pay what you can coaching

Should I Offer Pay What You Can Coaching?

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately so I want to address it head-on because there’s a bunch of things going on under the surface for us to unpack.

First of all, I totally get the desire to have accessible pricing. After all, most of us get into coaching because we want to HELP people — and that includes people who aren’t making mega-bucks, right? Which is very noble… until you can’t pay your rent and you’re the one in need.

The good news is that there are ways to have accessible pricing and have a business that makes money.

Here are a couple of Qs to consider when you’re thinking about pricing your services.

Q1: How’s your mindset around money?

Does telling potential clients your prices break you out in a cold sweat? That’s a pretty clear indication there’s some mindset work to be done.

Both pricing and mindset are HUGE parts of my program, Uncage Your Business, because getting the money mindset piece feeling good can be the difference between zero clients, zero money, and zero confidence, to a booked-out practice full of happy people raving about your services.

A common money mindset trap we see inside Uncage Your Business all the time is new coaches and service providers making assumptions about what people can afford. Just because we have our own mindset issues around money doesn’t mean everyone else does too!

Here’s my general motto about money: “There’s a lot of people in the world with a lot of money ready to spend it on a lot of different things.”

I saw a post last week about a girl on Instagram who gets paid $10,000 to help people name their babies. She makes over $150k/year.

Lots of people have a lot of money for a lot of things.

Ditch that “no one can afford it” myth and you might change your mind about Pay What You Can pricing.

Q2: How’s your confidence in getting results?

If you want to offer a pay-what-you-can pricing structure because you’re not confident that clients will get results working with you, I have some controversial advice: just start working with beta clients for free.

I know, I know, this goes against all that “charge what you’re worth” BS that so many business types spout on the internet (your self-worth is not tied to how much money you make – period).

You should charge based on the results you get people. If you aren’t sure yet if you can get results, you can’t come out of the gates charging premium pricing. Fake it til you make it does not apply when you are taking people’s hard-earned money!

It’s usually when we don’t feel confident in working with clients and getting results that we want to lower our prices. When you’re regularly practicing with real humans and start to see just how valuable your work is, you’ll quickly realize you can charge full price.

If you’re not sure yet if you can get the results your clients want, no biggie — just practice with a few clients, and see how it goes.

It’s a win-win: you’ve helped out some people for free, and you get to gain experience and confidence delivering your service, so that when you DO put a price on it, you’ll feel totally confident in what you are charging.

When it comes to creating pricing based on results, here are some prompts to consider that might put your prices into perspective:

  • How much money/time would it cost this person to do this on their own, without help?
  • How much has your client spent on trying to find OTHER solutions to this problem?
  • How much money will they be saving in the future by now having a solution to this problem?
  • Will your client be able to make any additional money once they have a solution to this (charge more, get a raise at work, etc)

Q3: Are you offering extended payment plans?

I’m a big fan of extended payment plans! In the past when we’ve revealed an 18-month-payment option for Uncage Your Business (which back then was 5-weeks long!), we generally had a flurry of last-minute sales. Sometimes people genuinely want what you’re offering but really do need more wiggle room to make it work.

If you’re offering a program that lasts less than a month, it’s up to you to decide if you want payments plans to run longer than the scheduled service. I tend to trust my clients (awww) and haven’t been burned yet, so my payment plans sometimes go longer than my actual courses. I know some service providers who will never offer a payment plan that goes beyond the scope of their work, and some who will set it to run months after their work is completed.

It’s up to you! But breaking up payments can be a great way to help make it easier for clients to say yes!

Q4: Have you considered a sliding scale option?

Ok here’s the truth: Unless you have a wealthy benefactor, or plan on starting a charity rather than a business (and so fundraising instead of selling!) accessible pricing for folks in need can’t be your entire business model. That is a super-quick train to burn-out town — and no one wants that (including the people who really need you.).

However, you could consider offering a sliding scale model for some specific and limited aspects of your business. Maybe you run an online workshop and offer three different options based on income. Or you could keep 2 client spots reserved for those who need sliding scale pricing (and everyone else pays full price). Or you could create a scholarship fund and have people apply and give away a certain amount of money in scholarship

s towards your work each year.

All of these options can work, but they have to be PART of your model, not the entire thing if you want to create a sustainable business

that actually allows you to not only pay yourself and pay your bills but also make enough revenue to continue to invest in and grow your business so you can help even more people.




Pricing is a HUGE topic we go super deep into inside Uncage Your Business. Check it out and learn how we can help you fill your client list, no complicated funnels or endless posting on social media required!

Need pricing help now? Check out our free Pricing Guide!