On pricing, self-valuation and value alignment

As any self-employed person providing services, I have the great opportunity to create my own offerings, design their structure and content – and put a price tag on them. It is a challenging process that naturally evolves alongside our personal development and is actually part of it, because it is closely tied to questions of self-valuation and value alignment. I have personally been struggling with it ever since I followed my true calling and started my activity as an independent “business” owner back in 2012, in other words 10 years already.





(Note how I put the word “business” into brackets, because I am no longer sure that this is how I actually feel about what I do. The words we use are very powerful and if I launch a “business”, it is per definition and inherently meant to be profitable.)





I studied Business Administration and Marketing, so I know that there are different strategies to make a profit, either low price (focusing on quantity) or high price (focusing on quality). When it comes to coaching, you are usually told that you need to “value” yourself – in fact there seems to be an unspoken law that the more “successful” you are and the more you “value” yourself, the more you charge – as if your hourly rate was an indicator of how evolved you are, not just in a professional sense, but also when it comes to your personal development and soul work. This is why prices for celebrity coaches vary from several hundred to several thousand per hour. Narratives are that if as a coach you want to be paid such prices, you need to be willing to invest that amount of money, first – and if you are not willing to, it means that you still do not value yourself enough… that you are not yet on that “level”.





Personally, this has never sat right with me. However, not yet trusting my body wisdom, for a long time, I thought it had indeed to do with not valuing myself enough. And so I experimented a lot over the years, charging between 60-100 Euro per hour, which is what I am personally comfortable with paying (100 only when it’s a one-time service and not a process that involves several sessions).





These days I see things from a different perspective. I am living in rural Spain, in a region where even 60 per hour is FAR above what the average person can afford. Does that mean they all have issues with self-worth? Is the money you dispose of truly the most important indicator of abundance and “level” of personal development? I personally doubt it. Abundance includes many aspects, first and foremost being and feeling rich in love, health, happiness and joy. In other words, living in full alignment with your inner truth. This for me, is the ultimate expression of self-worth. I personally feel that way about my own life and many of the people around me value themselves enough to follow their desires and (at least try) to create the life of their dreams. Of course, that includes material aspects, too. I am by no means saying that money or possessions are bad. In fact, like anything else, money is energy. It just is. And to function in today’s society, we all need it to some extent. And here comes the contradiction:





Many of us coaches are here to help people question the system and to even get out of it. And at the same time, we (are supposed to) charge them that much money, that they are actually forced to continue in it, so that they can afford our prices.





Speaking for myself, I know that I truly value myself and that I am living in abundance, EVEN IF I don’t make several thousands of Euro per month nor charge several hundred per hour of coaching. Two situations actually really triggered me recently:





  1. A regenerative farm in the North of Spain sent me information on some extremely interesting courses on regenerative farming, but then charged prices higher than any posh Tantra retreat I ever participated in… that only people working for international companies, but nobody actually involved in regenerative farming could afford.
  2. Someone from my area here in Spain (a farmer) requested a session with me for his wife and wanted to exchange for vegetables. I agreed and ordered 10kg of potatoes, 2kg of onions, 5kg of zucchini, 2kg of plums and 1kg of green beans, so a total of 20kg of produce (all organic). Knowing the time and effort it takes to produce that amount of food, I really felt it was a fair exchange for my session, but if I had bought from him with money, it would only had cost me 25 Euro… so am I overvalued or is he undervalued?




For me, it is totally out of alignment when (nutrition) coaches charge hundreds of Euro per hour while the people actually growing our food earn not even 10 Euro per hour (probably not even 5). And of course, it is even more out of alignment that people poisoning our food earn 1000 times more than the ones taking care of our soils. As a collective, we are currently not putting our money where true value is created. And most of us are not spending our money in alignment with our values either. How often has a book you bought for 15 Euro ended up changing your life completely? And how often have you paid hundreds or thousands of Euro on something (a course, a product, a dinner) that was completely useless and actually degenerative both for you and the planet? How about donating that same amount of money to that author who changed your life? I am sure to most of you that has never even occurred because by putting a price tag we also close the door to all possibility for further energy exchange in the future. The factor of TIME is usually not accounted for in general “business”. We provide a service and are paid in the moment, when often the true value only becomes apparent over time (in other words, a price seldomly represents the true value in the long-term).





I envision a world where giving and receiving are naturally balanced as people recognize and appreciate the true value they receive and pay it back (or forward) with their own abundant gifts.





I envision a world which is not driven by consumerism and the need to make money. I envision a world where we can live free and autonomous lives aligned with nature, and have access to anything independent of how much we earn. I envision a world in which we can all feel fully received, valued and appreciated.





Of course, the perception of value is highly subjective. I might give you something truly valuable, but you might not be able to recognize it (yet).





But what if we could FULLY trust in abundance and simply give our gifts without asking for anything in return, knowing that we will always receive what we need and more, even if not necessarily from the same person we gave to or in the same moment? What if we could fully trust in a person’s deepest heart, in their ethics, sense of justice and capacity to tune inside, to recognize the value they receive(d) and to express their gratitude in an aligned way?





I am still not there. I see too many unconscious people and do not yet fully trust that I will receive enough in return if I don’t ask for a price upfront. There is a fear of actually disrespecting myself and my value. I also still believe that a price, even if a symbolic one, serves as a natural filter between those who are truly ready for change and those who are not. Which is why my current personal conclusion is that I need a balance of both: a base price that accounts for my time in the moment, plus the possibility (not the obligation!) to receive an additional gift anytime later, whether that be in the form of a monetary donation, food, fire wood, praise, word of mouth publicity, a service, a favor or a free gift that you yourself pass on to this world. That way I intend to give you the opportunity to learn to be more just and coherent in how you value what you receive, especially as consciousness evolves and your perception of value changes.





From now on, I would invite you to always check in with yourself regularly:





  • What has helped me most on my personal path (recently or in general)? In other words, what value have I received from whom?
  • How much do I spend on what things/activities and how does their value compare to what I received?
  • How much do I earn doing what?
  • What do I personally consider just and coherent?
  • If I would like to make an adjustment, what would feel most aligned?




Interestingly, since I came to these conclusions, and put them into words (but NOT yet publishing them) a few weeks ago, on one occasion a person made a donation to me after a conversation on my favorite topic, fertility, because he felt it had truly been a counseling and on another occasion a client who had received a touching meditation from me felt that my price was too low and insisted on paying me more…







                

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