When we set out to honor the Lord by working with our hands, we didn’t see how, in this day and age, we would actually be able to earn a living at it. But He had very clearly put it in our hearts to study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you (1 Thessalonians 4:11, KJV), and so we determined to simply obey, step-by-step, and trust the Lord to work out the rest.
As the time came to set pricing for the things that we were making, we had a choice to make – whether to follow worldly wisdom regarding market-pricing and advertising and sales and such, or whether the Lord had something else in mind for us.
From the beginning it was clear that He did not want us to spend time learning or studying or following the world’s way of selling. We would keep things very simple. No setting up ads on our online platforms, no clicking the Promote button to reach more viewers, no using all the tricks of social media to increase followers…Just good old-fashioned business cards, a listing in the yellow pages and maybe some local publications, and trusting the Lord to be our advertiser, as He is everything else to us. No researching price points or setting up sales and marketing strategies. Just determining an honest price, and trusting the Lord to be our provider, as He is everything else to us.
But what is an honest price? Thankfully, the Lord had been preparing us for a long time to understand what an honest price might be. We have no debt, and He has been reducing our daily expenses over the course of many years of redefining the term “necessary” in our lives!
But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:8, WEB)
Interestingly, we realized that, at this time in our lives, for our family of five, the nationally-identified poverty level is a living wage for us! And we found that to be so honoring, in terms of pricing, that we would be establishing a level, not of prosperity, but of poverty…And that the poverty level, because the Lord is gracious, has become a level of contentment for our family!
All of our pricing is based on material cost, plus the time it takes for us to produce it.
My husband’s hourly rate, as the primary wage-earner for the family, is set by taking the national poverty level for a family of our size and dividing by 40 hours a week for the year. The hourly rate for me and for the children, since all of our income is essentially extra, is simply set at the Maine state minimum wage. Hours are tracked by individual project to determine the final cost that the item is listed at. Since each piece is individual, if the item is sold through a venue that charges commission, the price for that piece is increased by the amount of the commission.
Book pricing through Amazon was a bit different, of course, because you put hours in one time but have the potential to sell that product many times. In that situation, I simply prayed to determine what was reasonable for our take-home portion of the book. I take home about $5.00 of each book, and Spencer takes home about $3.00 of each book. For all similar print items, I expect to follow a similar method, praying to God for guidance as to what a modest and reasonable take-home portion will be.
This pricing structure makes some (maybe all!) of our items quite expensive compared to what else is available on the market…But our objective is to simply honor the Lord, by having absolute integrity in how we live, and how we work, and how we sell. I hope this transparency is helpful to you in deciding whether our choices make our products a good value to you!
“Two things I have asked of you; don’t deny me before I die:Remove far from me falsehood and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is needful for me;lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is Yahweh?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God…”(Proverbs 30:7-9, WEB)