The other day, a contact on Linked In messaged me as he had wanted some help on a one-to-one basis, with advanced Facebook Ads Training. When we gave him the price for a 1-2 hour session, he suggested it sounded “too cheap for dedicated time” and said he would pay a different sum which was twice the quoted price. In conversation, after the training was delivered (which he was happy with!) he mentioned that we could be charging a lot more for our training!

So why don’t we increase our prices?

He is right, I have twelve years of digital marketing experience, I have owned and ran an E-commerce business, hold an advanced Facebook Ads Buying Certification, have an impressive portfolio of keynotes and TV appearances and have handled hundreds of thousand of pounds in ad spend over my career. Why am I giving away everything I know for £30 for a training event?

You probably think I am mad. Others are charging 3-4-5-6-10 times the price that we are! We could too, so why don’t we?

We don’t do this for the money

This might sound like a cliche, but it is true nonetheless. My Digital Marketing agency (Hesford Media) does well enough to keep me adequately supplied in Botox and Jammy Red Roo, but The Small Business Academy was never really created to make money.

I created The Small Business Academy to help people. To help the little people, the start-ups, the local business owners, the freelancers and those desperately trying to make their business work to feed their family. And I do this because in 2008, I was a 23 year old single mum launching my start-up fashion e-commerce business with not one iota of knowledge about marketing. I didn’t even know what a domain name was!

I attended free courses ran by well-meaning organisations, but they were often frightfully poor (I attended one marketing class in 2009 ran by a gentleman whose marketing advice was to “ensure your car is clean at all times, as this is the shop window to your professional image”…) and many more where the speaker was clearly giving a few mediocre snippets of useful advice, as a lead magnet to up-sell services at the end.

Anyone who has attended my training events will know that I never try up-sell, the most I might ask for is a review, and that’s if I remember! (I usually don’t!)

As my agency grew, many small businesses would come to us with tiny budgets asking for help. I knew my agency could not grow if our capacity was taken up with labour intensive, low value work but at the same time I couldn’t bear to turn these people away into the arms of the snake oil guru’s, promising six figure sums after a week if they parted with two grand for a Facebook Ads course. Most of whom did a two-week course, on how to sell a course, and have never actually ran a successful Facebook Ads campaign in their lives.

We have to remember our ‘Why’

While it may be tempting when there is high demand to ramp up the prices – we have to remember our why.

I remember the sheer frustration in 2008, of trying to find reliable advice and information. The agencies did not want to entertain a single mum with a start-up business, and I could not even afford the £100-200 courses delivered by my local Chamber or local business networks. I worked it out through trial and error, and made a lot of (expensive) mistakes along the way.

Yes I could charge £100-200-300+ and I would get bookings from the law firms, the established businesses and those willing to put it on a credit card in a desperate bid to make their business work. But the little guys would struggle to pay it. But that isn’t the ethos of The Small Business Academy. And it never will be.

They all say ‘there’s no money in local / small / start-up business’ and they’re right, that’s why nobody wants to touch it with a barge pole. But we aren’t here to rake in the cash, and there’s only so much Jammy Red Roo a person can drink. Even if that person is me.


(Written by Nikki Hesford, Founder of The Small Business Academy)