Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Priceless Company

What I intended to write about today was the raucous and very fun evening last night when Culley's household visited for dinner. I intend to share my delight in 2 year old Nell rolling sheets of tissue and securing them firmly with Dora Explorer Band-Aids while Mackenzie and Huck reshaped the headlines of the Sonora Union Democrat with black pens. I wanted to joke about John channel surfing for results of the New Hampshire primary while Culley spouted his Libertarian viewpoint on the freedom to heat by wood. I wanted to revel in the fact that Andrea happily previewed the pile of books I got for Christmas. I wanted to describe how Cindy and I created a smorgasbord dinner to combat our feelings of inadequacy about preparing a meal for the two best cooks in the family. The food and company were great and I'd like to report more, but what has consumed me since their visit are the results of an email I opened after they left. The message was a response to one of my initial queries asking for freelance work.

Everything I've read told me to be prepared for this question, but I wasn't. Here's the question? "Do you have a pricing structure you can send us?" OOOPPPS!!! I was priceless!

But by midnight I had pulled together a suitable document that I was rather proud of. Cindy seconded this opinion, confirming that my prices were reasonable and my language left ample room for flexibility. I was so tired after creating the pricing document which I didn't get to until AFTER I washed every dish and pot that we owned because we had cooked so many different things for our smorgasbord that I fell into bed and went right to sleep only to wake up at 3:30am thinking about a writing proposal I had promised a local business woman following an interview we had on Monday about me writing for her company.

By 4:30, I knew I wasn't going to go back to sleep, so I got up and started working on the proposal. By 9:30am it was done, and I had used my newly developed pricing schedule to included costs related to each service that I was recommending. I decided to let the proposal sit while I went to work on one of the Tall Tales I was writing for ABC Teach (my very first freelance job). But first I sent the pricing schedule to the gentleman who had first asked for it. After two hours on the Tall Tale project, I reread the proposal. It still sounded good, so I emailed it to the woman. Within 5 minutes, she responded: "EXCELLENT!" she wrote. "I want to do it all!"

I was stunned. I had expected her to chose two maybe three of the tasks I had suggested. Not all of them. Everything I'd read about business planning encouraged developing a clear pricing structure (Chris Bibey; Collis Ta'eed; Mark Silver to mention a few). But I was unprepared for the satisfying results of one sleepless night and a clear pricing structure. As Mark Silver says, "The price brings the whole idea of whatever the offer is into concrete, grounded here-and-now-ness . . . The price represents a choice point."

And now I have a second job--one that will have me working for several months. I would venture to say the priceless company of family that preceded creating my pricing schedule and proposal gave me the boost I needed to get the job done! Thanks you guys.


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