Here’s what I found when I offered something at a pay-what-you-can rate.

Having seen, the knock-on economical effect of the c-virus personally, I wanted to help out in some small way. And the only thing I have to share is my knowledge and experience.

Even though my main aim wasn’t to make buckets of money from this, I still felt a little icky about making an offer. So, I decided to open up a beta program I was running at a pay-what-you-can rate. That way people could pay me $1 if that was all they had and I felt less icky.

Pay-what-you-can is not something I had tried before so along with wanting to help people I was quite curious whether it would be effective or not.

Here’s what happened:

Initially I shared my Paypal link along with the first week’s content from the program (having not released the second weeks content yet). Of the 8 people who asked to sign up and received the first week’s content- 1 person made a payment.

For the next 6 signup requests, I sent an email thanking them for their interest in the program, along with the Paypal link – no content. 2 people made a payment but none of these two people have participated in the program yet.

Here’s what I learnt:

  • Those 30-day full refund offers are important. Even though they didn’t pay for the content – it is possible that these people signed up on a whim and experienced ‘buyer’s remorse’. Or they signed up and it wasn’t what they expected, which happens. Either way if they had paid in full for the program, I’d much rather refund them instead of have them not participate in the program. Or worse- case scenario, provide negative feedback because they weren’t a good fit.
  • Giving clients complete discretion over what to pay may be perceived by some as pay-nothing. While others may feel confused/conflicted about what an appropriate price is. After one or two requests from conflicted people, I sent a range of $10-$100 and most paid between $10-$50. Having no expectations on this I was surprised that no-one paid lower than $10.

This made me curious and I decided to see if anyone had any success running a service-based business using the pay-what-you-can/pay-what-you-want model. And it turns out there is and her name is, Tara Joyce. It also turns out that my choice in the word ‘can’ vs the word ‘want’ influences the results. Can implies that the client is lacking and may have a lot to do with my own money mindset (yes – I’m working on that, thanks Denise DT). Tara, points out that the word ‘can’ also “encourages people not to consider the long-term value of what they are receiving but instead to focus on what they *think* they can afford in the moment”. It seems this little word may have had quite a significant effect on the results of my own experiment.

In my quest to find a better, more fulfilling way to make money off the services I provide, I will definitely use the pay-what-you-want model again. And I highly recommend you pop over to Tara Joyce’s blog where she talks about building a business from the inside out. We are in a shifting world and maybe building businesses to aid our own personal growth is the better way to do things.

Have you tried the pay-what-you-can/pay-what-you-want model before? I’d be interested to hear what your findings were.