What a Coconut Can Teach You About Charging What You’re Worth



I was just opening a young coconut with a corkscrew, and boy is my wrist sore!  Most coconuts open up immediately when I use a corkscrew to dig a hole so I can stick my straw in it.  This one was taking so long and required digging in 4 different areas!  It was a huge ordeal–I had to put my whole weight on the area where I was corkscrewing it open.  I started to get hot and felt like I was working out.

In that moment, I was thinking to myself that I wished I got the coconut from Whole Foods instead.

You see, Whole Foods sells fresh young coconuts for $2.99 and has a hole already dug in it, plus they provide you with a straw you can pull out of a container when you decide to buy the coconut.

I buy my young coconuts from an Asian grocery store that sells them for $1.85 without the straw.   Whole Foods’ young coconuts (the same brand) are a 60% markup from the Asian grocery store!  Sixty percent.  And I see people buy it day in and day out.

This is what you can learn from Whole Foods:  take something that is the same thing other places sell, add value to it, and charge more for it.  People buy the coconut with a hole in it for a % markup and they gladly pay it, so they don’t need to have sore wrists like me.

One fear holistic health practitioners share with me about charging more is that they are afraid people will stop using their services.  An acupuncturist I was talking to last week said he lowered his fees because people said they were too much.  He’s afraid of increasing them now because he’s worried his patients will leave.

The problem is, when you raise your prices, do you also add more value (or perceived value)?  Yes, prices may be adjusted for inflation with reason.  But if you offer the same exact thing at a  significantly higher price, it’s inevitable that some people will not come back.  The question is…what can you do to offer a higher perceived value?

One way is to explain what you do to potential clients in a way that highlights more value.  This can be done by focusing on sharing the benefits of what a potential client would experience by working with you, rather than focusing on the process they would experience.  For example, instead of just telling a potential client that during a reflexology session they would experience a foot massage, say something like “you’ll feel more relaxed from the stress you’ve been feeling all week, toxins will be eliminated, you may experience better sleep and and balance of your digestives  [or whatever other problem your client may be experiencing].

Another way to charge more is to actually add more value.  What can you do to add more value without it taking much more of your time?  This is something I work on with my private clients and which makes a huge difference in making more income in their practice.  We work on re-designing the way they offer their current services.  Then we package it and market the services in a way that is more attractive, justifies a higher value, and charge more for it.  It allows them to charge a lot more without having to work harder.  And their patients/clients don’t mind it, because they appreciate more value (perceived and/or actual).

Now, during the in-between period, you may lose some of your current patients/clients.  At the same time, you may start attracting clients you want to work with and who can afford your services.  What would it be like for you if you could start charging more and only work with the clients you most enjoy working with?  Would you make more consistent income?  Do you think you’ll enjoy your practice more, and your clients would appreciate you more because you’re not so burned out?

Naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, health/spiritual coaches, or massage therapists:  
Comment on what fears you have about charging more.  You may also comment on what you’ve done to add value to your services in your holistic practice to charge more for it.
 And if you have any tips on how to open up a young coconut without breaking your wrist or exerting all your energy, do share!  I’m addicted to them and drink them every day…

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  1. Anna anderson on September 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    This is great to read right now! I have just increased my prices for homeopathy after being in the business for 6 years!
    With so many voucher sites about now therapists can feel pressured to offering a deal. But then you often attract people looking for deals and may not stay with you no matter how great you are!!

    Choose your price, feel confident and comfortable with it and you’ll attract clients that value what you do and offer.

    • Annabel Parker on August 13, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Chen, I really liked what you wrote on this site. Your comment on being confident and charging what you feel you are worth WILL bring me the right client, who is meant to see me.
      I am at the end of my studies and will soon graduate as a Naturopath. It can be very daunting stepping out of the comfort of the classroom and mock clients, into the real world, real clients, real situations, real symptoms.
      Your words have given me a great boost and has planted a seed of positiveness within me. I can only hope with hard work and dedication, I will succeed. Thank you : )

      • Chen Yen on August 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm

        Hi Annabel, you will succeed! If you haven’t had a chance to yet, register for the free teleseminar “3 Steps to Fill Your Practice Fast in Less than 3 Months”: http://www.fillmypracticefast.com/# I think it can really help you. Congratulations on graduating soon!

      • Chen Yen on November 16, 2013 at 3:27 am

        Hi Annabel, you will! (I saw your post come through initially, and realized I didn’t get a chance to respond). Don’t hesitate to attend one of our upcoming teleseminars if you feel it could be helpful: http://www.fillmyholisticpractice.com (click “Get Clients”)

  2. Tamara on September 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks Chen. I am a new practitioner to my field of sound healing and feel I am charging what I am worth. Fortunately, this is something my teacher reinforced. However, it hasn’t resulted in any clients paying the full amount. I plan on implemented your recommendation of focusing on the benefits and will let you know.

    Young coconuts are a favorite of mine too. I use a small hatchet and make three cuts across the top creating a triangular lid that flips up to reveal all that pure bliss inside. The hatchet will pay for itself with the money you save by purchasing the coconuts from the Asian market. Plus it’s really satisfying to hack into something. Especially when you make any sound that wants to come out like…HiiiYaH! A free little sound healing tip given in gratitude for your work. 🙂

    • Chen Yen on September 21, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Tamara, let me know if you get better reaction from your potential clients when you more focus on the benefits.

      Great idea about the hatchet! I can see it being kind of fun to have HiiYaH! go with it. Will look at investing in one. Then can open up the coconut to eat the meat or put it in smoothies too 🙂

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