“How do you make a major change to your business, like charging where before it was free? What happens to the clients you already have?”
Good Q. I think you might want to consider charging NEW clients from hereon in and not necessarily making it universal. i.e. all old clients like it for free and don’t like change, they got used to that and they are comfy with it. You don’t need to charge them unless you want to. I might do that if I were cross with them for taking the Mickey but honestly, that’s not a good abundant place from which to come at this. Don’t punish your clients for your business decisions made in scarcer times.
We discuss this on the podcast quite often, and I discussed it with another client only this morning, it is a burning topic this summer. [Good job something’s burning around here ‘cos it ain’t me! No, I lie. I am suntanned, just not quite enough for my liking.]
You know how if you are an early adopter of anything you can often get it free for life but newer customers pay? That business model is normal. I got in early with my online diary and it is free to me, forever I think. Newer adopters pay. All quite normal and businesslike and if people want freebies they can go elsewhere, or decide to stay and pay.
Could you align yourself with that sort of thinking?
I believe it is called being “grandfathered in” which means your clients keep the rate at which they joined and if that rate is free, then lucky those people. If you have people who are already enjoying your norm, whatever that may be, I probably wouldn’t change that. Maybe they already form the useful solid base of your community, which makes your thing look like a lively attractive place so they do have a value to you. And now, new people wanting to join that same community will be invited to pay. And they will know no different and all will be well.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, the answer to this question is no need to change your whole business model unless you want to. Just invite new clients from a certain date onwards to pay you. Job done! And you might consider, as we have already discussed in my Ask Judith Facebook Group, putting a Patreon or PayPal donate button on your website so that those who do get it for free can make a donation as often as they feel like it. Always make it easy for people to send you money.