Every Thought About Pay What You Want Pricing?

I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Not quite the trailer park, but literally down the street from the entrance when I was visiting my mother. Where I grew up in England, I would have been considered rural hick. No matter where I was at, I was on the lowest end of socioeconomics. 

I didn’t notice until it came time to getting resources specific to my needs. Then, tensions rose because finding the money for it made it apparent that we didn’t have financial wealth.

We got creative as a family. Not everyone in that situation has the ability or family “make do and mend” attitude we had. Some people are either on their own, overwhelmed, or a combination of variables where a helpful hand up will help them find their balance, giving them the ability and hope to continue on.

But how to do that without putting Insanitek at financial risk? 

I brainstormed quite a few things at first. Scholarships? Grants? Freebies?

I know from experience that free does not always do the job. You have less respect for something you haven’t put skin in the game for. That includes things that you are not paying for. 

At first I wanted to do grants. They would put skin in the game with the application and competition process. But, we didn’t have enough money to create one for a while, and I wanted to help people now.

I first learnt about pay what you want (PWYW) pricing when I was setting up Insanitek from a guy named Tom Morkes. While Morkes chased the easy money in business consulting to naive wantrepreneurs, the concept of PWYW pricing made me sit up and take notice. I had been looking for a way to help those in lower socioeconomic positions that I had been in most of my life. Giving people the ability to pay what they wanted/could afford or even taking resources that could help them for free was an intriguing concept. It appealed to my desire to help the world at large without putting my company in jeopardy. 

The idea is easy. We all give away content in the form of blogs and video all the time. Someone of low income and few resources will find these helpful and grow. But, if they want to grow further and still don’t have the means, we can give them the next step with the option to pay.

Prime candidates for this would be digital items that took relatively little overhead to create. For example, an instructional booklet (like our Flash Math packets), small e-books, and mini courses.

You can take this a step further. Say you have a rather large e-book that took a year of dedicated research and writing. You deserve to be compensated for that time, but you want to get the information in front of as many people as possible. You can set a minimum price that you’ll accept for the book, and allow people to still pay what they want and think it is worth to them.

This has had an unexpected bonus.

You have to earn your worth in their eyes. You can’t just state it and expect them to believe it. We’ve had to scale up our standards in order to really earn people’s trust.

People have tested us out with our live workshops and these PWYW items. They love our style and get progress in their personal life for it. This, in turn, has lead to more people finding us through recommendations and growing our company.

But they wouldn’t do this if it was clearly marketing without the high standards behind it that delivered what they needed. This has made us better in the long run.

And The Money Question?

We’ve had the PWYW option in our store since we opened. Only a handful of people have used it, and of those handful most have paid a nominal amount. But, we’ve received a couple emails of thanks from some for this option. 

TY for having easy to follow directions on your Flash Math files. I have 5 of them, and each one has helped me pass a quiz.
Toyin Shelen, Student
thank you for the small packets in math! They have helped me with my self studies in preparation for joining a public school next year.
Darryl Gash, homeschool student

Mission accomplished. Though, I’d like help more people, I’ll take these small wins.