Karina O’Donnell is an Independent Celebrant. Her business is Simply Ceremonies UK. Karina creates, writes and presents bespoke and personalised wedding and vow renewal ceremonies, baby namings and Funerals
Q: How did feelings of value and worth show up for you?
A: Once my training was completed, I was given a minimum price to charge for ceremonies but I found that I wasn’t making much of a profit so I increased this, in line with other celebrants by 10%.
I targeted myself to create 10 weddings in my first year and doubled this. I increased my target again the following year to 30 weddings and created 32. I considered increasing my fee to not only reflect the experience I now have and the service I offer but because I was turning business away….last year I referred 19 weddings to another celebrant. However, I was worried that by increasing my fee I would lose too many clients and I didn’t believe that anyone would pay my new fee.
Q: What steps have you taken to overcome the challenges?
A: Following Mastermind support I considered two changes. Firstly, to charge a referral fee, after all they were valuable leads due to my reputation and marketing. This has provided a small but significant income.
Secondly, I have created a price structure based on peak/off peak dates and this has given me a minimum price I am prepared to work for and a top price which truly reflects my worth. I have lost clients due to cost but not as many as I thought I would and I know from reactions that others consider my fee to be a lot less than they anticipated so this is a win win.
Q: What can you do now that you couldn’t before?
I have increased my client numbers already for this year and am taking bookings already for 2018 and 2019.
Another change the increase has allowed is that I have been able to get time off and holidays planned in early, to fit in outside of peak wedding season, but when a well-earned rest is needed.
Q: How does that make you feel? What differences have you noticed?
A: I am confident that I have the right balance and I’m no longer competing with local celebrants as when I pass work to them they are charging the same higher fee too. This has proved that clients do appreciate the value of our work and we now compete on service and personality rather than cost.
Q: What would you say to others who feel they undervalue themselves?
A: I occasionally have wobbles but have never dropped below my minimum.
I analyse how much time I spend per client to ensure I’m receiving a fair price and although it’s still small profits, it is a profit.
Q: Do you have any wise words for anyone else who is having the ‘am I worth it?’ dilemma?
A: Apart from join Metis Women?
Do your research. Have a min/max pricing structure which allows you to drop the price if necessary, but over time you will find that the only price your charging is the “You’re worth it” price.