How A “Poverty Mindset” Really Affects Your Business And Your Clients

Alexis Fedor

Carretera y paisaje.Viajes por carretera

Do you ever worry about how much to price your offers in your business with your art? Are you concerned that people will judge you based on the price you place on your work, or that you need to carefully adjust your prices to match your “competitors”?

I used to play that game when I was starting my first business, and it was the most miserable state of mind I had experienced as an artist and business owner. It got me absolutely nowhere in terms of growing my business in revenue or profits.

I finally sought out advice on how to approach my pricing that completely took away any worries I had about how people would perceive me. I was told time and again by successful business owners that I needed to leave my “poverty mindset” behind. I finally listened and felt much better about how I was treating my clients when they paid me what my services were worth.

But nothing drove the point home more than my experience with Anne, the dry cleaner.

Having a good tailor is very important to me, mainly out of necessity- I’m an in-between height so most pants and skirts or dresses I buy need either taken up or in certain places. Having a tailor I can rely on eases my mind every time I buy a new piece of clothing I know would otherwise cause me stress.
When I used to live on the Upper East Side of New York City there was a dry cleaner right below my apartment building and the woman who owned it did all the alterations. Anne did a beautiful job on all my pants and skirts, and I came to have a lovely relationship with her.

One day I brought in a dress that needed work in more than one place, as it didn’t fit quite right. I would not have normally bought it but I loved it and it was perfect for my close friend’s wedding I was going to in two weeks. I knew it was going to be a more complicated job than what I normally came in with, but I had all the faith in the world Anne would do a wonderful job on it.

After she got done pinning all the places she would need to alter, she looked at me with a very worried look on her face. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I will need to charge you more for this,” she said. “I understand, of course, this is a big job,” I said to reassure her. She still looked concerned. “How much will it be?” I asked. She told me the price, and I said, “no problem, that’s perfectly fine.” She still looked concerned. “Is there another problem? Do you need more time that two weeks?” I asked, trying to get to the bottom of why she was appearing upset.

“No, two weeks is fine,” she said. “It’s just that it will cost too much. I can’t do it.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I tried one more time to assure her I was ok with her price and tell her I really needed her to do it because I didn’t have anyone else to go to, but she simply nodded her head no. I left, dress in hand, utterly beside myself.

I had never experienced firsthand how detrimental this “poverty mindset” could be to a person or a business like I had in that situation. She was so uncomfortable charging what her service was worth that she literally turned me- one of her best and most consistent customers- away instead of allowing me to pay her for her work.

Part of me was angry- I had to take the time to go and find a new tailor for no apparent reason and didn’t know where to begin my search. Part of me was heart broken- I had established a relationship with this woman over the years- I had taken all my dry cleaning to her and recommended her to everyone in my building- and now felt pushed away. And part of me was utterly fascinated that this was what a “poverty mindset” really looked like- and felt like- from the client’s perspective.

I never went back to her because I simply didn’t feel comfortable taking my clothes to her anymore. I wanted to go to someone I could trust, rely on, know they would provide me with the services I needed, charge me a fair price and hand me over good results. After all, that’s all anyone wants when we pay for a service or purchase an offer of any kind- results. In short, I wanted to know I was going to be treated like a valued client. Whether Anne realized it or not, she did not treat me as a valued client. She pushed me away out of her own fear of charging what she was worth.

Taking your business with your art to the next level of growth can be a simple, exhilarating experience once you shift your perspective from worrying about your pricing to thinking about the value of your offer and your ideal client’s needs.

This is exactly what we focus on in the 14 Day Art Biz Challenge, which is coming up again on June 13th!

To join, CLICK HERE!

AND, because you are committed to taking your business with your art to the next level of growth and are a valued member of my community, I’m offering a one-on-one strategy session during the 14 Day Challenge for you only. If you would like this for yourself and your business, leave a comment below about which part of your business you’d like to improve during the Challenge!

By sharing your own story, you are helping other artists realize their full potential with your voice, and for that I am grateful!