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Elliot's Thoughts on Pricing

I created a video presentation: Elliot's Thoughts on Pricing. Features:

  • Shares interesting thoughts on pricing
  • Elliot talks through the topics rather than reading slides
  • Discusses Elliot's Gumroad product pricing and broader issues
  • Learn common ways people are irrational about prices
  • Not a complete pricing guide
  • Not an introduction
  • Provides food for thought and insight into Elliot's thought process

(Under promise and over deliver! I don't want people expecting something they won't get.)

And I've set up a store page which I added to the blog sidebar.

Lots of edits went into the video and the bonus audio discussion, take a look:

Those edits were done in Screenflow.

I do image editing for the cover images with Pixelmator.

And I now have a mic with tripod and pop filter :)

EDIT: I removed the store link from the sidebar because Gumroad doesn't work very well (e.g. crops images to look awful on mobile, has scrolling and blank space bugs on mobile). I looked at some competitors and found similar problems, e.g. the homepage of sellfy currently has an image with a person's head cropped off and some text cut off mid letter. I don't know what to do because I don't want to code a whole store myself, but I also don't like using broken and unprofessional-looking stuff. I haven't decided yet.

Elliot Temple on October 1, 2016

Messages (2)

Context: We were discussing Hourly Billing is Nuts by Jonathan Do. Mostly the concept, which we've seen elsewhere, since neither of us has read this book. I was watching graphic designer, marketer and business coach Chris Do give some talks on pricing on YouTube and then talk with Stark.


Chris Do says his approach works on someone who is a business owner AND entrepreneurial.


ya. he also sells more concrete stuff than i do from mainstream pov


I dunno about selling to individuals.


pricing easier for designers and coders

i think Do and Stark both sell to individual freelancers


Most businesses know that one of their main goals is to make money.

Individuals who are freelancers qualify as business owners AND entrepreneurial.



Stark says pricing rule of thumb is 10% of value to client

Goldratt charged less than that when helping big cos

from what i’ve seen


Did he?


he’d charge a % of increased profit but only a few % i think


I actually don’t know numbers, but I thought they did try to get a percent. Maybe not.

Ah ok.


like 3%? not sure offhand

it’s hard to get biz consulting or freelancer advising type work without doing a bunch of social dynamics + creating social network. i’d like to do some…


I think value pricing is fundamentally a bit strange. Pricing should be set by supply and demand. I think there’s a niche where value pricing makes sense, but I don’t know how to articulate it. It’s something like where there’s a lot of value to be gained, and a lot of uncertainty about how to do it, so there isn’t exactly a liquid market for it like there is for Nike shoes or whatever. In this case, you just want the value and if you find someone who you are reasonably confident can deliver that value at a cost of only 10% of the value, you’ll take them up on it.


yeah i think looking at value add compared to what competitors are offering is important. this fades away with more unique offerings like FI.

but it’s very important for e.g. logo design


If you could just get your foot in the door with a few businesses who would give you testimonials, then you might be able to get grow or at least continue without social stuff.

Not saying you need social stuff for the initial jobs either.


if u can just do the same thing as competitor then u should charge about the same amount.

if u can add some extra value above competitor then u can raise price based on that




most ppl don’t want what i do, like criticism or non-mainstream ideas, and won’t trust my conclusions that they don’t understand without tons of problematic social proof.

example: virtually no responses to Max tutoring vids


I agree that the issues you listed are big factors. Maybe having testimonials wouldn’t be enough,

enough, period.


getting testimonials in first place requires finding ppl who like me. and it helps a lot if they are competent in various ways. come off as reasonable in testimonial. are capable of making stuff with value which i can help incrementally improve (rather than me dragging them from zero to not-zero, which is generally too much work and risk)


Makes sense. I retract my testimonial idea.

curi at 5:03 PM on October 22, 2020 | #18390 | reply | quote

#18390 People[1] don't want to buy "get better at philosophy", *especially* when that's a high risk outcome that depends on their own skill, competence, rationality, integrity, etc...

And especially because most individuals are not in a position to pay much for it or to monetize the results. Most people are an employee or don't work (e.g. child, student, retired, stay at home parent, young adult who's traveling).

They don't have a profit engine that can be improved by 10% or 250% if they improve at thinking (and/or get some direct biz tips/guidance/etc from me). They aren't a CEO. They aren't a business owner or freelancer in an area where pricing and profits can scale way up very easily or foreseeably (though there are a lot more opportunities than people realize in a lot more fields, FWIW, plus you can pivot some).

People don't trust my business and Theory Of Constraints expertise like a few of them respect my philosophy expertise. That's a broad problem: people who know I'm good at epistemology often start doubting me when it comes to applications of rational thinking to understand other fields: history, economics, art, AGI, politics, relationships, parenting, psychiatry, physics, etc. But if you don't want to trust my expertise, then either you have to learn to think better yourself so you can judge way more ideas more confidently yourself or else I have to do a bunch of social proof stuff which is how you evaluate lots of stuff whether you admit it or not.

Most people aren't in business decision making roles and aren't in a position to get much personal benefit even if they managed to deal with a bunch of hurdles and create a big improvement for the company they work at. Which is OK (though tons of people would be better off changing it) but my audience is pretty small and, currently, staying small, so it's hard to work with a category of people that's only a small fraction of my audience (despite my audience being biased towards having more freelancers, CEOs, biz owners, etc).


[1] Except Max!

curi at 5:48 PM on October 22, 2020 | #18399 | reply | quote

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