Yesterday, I helped a Cushion user with a simple issue. Typically, if the issue is small, like pointing something out that they didn’t see, I tend to ask a follow-up that answers a question that I have. Since I’m aiming to restructure Cushion’s plans in the new year, I asked why they opted for the Starter plan vs the Pro plan—a common preference this year. They said business is slow this year, so they actually downgraded from Pro to Starter. This makes complete sense, but it struck a cord with me.
Rather than push ahead with business as usual, like the world isn’t wildly different and more difficult than previous years, I should take this opportunity to meet folks halfway. While Cushion is certainly feeling the effects of the pandemic, the stability of my full-time job lets me sleep at night. Most freelancers probably can’t take a breather during this time, so folks are looking for ways to cut back. One way I can help is by offering Cushion at a discount.
Instead of launching the new pricing page with strategically different plans that wedge folks into the Pro plan, I could launch with three plans that include all of Cushion’s features—the only difference is the cost. The Pro plan can remain as it is today, but instead of the Starter plan, I could have the “Subsidized” plan. This plan would be identical to Pro, but discounted for folks who need it. The last thing I’d want to see is someone reluctantly disrupting how they organize their freelance life simply to save a few bucks a month. To offset the Subsidized plan, I could offer a “Supporter” plan for anyone who wants to indirectly “sponsor” a subsidized user. I’m not banking on anyone actually choosing this plan, but it’s there in case anyone’s feeling generous. Regardless of what happens, I’m prepared to take the hit if everyone downgrades to the Subsidized plan.
I’ll be honest—the self-conscious side of me worries that this might be too little too late. At the same time, I feel it’s better late than never. We’re still in a pandemic, and while the vaccine announcements certainly give us hope, we still have a ways to go before everything gets back to normal. Even after the virus is gone, plenty of folks will still be recovering from the hit their business took during the pandemic—I just hope it doesn’t leave a permanent dent in the freelance community. Everyone should have the opportunity to work for themselves if they want to.