A Man’s Simple Perspective on Pricing and Footwear

Ladies, when it comes to pricing, the menfolk get it. I hear all the time how husbands & fathers think you’re crazy for charging what u do!

Men know it’s not about being affordable. It’s about getting exactly what you want, the pleasure of the perfect something.

If you ask me, that goes back to self-worth again. Women, you’ve got to get right with self-worth before you can get right with work-worth.

Tara Gentile via Twitter

After seeing this, this, and this from Tara on Twitter yesterday, how could I not respond?

Being the minority in most of the online circles that exist around Tara’s and my work, I thought it would be extremely helpful to present to you the overly simplistic view of pricing from the perspective of a man.

Well, this man anyway.

Prices Are Shoes

I bought some new shoes a few days ago. It was a simple and pleasurable experience, as it always is. If you saw me at SXSW then there’s a good chance you saw my white sneakers with rips, holes, and splits all over them.

The wear and tear represented two years of almost daily use and a lot of walking around. But, they didn’t last as long as I needed or wanted them to, so replacing and upgrading became essential.

Shoe shopping for me (and I’m willing to bet for most fellas too) is usually a very simple and pain-free process. I walk in, look for the pair I’m after, try them on briefly to confirm my suspicions, and then get in line to pay. If I’m by myself and not having to wait on anyone I’d say it usually takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

Before any criticism starts to make its way onto anyone’s keyboards, let me explain one thing. Shoe shopping isn’t this easy because I’m a guy and guys don’t care about what’s on their feet, or any other lame excuse women create to justify their unnatural obsession with footwear.

You’re right, though. Guys don’t care what’s on their feet. But I’m not a guy. I’m a man. And real men do care about what’s on their feet and understand the vast difference between just buying shoes and making an investment.

So, why does it only take a few minutes to buy my shoes? Because I get very clear on what shoes I want and why I want them before ever setting out to buy anything.

I research the closest place to find the type of shoes I’m after, as well as the most accessible method of acquiring them (i.e. buying them in person vs. ordering online).

In fact, during the course of that 20 minute excursion, I tried on a few other pairs I had originally thought I wanted, only to discover they were very uncomfortable and not at all suitable for where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.

It turns out the best quality pair of shoes available were indeed the proper choice. They were also being clearanced out, so I saved a ridiculous amount of money, but that’s neither here nor there.

When it comes to pricing my work, the approach really isn’t that much different from the way I find shoes

I do a little research, look at options, see what others are saying, make a decision, and then go apply the price to the product.

In fact, looking back on all the years I’ve priced my work and the work of others, I’ve never really had any hangups about setting premium prices for appropriate items. Ever.

Oh sure, there’s the occasional fleeting thoughts of doubt and feelings of uncertainty, but those are there to let me know I’m getting close to an ideal number. But not once have I ever been frozen in fear, fretting that the world will suddenly ignore my offering and call me insane for charging such high prices.

Do you know what sets me apart from you in how I price work, and purchase footwear?

I’m never, at any point, emotionally attached to my shoes or my prices

If I discover that after a few days my shoes aren’t what I thought they were and are causing pain, I simply replace them. I can exchange them for something better.

If I discover my prices aren’t working for what I want them to do, and causing pain, then I simply exchange them as well.

I don’t sit and contemplate my future because I have shoes that failed me. I don’t walk around in those ill-fitting shoes determined to live out my fate as a failure with terrible blisters.

Same thing goes for prices. If sales aren’t carrying me where I want to go in life, then I exchange the prices for ones that can. No emotions. No problem.

Pricing my work and shoe shopping aren’t activities rooted in self-worth for me

Tara and I agree most of the time on important things, but in this case she and I don’t really see eye to eye on one point: self-worth.

I say that because pricing work is never a reflection of self-worth for me. Instead, it’s a reflection of my awareness due to complete emotional detachment.

My shoes don’t boost my self-worth. I don’t need them to. They make my feet feel better and do look good, but I’m not focused on that, necessarily. I’m focused on getting where I need to go while walking in those shoes. I use those shoes to help me complete a vision I create for my experiences in life.

