Garage sales are generally not a good business idea, unless you're that person getting things on the cheap and putting them up on ebay for ten times the price.
And yet, we held a garage sale a couple of weekends ago.
They're a lot of work for little return. Making $200 for two 10 hour days of work is just a bit above minimum wage...but not when there were two of us working!
But somehow working this hard has a psychological benefit of getting rid of things that you have held on to past the point you should have. Things that no longer hold any value to you.
Then there is another non-financial value of seeing people light up when they find something they want or need at a great price! It adds value to where there may not have been any.
The whole experience certainly made me think about value and pricing, especially when I was exhausted, cold and just wondering why we were doing this.
You see, whether you are looking for a job, seeking a promotion or pricing your services to a customer as an entrepreneur, how you price yourself for the value you provide is always a tricky and complicated matter. Especially if all you are thinking about is the price instead of value.
My daughter reminded me of this when after the garage sale was finished I asked her how she enjoyed it. She said that she didn't.
When I asked her why, she went on to say that she didn't feel like she had done any important work since no shopper had given her any attention by asking for a price or for any help. She felt passed over and unimportant. Then she went on to say, "and I would have had to ask you anyway, so what would be the point?"
My response surprised her.
I said, "First, if you had told people that you were there to help, they probably would have asked you some questions. Secondly, if you did go and find me to find the answer they were looking for, then they would have had more time to shop. You would be doing something for them that they now didn't have to do themselves. That would have been very helpful"
What I described to her was how to create value.
Finding the value that you offer allows you to price yourself effectively.
Unfortunately, people often first think about price, without fully understanding their value proposition. Pricing yourself without fully understanding the value you create can lead you to give away too much or to overprice yourself out of an opportunity.
When marketing your services to an employer or a customer, you can't disregard price as part of your overall brand, since a brand is based on an economic exchange, but you always need to put it into the context of the value you are creating for your target market.
For my daughter, understanding that people who are shopping at a garage sale prefer looking and digging vs. constantly asking for prices can create an opportunity for her to deliver against. Finding a place in which to add value.
This could have provided her with the important work she was looking for... even if she wasn't yet naming her price!
So, will I do another garage sale? Probably.
Because value is more than just a price paid or in this case the money earned for the time spent. For me, there was enough non-monetary value created to offset working for less than minimum wage.
Especially since it provided a meaningful teaching moment for my daughter!
So, what about you? Do you know your value?
Find the ways that you create value both financially and non-monetarily to get a better understanding of your true value and it won't be such a tricky and complicated manner determining your price.