same time I tried to make a living. I looked what other coaches charged, anywhere from $0 to $10.000 per hour. I started with a low fee to attract clients, not daring to ask for higher fees in fear that people would not come. If I learned one thing in the last years, it is that it doesn’t really matter how much money you charge. If people are not ready to fully embrace your service they will focus on the money as an obstacle. Here are some of my experiences and insights
People enjoy free sessions with me, they gain clarity, love spending time with me and very rarely come back. Others don’t show up for the free sessions mostly because they are not committed to change. Now it makes sense to me because the energy exchange is not balanced.
For one thing, those seeking free service often miss the desire and commitment needed to do the work that results from my sessions. On a scale zero to ten, with ten they can hardly wait to work with me, they usually are below a seven. It takes courage to stretch yourself and reveal clarity. Your desire helps you overcome the uncertainty and fear that might be in your space.
Further, I had to ask myself why I was offering sessions for free: Did I want to fix people; was I afraid nobody would pay for my service; did they reflect my fear of money… Walking my talk, I did my own emotional and mental work and stopped offering free sessions because they didn’t felt aligned with whom I want to work with and the often life changing insights I offer to people in these sessions.
Offering sessions for a low fee is similar to free sessions. From a marketing stand point, there are a lot of advantages using low fees. While I understand a lot about marketing, it doesn’t feel good to me to lure people into sessions with low fees. It creates resentment in my space.
As coaches we were taught to step into high rates that reflect our worth. Questions I tried to answer were: How can a money amount reflect my skill and self-worth? What price can you put on an hour that might change your life? Struggling with the answers I tried the high pricing on. It helped me strengthen my self-esteem but had an energy of daring to push the limits. I played here for a while but it didn’t feel right either.
Trying to accommodate the varying incomes of my clients I set a sliding scale. The result was that people tried to negotiate with me to get to lower parts of the scale. It kept my clients in victim mode and didn’t make me feel appreciated. The result was more mental clearing on my side and looking for a better solution.
I finally let go of all the marketing strategies and explored intuitive approaches. I started by asking my heart for a number that would be appropriate for sessions. This approach started to feel better and yet people still stayed in victim mode, telling me that they couldn’t afford sessions. How could I accommodate the different life circumstances and share the responsibility of setting the fee. That is when I came up with the heart-based rate.
I believe that our hearts know what is right for everyone involved in a particular situation. When I use the heart-based rate, I help my partner to step out of the brain and into her heart. Here she asks what the appropriate rate for the session is. Appropriate means, considering all people involved, the impact of the session, length of the session, financial situation and so on.
To implement the heart-based rate I had to trust that we are indeed all one and that my partner’s heart would know what would be appropriate for both of us. I had to be willing to accept the number my partner received.
I remember the first person who was willing to play with me in this way. When I led her into her heart she got two numbers, one from her brain and the other from her heart. She was excited that she could distinguish the two of them and could feel how the brain number came from a place of fear. Choosing the dollar amount she received from her heart made her feel physically good on a deep level and felt aligned with her soul. Feeling her alignment brought tears to my eyes. I could feel her beauty and felt deeply appreciated. What a wonderful gift we gave each other. I knew I had found the right way for me to determine the energy exchange for my services.
Since then I have used the heart-based rate for my clarity sessions, energy grids and workshops. Over and over I experienced the beauty and appreciation that results from a deep heart alignment.
I believe that our heart knows what is right for all of us and I am delighted that my partners and I now share the responsibility of determining the money exchange. We come together in a co-creative partnership, open our hearts fully and trust each other deeply.
I love that the heart-based fee not only takes the individual person into account but also the particular session. Circumstance change, sessions vary in length and impact. The heart-based fee determined at the end of the session reflects that.
At first people find the idea of a heart-based rate uncomfortable. They would like to know ahead of time what to pay, worry if the number they perceive might be too high or too low. I understand these worries. I have stretched myself many time into trusting myself and found it very rewarding. I am delighted to provide those who want to play with me with an opportunity to trust themselves. I am here to ease the process, holding a space of love, beauty, certainty and wellbeing.