Well its been almost two months since I began my ‘give freely receive freely’ experiment, so I thought it was about time I posted an update about how it has been going.
To re-cap, I am trying this experiment with my clinical work (Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong Therapy, Massage and Lifestyle Advice). You can read the explanation that I first posted about this on my clinic website here: http://developyourqi.com/?p=468
Since that time I would guess that maybe about 40% of my clients have paid a bit more than they would have in the past, about 40% have paid about the same and maybe 20% have paid a bit less. So overall, I think I am a bit ahead in terms of the money I have received for my clinical work compared to what I would have under my previous set price approach.
I have not had a huge rush of people booking in for treatment as some people thought I would with this pricing approach, and I think there are two reasons for that.
1. I think that still not a lot of people know that I am using this ‘give freely, receive freely’ exchange idea.
2. People are unfamiliar with the idea, and maybe a little uncomfortable about it.
This is not surprising at all as it is an unusual idea and one which is quite different to what we are used to in our normal day to day transactions. Some people have actually done some research into this kind of exchange – referring to it as ‘pay what you want’. You can read about some of this research here: http://www.economist.com/node/21554218
One of the key findings from the research was that less people would buy something paying whatever they want for it (even though they could pay nothing if they wanted to) than would buy something with a low set price. I believe that this is because most people have an innate sense of what is a fair exchange, and only want to engage in exchanges that feel fair to them.
I believe this is a very good thing – even if it does not maximize income. My aim in experimenting with this type of exchange is not to maximize the money I receive, although I certainly wish to have enough to pay for my needs my main aim is to engage in a more free type of exchange with people that encourages them to think about and recognize the true value of what they are doing. This requires thought and can be quite difficult when people are not used to considering economic transactions in this way. It is also to make my services affordable to everyone, not matter what their economic circumstances may be.
From a therapeutic point of view I believe that this type of exchange can be beneficial because it causes the patient to consciously think about the value of the treatment they receive. All to often we go through life not thinking about the reason or value of what we are doing. By consciously thinking about this it helps to open the way for the patient to actually ‘receive’ the benefit of the treatment. In the end while I as a practitioner will have an effect on the health of my patients, most of the work is going to be done by them. It is their cells that will have to repair themselves, it is them who may have to do remedial exercises, it is them who may need to make changes to eating habits, lifestyle and thinking patterns. Conscious engagement in assigning value to the sessions they have with me can help to create commitment on both a conscious and unconscious level to follow through on what they need to do to become well.
This type of conscious engagement can then spill over into other areas of their lives as they learn to recognize value in what they do. They will hopefully continue and do more of the things that are truly valuable and find themselves doing less and less of those things that have little value or even take value away.
It has been interesting over the last few weeks as I have shared this ‘give freely receive freely’ idea with people. I have found myself eager to see a new client or one I haven’t seen in awhile, as much to share this concept with them as for any other reason. I have seen many smiles, nods of agreement and a few laughs as people have heard or read about the concept. Some people have been excited and enthusiastic, others self conscious and maybe a little confused. No-one has been outright negative. One client who was not very happy with his work situation told me that what I am doing had inspired him to investigate a new joint venture opportunity that was coming up.
The Experiment Continues
It is early days for the experiment yet. I plan to keep it going for now, and maybe permanently. I am actually already thinking about how I might be able to viably use this concept for some of the other services I offer.
I do hope that as I continue people will become more and more comfortable with this concept. ‘Give freely, receive freely’ does not mean that you suddenly have to pay more for something to show that you fully value it, it does mean that you have to engage with your role in an exchange and deal with concepts of value, integrity and fairness. I hope that people will remember that what is ‘fair’ for them to give in an exchange has a lot to do with their resources. Those who have little should not feel bad that they can only give little. Those who have a lot should feel good that they are able to give a lot. And those people somewhere in between (which is probably most of us) need to be realistic about what they can give in an exchange – so that they are satisfied and feel good about the exchange, both what they have received and what they have given.
I know that this is challenging and maybe even confronting when you are used to having the price of something set for you. But I think there is real value for both parties to exchanging in this way.
I have quite a lot more that I would like to write about ‘give freely, receive freely’ and the way it can change our perception of the world around us and our relationships with others. That is why I have set up this blog. I think the idea has potential, and I am sure I will learn a lot more about it as I experiment with it in practice. I realize that to some of you this whole concept seems very strange, but I hope that you will continue to read this blog as I post more about my ideas and experiences with this concept, and maybe it will still seem strange to you, or maybe it will start to make sense. At the very least I hope it will give you some food for thought and maybe even some entertainment.