Grow Out of Your Comfort Zone: Give Yourself a Raise!

Humans are creatures of habit. We like things to remain static, predictable. When we have this level of structure, we feel…comfortable. Deviation from that norm creates anxiety, stress, apprehension. Yet, without that deviation we become complacent and there is no growth.

To grow, we need to stretch that anxiety level, push the complacency, however so slightly. We need to crawl first to stand, to stand first to walk, walk first to run. Each step in that process was anxious, and trying, perhaps physically demanding on our bodies and our minds, but was essential to grow and advance. Each little step gave us the tools, the confidence, the drive to move forward even more. Little by little, the anxiety, the apprehension, the resistance to growth and, by implication…growing… diminished, and we strive for more, bigger, better things.

The same is true in your show business; within the show, the performance, the marketing, and even… the fee structure. Today you will discover a new way to charge more, even just a little, or a lot, and still feel comfortable doing it. Do it, don’t try it, just do it. It will work. I’ll even provide you a backup plan when you chicken out.

Presuppositions: (Mathematical Arguments)

Clp: We need to start with the agreement that you currently have a fee or price you are comfortable quoting. It’s most likely your “regular” fee you quote to clients. Not necessarily your “won’t go out for less than” fee, or your “only for corporate clients” fee, not your fee you tell other
hypnotists you “consistently charge”, and definitely not your “here’s my discounted fee” fee. It’s the one fee that instantly comes to mind when someone says “How much?”. Let’s call that your Comfort Level Price or Clp for short. (C-L-P)

I%: We now need to agree on an increase PERCENTAGE of that fee that you’ll feel slightly UNCOMFORTABLE with. Not something ridiculous, only mildly anxiety inducing, a percentage increase that will give you a “buzz” but not “freak you out” quoting. I recommend something like 5-10%. If you’re charging 1000, that’s only an extra $50 at 5% or $100 at 10%. See, that’s not MUCH of an increase, right? Heck, you charge taxes that are more than that percentage anyway, right? Right!

We’ll call that your Increase Percentage (or I% for short). (I-%) The rest…is Psychology…and MATH.

The Math first: (Skip to Step 1 if Math is NOT your strong suit)

Qf = Clp + (I% x Clp)

If you’re a nerd like me, use: Qf = 1.Y x Clp (where Y = I% as a percent) Qf stands for your NEW Quoted Fee. After the next 3 steps, this will be the NEW FEE you say when someone asks “How Much Do You Charge?”

Step 1:
Remember your Comfort Level Price? (Clp) And your mildly anxiety inducing Increase Percentage (I%)? Now, get your calculator out and turn it on…or use the one on your computer…or if you can, use your head math! 😉

Step 2:

Type into your calculator:
-Your I% as the percentage. (If you chose 10%, then enter 0.10 or 5%, enter 0.05. If you’re not sure how that percentage number should be entered…just type in your Number (10) then divide (/), then 100. You will get a number that starts with a 0. Something. Good job!)
-Click the “+” sign and add “1”
-Click the X (multiply) and type in your Clp.
Press the equals button.

Example 1: (Clp = $1000, and I would be comfortable with a 10% increase)
10% = 0.10
1+0.10 = 1.10
1.10 x $1000 = $1100. My New Fee is $1100

Example 2: (Clp = $2500, I% that I am aiming for this year is 12, my fav number!)
Nerd Math: Qf=1.12 x 2500 = $2800

Step 3:
That’s it! That’s your NEW Quoting Fee. If it gives you shivers…it should…its ok. It means you’re growing. If you’re thinking, “Heck that’s not much!”, then why didn’t you do it before? Or better yet, prove it’s “not that much”. Go get some gigs with that new number.

The Psychology

Positive growth perception: It’s not requiring much effort to make the change in a positive direction because it’s perceptually so small. Small, incremental changes make us less anxious, more willing to accept the challenge to move forward, because the perceived challenge is so small. Yet, the small steps move us toward a successful outcome which may not have been “perceptually” feasible at the time.

You: “I gotta lose weight!!! ARGH! The gym is TOO expensive and too time consuming and too much work!! But…I could walk up the stairs at my house 3 times a day. I gotta go pee there anyways! That’s easy to do.” Small, attainable steps. Easy to process, and execute, with acceptable rewards. Happy Happy!!

Your NEW FEE is reasonably acceptable to you because you’re only increasing your fee a little, perceptually, and in reality. It’s easy to make happen. A 10% raise on a dollar, is 10 cents…it’s not THAT much. A proper client shouldn’t baulk at an increase of 5%, of course they wouldn’t know it was an increase if they were a new client. They’d just assume that was your FEE and a repeat client should normally be fine with an increase like that. What if YOU aren’t comfortable making that GIANT 5% leap from $2000, to $2100. What if a returning client isn’t comfortable with your increase? What if YOU chicken out? Remember, it’s your COMFORTABLE price for a reason. You can ALWAYS go back to it.

Me:“My fee is only a little bit more than last year, $2100”
Them: “Hmm…That’s a little over our budget from last year, we couldn’t afford that.”
Me: “Well, since you’re a repeat client, how about I offer you the same price as last year, $2000, and you can provide me with hotel for the night?”
Them: “That’s great! Thanks!”
Me: “Ok, with the tax, that comes to a total of…(insert your tax fee WITH THE TAX RATE)..for a total of $2260. I’ll send the agreement right over.”
Them: “That’s great! Thanks so much!”


Guess what. When you quote the “New Fee” (Just quote it…you don’t have to get it EVERYTIME…just SAY it to the next 7 clients that call. ) you’ll get used to saying it more and more. Then THAT fee grows into your Comfortable Level Price. And then…you can apply the formula again!

So do the math. What are you going to quote for your next event now? Grow.

1 reply
  1. Colin Chapman
    Colin Chapman says:

    Great article, Richard!

    In my world, if you aren’t losing gigs over price you are losing.

    It is in all of our interest to be transparent about what we are REALLY asking for, REALLY getting and what our real walk away number is.

    Pricing is both a science and an art. Richard’s algebraic formula is a great fit for people far more intelligent than me (you gave me flashbacks to junior high, Richard!).

    I have a list price for every market. Within corporate that list price varies based on size of organization. I make sure everyone feels like I am giving them a deal. The day of the week and distance are both significant variables in my pricing.

    This is my profession, not my hobby. I have to charge like a professional in order to continue to be in my profession.


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