I first heard about it back in 2007 when I went to buy In Rainbows from Radiohead and they asked me to choose how much to pay. Radiohead released the album without a record label, and on average people paid around £5 for the download. I seem to remember that this worked out pretty well for them. A large cut of most artist’s profits go straight to the label. Once you take that out of the equation, £5 per record isn’t bad.
It wasn’t until we interviewed Tad Hargrave from Marketing for Hippies back in 2011 that I actually heard the phrase ‘bendy pricing’.
Something about the idea kept drawing me in and I finally implemented it this week with the launch of my new email package, 31 Days of Positive Action.
Watching Amanda Palmer’s recent TED talk was the tipping point. She was talking about the power of asking. She talked about the fear many people have of asking – it makes you vulnerable, and exposes you to rejection – and also about how it helps create trust, and to create real connections with your community.
I am asking for your help. Pay something decent for the course and not only will you have a great experience but you’ll be helping us to keep creating all this good stuff. 🙂
What do I like about the idea?
It opens the product up to anyone regardless of their financial situation. I want to be able to pay my bills, and go on holiday now and again (and do this by working at something I love), but I don’t want to turn someone away if they genuinely don’t have much money.
It’s an act of trust. This is the part that makes me vulnerable. I worked hard to create something and not only that – the content of the course is important to me. I believe in it. One voice in my head worries what people will think… another voice knows that it’s good material.
Part of the philosophy of the email package is that it’s good to act in ways which value your most important work, whether that means taking the phone off the hook while you write or buying a set of supportive emails that will provide a daily nudge to action. It feels like there is a connection between this valuing and asking you to decide how much to pay for yourself. Choosing how much to pay is practising respecting yourself and your work.
Why pay at the beginning and not at the end? Surely you won’t know how much it’s worth until you’ve done it? Passing a hat around at the end of a day workshop is different to bendy pricing for an email package. At the day workshop you engage with the facilitator and the other participants. It’s hard not too when they are right there in the room with you.
It’s much easier to ignore an email. And if you leave them unread you won’t have a great experience of the product. Our experience is that when you pay at the beginning of the course you are much more likely to engage with the material – after all you’ve already paid for it. (Think how much easier it is to miss an event where you buy the tickets on the door, as opposed to when you’ve bought them in advance.)
Is it working for me?
Since we launched the produce a few days ago the average amount people have paid is £14.40. We usually charge £15 for this type of package. So yes – it’s working for me at the moment…. I’ll keep you updated. (Radiohead went back to charging a fixed amount for their records, but I think our community is better than theirs.)
Is it working for you?
Perhaps it’s too early to say. No-one has completed the course of emails yet, but do leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Will we do it again?
Sign up for the wonderful 31 Days of Positive Action and receive an essay on goal setting and how to take action as well as 31 emails supporting your most important work, nudging you into action each day and encouraging you to work better.