I have other ways of working on my self-worth rather than relying on shoes, or prices to do that work for me.

I’ve been through hell-fire and back in this life and have indeed learned an amazing amount about my personal worth, but in all honesty, it’s not a determining factor in my business decisions and actually never has been in the past, except in negative situations.

Emotional detachment, however, has been a real asset. The ability to step away from the situation and view it as business, to see products from the eyes of the consumer, and to work accordingly based on those observations, is priceless.

In fact, the times when I was very emotionally attached to things within my business, I got hung up on thoughts of self-worth, didn’t raise my prices accordingly, and suffered serious customer and income droughts.

So, going back to the idea of revealing a man’s perspective on pricing, it’s a simple one:

1. Let shoes be shoes and prices be prices.
2. Create a clear vision of where you want those shoes (i.e. prices) to take you and how you want to get there.
3. End emotional attachment to prices and even products.

It’s really as simple as that.

By the way, I’m teaching a very elite and dedicated group of people exactly how to achieve this emotional detachment and move freely into a much higher and premium business model in the new class that Tara and I are offering called, Make Your Mark.

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  1. I prefer the term “emotional discernment” to “emotional detachment.” To me, the idea that my emotions ought to be detachable sets off one of two responses: a) truly detaching completely from emotions (when taken to its logical conclusion) paths the path being a sociopath and b) on a less pathological level, since most of us can’t and shouldn’t completely detach from emotion, we are left once again feeling bad for our inability to detach from emotion. Emotional discernment means: I feel the emotion, I notice it, I listen to any important warning or heads up in might be giving me, and then I remember that I am not it and it is not me. (With gratitude the Carl Rogers:) I have emotions, we all do, but — on a good day — the emotions don’t have me.

    • Tara Gentile says:

      Minna, as someone who often rolls her eyes (with love, naturally!) when Adam talks about emotional detachment, I really appreciate your distinction! And, Adam, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Minna’s practice is pretty close to your own in actuality if different in semantics.

      With pricing, however, I think there is an important act of disassociation that needs to happen. YOU are not the thing being priced. YOU maybe integral to the delivery of your work but you’re not trying to determine your own monetary value.

      Your goal is to determine the appropriate price for the value & benefits you’re providing to the customer. Price really has nothing to do with you as a human being. Sounds straightforward but this trips people up more times than not.

      So, emotional discernment and personal disassociation. I can get behind that ;)

    • Adam King says:

      Well Minna & Tara,

      It’s yes and no.

      Emotional discernment is a valuable practice, and it’s where I started, but I’m speaking of true emotional detachment.

      Emotions, like most everything in life, are choices. It’s up to you if you experience them consciously or from unconscious reaction.

      I choose to remove all emotional context from simple things like tying my shoes and setting prices.

  2. Lori says:

    Hmmmm……I see your point and I agree that being detached from the prices is probably best BUT I create items that are giving people a piece of me, my soul. That’s my best work. I don’t create work to sell and when I do it’s crap. When I keep giving and letting myself be vulnerable by showing myself to the world, it still hurts when the world shrugs its shoulders uninterested or says that I’m asking too much in return. I think continued doses of rejection and the reminder that my work is not going to appeal to everyone may help toughen up my skin.

    • Adam King says:

      Hey Lori,

      Blogging, books, social media, and the high-end furniture I created, all stem from soul and purpose. So, I know what you’re talking about.

      It’s painful to see rejection of the personal work, but it’s also more painful to not allow yourself to use that rejection as a metric for what’s happening.

      There’s so much information in negative or no feedback. But, people (including myself) miss it because of the down hearted feelings from it.

      That’s where Minna’s idea of emotional discernement comes in. Step back to ask why you’re feeling that way, and then you can detach from the personal aspect of the situation and start looking at your products from the eyes of your ideal clients.

      Like everything worth learning, it’s a process that must be practiced continually.