Charging what you are Worth

Attractive young businesswoman by transparent board

When it comes to charging clients do you feel comfortable with how much you are asking for? Or are you aware that the likelihood is your services are actually worth a lot more?

There are many reasons as to why you may not be charging “what you’re worth”. Sometimes it is simply, taking the time to look at what we believe about ourselves and working on changing any limiting beliefs. Or perhaps not always so simply if you have ever tried to change your mind set about something, it takes work and practice. But the truth is, and research has shown, that if we can change the way we think about something, we really can change our lives and our businesses as well.

So how do we go about this, making it as painless as possible? Firstly, find a quiet space to spend some time reflecting and ask yourself some questions about what exactly it is that makes you uncomfortable.

  • Do you feel guilty?
  • Do you feel that your time and your skills and experience are not worth what you’re charging?

Or, on the other hand:

  • Do you feel undervalued?
  • Do you feel resentful that you don’t charge enough?
  • Do you feel greedy when you want to ask for more?

People have all sorts of limiting beliefs about themselves and about money and these can complicate the process of charging what your worth. But they’re not insurmountable. Because, at the end of the day, these beliefs are just perceptions. And we can change our perceptions. Here is a way to help figure yours out: Get a piece of paper and a pen. Now sit quietly, take a few moments and ask yourself: What are my beliefs about money? Write everything down. And then look over the list just once.

Now, scrunch that piece of paper up or tear it in half and throw it away. You don’t need those old ‘limiting beliefs’ anymore. Take your pen and get set to draw yourself up a new set of affirmations. Sticky note them on your computer screen if you need to, and look at them every time you write an invoice. Remind yourself that feeling guilty is totally unproductive. It is the greatest destroyer of emotional energy. It leaves you feeling debilitated. It shatters self-esteem, creativity and personal growth.

Remind yourself that:

  • You turn up to work every day and are loyal, dependable and trustworthy.
  • You work, and in return, you get paid, as do all other employed people in our society.
  • It’s the norm to be paid. It’s not the norm to work for free.
  • When someone provides you with a service, you expect to pay him/her and therefore others should expect to pay you.

Also remind yourself that:

  • You are worthy of this money.
  • You are skilled and talented.
  • You bring a unique perspective to any project and that is precisely why your clients want you.

Repeat these supportive statements to yourself as often as necessary.

But as much as you may need to change your thinking, you also need a solid pricing strategy that’s based on extensive market research. And you should be able to explain all fees and charges. Prepare some well-articulated and well-rehearsed statements, for example:

“My services are priced roughly mid-range because ….”, or “We’re priced at the top end because we can ….”.

Know your value.

Know your market differentiator. This might be as simple as your experience in a particular industry, or the fact that you can commit to working weekends to bring a project to completion, or that you have proprietary technology or research about a subject that cannot be obtained elsewhere.

Get used to talking about money with your clients. If you sense at the outset that a client will have a tight budget, which is often the case with start-ups and SME’s, broach the subject head-on with a question like: “Would you like me to provide you with a couple of pricing options – I can send them later today via email?”.

This way, you get to control the agreed inputs, rather than struggle with it after the project is completed, and after you’ve put in more hours than the client can afford. This way, it’s written down too. And you both get a chance to review the numbers before you talk again.

People often avoid discussions about money but if you can keep an open dialogue, then it is a less troublesome subject. One way to do this is to include ‘budget’ or ‘fees’ as an item on your agenda even when you’re having ‘informal’ catch ups with your client’s part-way through projects. This way money becomes part of your regular dialogue – something you both expect to talk about and do talk about, often.

Finally, make sure you are transparent with fees and other charges, and that you can guide clients through the benefits and the value of what you’re offering. If you’re not sure of the benefits and the value that you’re offering them, this is where insecurity and self-doubt and those old-limiting beliefs can kick in. So, sit down now, and type some up while this whole idea is fresh in your mind and refer to this list often.

With a change in your mindset, a fresh perspective, a few practical strategies and a little bit of effort when your mind slips back into old thinking patterns, you can stop feeling uncomfortable about money and give yourself and your business a change and a chance to grow and prosper, perhaps in ways you never would have expected or dared to hope for.


Sally Hams

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