EP 284: Pricing On A Sliding Scale With Corpus Ritual Founder Jennifer Patterson

Jun 9, 2020 | Business Models, Podcast

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st-century economy with your humanity intact. Click here to support this work.

In This Episode:

  • Why grief & trauma worker Jennifer Patterson prices a significant portion of her work using a sliding scale
  • How a sliding scale system increases accessibility to valuable healing work for people from disadvantaged and marginalized communities
  • Why Jennifer priorities clear & direct communication when it comes to how people find the right amount to pay
  • What she thinks about “charging what you’re worth” (hint: she’s not a fan)

People with power have used it violently against others throughout history.

We are being reminded of this right here, right now.

Before I get into today’s episode, I want to make sure that my position—and the position of my company—is clear. We condemn police brutality and state-sponsored violence. We believe Black lives matter. People took the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others unjustly.

To our Black listeners, I want to acknowledge your cumulative pain and thank you for the superhuman ways that you continue to show up.

To all of the indigenous people and people of color who listen, I want to acknowledge your cumulative pain as well. Thank you for continuing the work.

This show is all about learning about what’s working to run and grow a small business.

However, the question that feels most urgent right now is:

What works to end this violence, to end our systems of oppression, to end the continual trauma perpetrated against Black people and people of color?

The answer is… I don’t know. I’m listening to the people are working toward these ends though, so that I can do better work myself.

But I do know that just as power can be used for harm and violence, it can be used to make new culture. It can be used to set new standards. It can be used to create new systems that take the sanctity of all lives and the dignity of all work into account.

And I know that business owners have power.

We have the power to do things differently. We have the power to question how business has always been done. We have the power to question the leaders who encourage us to exploit others and ourselves in the name of success.

This month on What Works, we’re talking about money. Money is a tool for creating change—and it represents cog in the system that has been used to exclude, exploit, and dehumanize people for a very long time.

When we start to question our assumptions about money and its role in our business, we start to undo that system little by little.

Today, my guest is Jennifer Patterson. Jennifer is a grief and trauma worker and the founder of Corpus Ritual.

Jennifer operates a significant portion of her business on a sliding scale pricing system. She does this for all the reasons I just outlined. She sees pricing as a way to work towards economic justice and make valuable services available to everyone—especially people from marginalized communities that need it most.

We’ll get into exactly how this works in just a minute—but first, I wanted to share that money is not the only way we can create change through our businesses.

White supremacy and systems of oppression are at work in the default ways we operate throughout our businesses—marketing, sales, management, hiring, communication, and more. One resource that I’ve been sharing a lot over the last few months is an article titled White Supremacy Culture Characteristics by Tema Okun and Kenneth Jones. It is an incredibly clear outline of how we hurt each other through things that just seem so… normal–like perfectionism, urgency, either/or thinking, and fear of conflict.

Without intentionally making choices that reverse these cultural characteristics in our businesses, we’re likely to perpetuate the system.

If you’re a white business owner like me, I invite you to take the next step beyond speaking up, donating, and educating yourself to start dismantling the ways White Supremacy culture characteristics are built into how you do business just like I am.

I also recommend taking a listen to The Opt-In With Aurora & Kelly—and the interview they did with Dr. Amanda Kemp gets into how White Supremacy culture plays out in the workplace.

Now on to my conversation with Jennifer Patterson. Jennifer and I talk about how she made the decision to operate a large portion of her business on a sliding scale, the role educating her clients plays in making her pricing system work, why she doesn’t believe in charging what you’re worth, and how she manages the money coming in and out of her business.

Finally, this episode was recorded recently—but before the murder of George Floyd and the protests in response. It’s very relevant to how we can take action as business owners but doesn’t address this crisis specifically.

Let’s find out what works for Jennifer Patterson!

What Works Is Brought To You By

Mighty Networks powers brands and businesses – like yours! – that bring people together.
With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place:

  • Your website
  • Your content
  • Your courses
  • Your community
  • Your events online and in real life
  • And charge for them…all while building YOUR brand.

Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support