In 2009, Tara Joyce began a fascinating experiment. She decided not to set prices for her business offerings, and to explore, document, and share the viability and drawbacks of employing this alternative pricing strategy. For over 5 years, Tara experimented with different approaches, selling both products and services, physical and digital, developing insights into what is needed for a business owner to sustain and prosper from allowing their customer to determine the value, and price, of what they receive. In this article, Tara discusses her ‘Pay What It’s Worth’ concept and its role in creating an economy of integrity.

Thoughtful Intentions Make Strong Foundations…

If you imagine a different kind of market society, and a different way of valuing the world, understand that you have the opportunity to create it. You have the power and ability to create your own economy and your own model for doing business. What I mean by this is you have the power to create your own means for exchanging and valuing your products and services. You have the power to decide what the currency of giving feels like in your business. The type of economy/market you inhabit, as a customer and as a business, is yours to define and to choose.

When building your Pay What It’s Worth pricing system and communicating about it, consider what economy you want to participate in and act accordingly. Each decision you make, in business or not, is an investment in your wealth creation. It’s your responsibility to treat this relationship with care. Your relationships are the foundations of your business.
In being clear in your intentions and acting on them, you’re harnessing your power and ability to create a value-driven and integrity-filled world for your business. And in allowing your values to drive your decisions, you’re creating and supporting a sustainable system for valuing the world.

This is your economy of integrity. It’s your unique wealth creation strategy comprised of investing in the long-term growth of not only your business, but all its stakeholders. And it’s your foundation for building relationships of enduring value, strength, and sustainability of your system.

Consider Your Customers

Your foundations of integrity require the intention of empathy. Thinking about your customer, and the experience they are receiving is necessary for building integrity in your economy. This includes considering the experience of working with your business and the feelings this experience creates in your customers. These components are, in essence, your brand. The experience your business creates for your customers stays with them. They remember it. You ‘brand’ them with it. The way you ‘brand’ people is your most powerful tool for communicating your integrity.

Building your relationship of trust, however, can’t be one-sided. It must be based not only on what your business does, but also on what your customers do. As Dale Carnegie said, “Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.” You get to create opportunities for your customer to show their love and integrity and for you to show yours. You get to co-create the currency of giving, aligning on and inventing how you exchange value together. In doing your best on behalf of your customer, and trusting that your customer is doing their best on behalf of you, together you will create something truly lasting and valuable.

Create Value

Your foundations of integrity require the intention of worth. Creating products and/or services that offer lasting value for your customers is necessary to build the foundations of integrity in your economy. If you are creating authentic value, you aren’t selling a commodity; you are creating something truly distinctive, something completely unique. It’s important you believe this AND communicate it. Do not ask people to fairly value something you are not fairly valuing yourself.

What people value, they will pay for. You may need to help them to do it fairly. You can do so by focusing on your customers and protecting the unique value you create for them. When you focus on the value you create you will observe your business becoming a mini-monopoly, where your customers are willing to pay for the brand they trust. For you are the only You.

Act with Integrity

Your foundations of integrity require the intention of mindful action. In every decision you make, nurturing and protecting your integrity is necessary to build the foundation of integrity in your economy. It’s your responsibility to invest in abundance. And it’s your job to consistently work on aligning your actions with this intention. Your integrity is your most valuable wealth creation tool and it takes daily practice to consistently make choices that support its growth.


By Tara Joyce, author of Pay What It’s Worth

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