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Your Unique and Beautiful Journey

winding road, The Price and Value Journey

I often get the question: Why do you call your newsletter The Price and Value Journey?

The short answer is that I write for professional service providers who price their expertise and want to price their work to better reflect the value they create for clients.

Understanding the value of the outcomes you deliver for clients never ends. You are constantly learning, your business changes, and your idea of a best-fit client morphs over time.

Your attempts to price your services, therefore, to reflect client perceptions of value are always changing as well.

It’s a journey.

Client Perceptions of Value are Never Static

The perception clients have of value always changes. For any good or service, value perception rises and falls over time. The only question is how rapidly that happens.

When I wake up in the morning, for example, the value I place on a cup of coffee is quite high.

By late afternoon, though, my perception of the value of coffee has changed significantly. I’m not even willing to drink a cup of great coffee offered for free. My perception of the value of that cup is actually negative. It’s negative because I fear that that cup of coffee, even when freely offered, has a cost to me: that I won’t be able to get to sleep later that evening.

For most services, though, client perceptions of value change much more slowly over time. Depending on the service, those perceptions deepen, and they become much more tied to intangibles than the service itself.

For example, you might be a business coach, consultant, CPA, or attorney, and you helped a business client navigate and ultimately survive the chaotic pandemic years and their aftermath. If that’s the case, the client's perception of the value you offer undoubtedly deepened over that time.

When they think of you, they think of what you did to help them survive. When they refer you to others, they invariably talk about your loyalty, tenacity, and the ear you offered to let them vent. As they talk to others about you, they may not even talk about your service offering per se.

Perceptions of value change even when the service has ended. I completed an engagement with a service provider some time ago who regularly checks in with me to see how I’m doing. She offers suggestions, but the simple act of checking in, without any agenda, deepens my perception of the value she offers. 

Prices Should Change, Too

A friend of mine had a service in which he proudly said that he had never raised the price for clients from where they started. Fortunately for him, he gradually increased the price at which he accepted new clients, or I’m not sure how his story would have ever turned out.

I’ve written a lot about price increases elsewhere, so I won’t get into that here, but suffice to say that your pricing over time needs to adjust along with the value, both tangible and intangible, of the outcomes that you help clients achieve. 

What’s vital to understand, though, is that you will never, ever fully “get it right.” There’s no ultimate right answer to how you price your service. Client perceptions of value involve intangibles that are unique to each one of them, and the only way you’ll ever be able to fully grasp them is to do something that’s impossible: peak inside what’s going on in their head.

The Metaphor of a Journey

When I work with service providers, one of their most common reactions, as we’re working on their business and review what they’ve done in the past, is “I can’t believe I did that” or “that was stupid” or some other similar remark.

My reaction is always the same:  give yourself some grace. It’s a journey. We are all on that journey. I certainly didn't pop out of the business womb fully formed. Everyone has their own collection of T-shirts, you might say, that commemorate the mistakes they’ve made in their own business sojourn.

There’s something liberating, I think, in thinking of your business as a journey. You free yourself from such a singular focus on your goals that you can’t enjoy landmarks of new learnings, directions, and successes along the way. When you acknowledge that you'll never "arrive," you open yourself to more knowledge, understanding, and new adventures.

In the Afterword of my book, The Generosity Mindset, I share the story of a close friend of mine whose advice I asked for regarding a major decision I was considering. I don’t remember what that decision was, but what I do remember quite distinctly was the advice he gave me.

“Do what makes your heart sing.”

It’s your journey. Your uniquely beautiful, eventful, and fulfilling trek, with all the hills and valleys, stops and detours along the way.

Make it your own, and revel in it.


Business consultant and coach, author, and podcaster John Ray advises solopreneurs and small professional services firms on their two most frustrating problems: pricing and business development. John is passionate about how changes in mindset, positioning, and pricing change the trajectory of a business and the lifestyle choices of a business owner. His clients are professionals who are selling their expertise, such as consultants, coaches, attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.

John is the author of the national bestselling book, The Generosity Mindset: A Journey to Business Success by Raising Your Confidence, Value, and Prices. The book covers topics like value and adopting a mindset of value, pricing your services more effectively, proposals, and essential elements of growing your business. The book is available at all major physical and online book retailers.

The Generosity Mindset


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