I make choices with every word and image I put in the world. My goal as a business owner is to be mindful of the impact of my choices. I cannot know every ramification of every choice. But, I can ask, why am I doing this?
Clarinda Braun, Toi Marie Smith, Jade T. Perry, Sharyn Holmes, Kelly Diels, The Ethical Move, and my study of nervous systems have taught me that everything about the way marketing and “business as usual” is meant to move people farther from their agency in the service of making money.
I cannot live that way.
I cannot do business that way.
And I recognize that I am deeply socialized (thank you, James-Olivia Chu Hillman, for introducing me to Bobbi Harro’s Cycle of Socialization) and conditioned around a specific way of doing business.
So here’s my transparency around my own work in progress that is my business. Here’s what I’m aiming for:
I want you to have as detailed a picture as possible of what it is like to work with me. Then, you get to choose if that’s what you want. I’d like you to make the most informed choice possible at every point.
I don’t focus on pain points because I don’t believe you’re broken. I refuse to show you a set of symptoms and then tell you I’m the answer to a problem you didn’t have.
I create full consent resources. If something is available on this website, you don’t have to enter your email to get it. My email list is a work in progress, and it is the best place to get the first information about what’s coming. My hope and dream is to build it differently, but I’m not there yet. For an example of my favorite email newsletter, see Toi Marie Smith. I read hers every time it hits my inbox.
Prices have round numbers. I learned about charm pricing from The Ethical Move. So there are no 9s here. I also put the total amount when there are payment plans, so you know what you’re getting into. And that may feel scary.
Pricing is tricky all the time. My friend Christine Gatson-Michalak has changed how I think about pricing and class consciousness over the years. Everything sold on this website has multiple options for payment. If there is a payment plan, it is what I call a no-penalty payment plan (I believe Kelly Diels uses this language as well). That means it is not more money to pay over time. Often, the time frame is longer than the program itself (this comes from Bear Hebert).
A commitment to equity. I am committed to keeping 1/3 of all spots in any of my programs free. I know this is just one way to deal with pricing. These spots are available via my email list. In addition, all of my digital products have an optional pay what you choose link.
No false scarcity. You’ll never see a ticking clock asking you to make a fast decision. Sometimes, for cash-flow purposes, I may say, hey, if you get in this time frame and help me out, you pay less. But in general, I try not to. If you see a date and a countdown, it is because that’s when the thing actually starts.
No price stacking. One of the most common practices is to say, hey, here’s a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve assigned a value to that you get for less money. It’s meant to make you think you’re getting a deal. I don’t do it here. That’s not to say my work isn’t valuable; I refuse to move that way.
Social proof in certain places. Toi Marie Smith has asked us all to question how, why, and where we use social proof (or testimonials). She points out that it adds pressure at checkout in a way that doesn’t keep full consent. So, you won’t see testimonials at the checkout. Instead, you can see them on my homepage and the testimonials section.
Scheduling and calendaring. I am a Capricorn with a calendar which means I love it. I love a calendar. And I used to think very differently about what it meant when people didn’t show up. I still love my calendar because it helps me order my world in ways that serve me. But, there is no penalty for a no-show. I assume that if you make an appointment with me, you’d like to keep it, and if you can’t, something is happening for you. You don’t owe me an explanation of what is up (but I’m happy to hear one). All payment is taken at the time of booking, but you do not forfeit your payment for a no-show. You can always reschedule.
There are no refunds. This is the same for group programs. If you cannot attend, your payment will be applied to the next thing you’d like to do together. Because of the nature of digital offerings, I choose not to offer refunds. If there is something to discuss, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businesses can change the world.
Part of being an Abolitionist is working to undermine all systems of oppression. Capitalism is a system of oppression. So, where does that leave a small business owner?
For this company, it is a commitment to the following actions:
- Accountability - We often conflate accountability with punishment, but our practice enhances the quality of our connections and facilitates personal and societal liberation. We work with an accountability board that challenges us to grow and free ourselves individually and collectively.
- Revenue Equity & Profit Sharing - The goal is for everyone who contributes to be compensated equitably. We strive to reimagine how we think about compensation and reciprocity. This requires treating work with dignity and coming to an agreement about how we meet our financial needs from a place of mutuality.
- Reparations - We believe in reparations for African-Americans in this country. 20% of company profit (with a goal of 20% of top-line revenue) goes to Black-led organizations doing Abolition work.