So, you have passion, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a great concept. Now that you’ve started your business, how do you charge? The biggest hindrance for people in charging what they are worth is their own sense of self-value. Historically, there is a misconception that “if you are worth it, your pay will reflect it.” We see this when we get a raise at a review, a bonus for a job well done, or are applying for a new job. While these benchmarks have a place, they make it hard for us to separate emotion from money when the time comes. The sooner we understand that money and self-worth are not intertwined, the sooner we can replace the worry of telling clients our fees.
The first step is to not discount yourself. What do I mean by that? This works on many levels. Never think of yourself in a way that promotes self-doubt. You are talented and have something to offer the world. Additionally, as discussed in “Charging What You Are Worth,” the fatal flaw as businesses start out is the thought that they need to discount their work to get clients. This leads to many issues going forward and can greatly limit your capacity. So, make the decision that you and your business have value and own it.
The next step is to determine what it is that you do that brings value to your clients. Sit down and really think about this. In this exercise, do not compare yourself or your business to other businesses. Look at your length of time spent learning your craft. What classes or courses did you take – at what cost? When did you become proficient? It’s easy for us to say, “it’s so easy for me, so it doesn’t have value.” But that’s not true. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, and it’s not easy for someone without your experience. Now look at what you do for your clients. Turn your statements from “I do this” to “this helps them.” For example, “I do all of their bookkeeping and this helps them focus on building the new bank.” What contractor wouldn’t want more time to focus on the jobs that bring in money rather than balancing the books?
The next thing to do is to determine which client is the right one for you. We touched on this in “’The Customer Is Always Right.’ But they may not be the right client for you.” Don’t be dragged down by clients that are looking for the cheapest service. There will always be someone cheaper. Retain the clients that value what you do. And remember, this isn’t always the client that pays the most. There will be gems in the cost-conscious clients too.
Next, believe it. If you don’t see your own value, your clients certainly won’t. Changing your mind set will take time. Make sure you state your value, and then back it up with the proper service. Once people modify their thinking from price equaling value, and see value as value, the pricing will feel manageable.
Lastly, talk it out. You can’t do this alone. It takes a truly exceptional person to see and feel their own value all the time. Get a good team behind you, or even one really good shoulder, and talk through your doubts and worries. When you feel bolstered by the truth that you hear from others, your own feelings will follow behind.
All of these things should be reviewed periodically. Life changes, and it is important to not remain stagnant. Be confident in yourself, your value, and your prices.