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Delightful Dissent Re. Pricing Plans

After explaining in detail the reasoning behind why I charge $50/month for white-labeling, I was delighted to receive a comment containing most thorough dissent from Michael Leahy, one of the newer customers of CoachAccountable, and one of my favorite for his high level of engagement and input.

I believe it’s the first real criticism ever to be expressed in the comments of this humble blog, and while the always-positive environment of the community’s feedback is a delightful boon to my morale, it does pose within it the chance of this devolving into a sort of rosy echo chamber.  By contrast, Michael’s strong opposition brings forth the chance for a lively exchange and exploration of ideas (if you haven’t read it yet, go check it out first before continuing), and affords me the chance to get off my laurels and work through a thoughtful response.

This is good stuff, so I’ve opted to move this more center stage into a post of its own rather than have it languish in the comments section.

Here is what I sent last night in response to Michael’s comments, edited slightly to make it fit for public consumption:

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your feedback.

After reading it through I’m left to wonder in earnest: why are you still a customer?  In asking that I’m not suggesting that it doesn’t make sense that you are, for I can think of numerous reasons based on your kind feedback that the system is overall doing good things for you and your clients.  But now on two separate occasions, one private and one public, you have railed against the pricing I have set to say it is not cost effective for you, despite that pricing being identical to what it was when you first signed up (barring the addition of Groups, which you then didn’t even know existed).

Moreover in your public comments you have insinuated that I’m ignoring the needs of my customers, am gambling with their future to overvalue and overprice, and am acting in a way that is emotionally too attached.  All while stating plainly that this is why software developers fail as business people.

I don’t want you to be suffering at my hands if you feel I’m recklessly running my software business.  I would miss you as a substantial paying customer, and more importantly as a fan and collaborator with your wonderful and insightful feedback.  But I will understand if my choices in the matter don’t work for you, and I will continue on serving the ever growing number of other coaches who do indeed vet my estimation of value by their willingness to pay for it and by their expressed appreciation.

Whatever your motives and whatever works for you ultimately in your coaching solution, I’m for it.

I’ll end by answering your question of why on earth I would hold out for a higher fee “knowing” your hypothetical and/or inaccurate suggested numbers, and it’s a reiteration of what I’ve already stated in the post: before I even contemplate lowering my pricing to serve the masses, I’m going to continue to work VERY HARD to make it so that your average coach, like you for example, can effectively sell and deliver coaching services to N more clients per month than they otherwise could, at their usual $X client revenue per month, such that N times $X is WAY more than the monthly $Y for CoachAccountable.

Ask for yourself what N needs to be in order to satisfy that equation, 3?  2?  Perhaps even 1?  For most coaches’ value of $X, I can put way more money in their pocket by helping them make N higher than I ever could by minimizing $Y.  (And then there’s the value those N additional people will get by being effectively coached, also a lovely outcome.)

That is the game I will continue to play as I grow this platform.  Whether you’re in or out, you have my deepest respect.


Fun stuff.  Nothing like a public challenge to bring out one’s A game.

After sleeping on it I see there’s one other piece of clarification which I should probably add.  I mentioned in an offhand way that I will accept going out of business should I fail to make a product worth the cost that I have set.  Michael says it is NOT OK for my customers if I happen to miscalculate and happen to go out of business, and wonders if I was being trite in saying that.

The answer is yes and no: I’m completely serious when I say I deserve to go out of business should I fail to create something worthwhile, AND it’s a fairly flippant remark to make at this stage, given the ever growing number of paying customers whose average spend is about $100 a month.  So don’t worry, CoachAccountable isn’t going anywhere.

Michael was kind enough to reply this morning.  It’s not my place to quote his words publicly, but suffice it to say his words came from a place of impassioned commitment to see CoachAccountable thrive, a sort of tough love that perhaps wasn’t fitting for public display.  Fair enough, I’d say it was every bit as pardonable and cliché‎ as a parent who cramps his teenager’s style through the occasional bout of excessive worry.  I’m good with it.

So to you, Michael, a heartfelt thanks for your contribution to a lively exchange.  In doing so you’ve given me a gem of an opportunity, to stumble upon what is perhaps the most real claim of value that I can offer via CoachAccountable:

N times $X >> $Y
N = additional clients thanks to CoachAccountable
$X = their monthly spend on your coaching
>> = WAY more than
$Y = your spend with CoachAccountable

It’s totally not catchy, but goodness the implications of this are nice for the future of CoachAccountable, the coaches it serves, and their naturally results-getting clients.

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