Charging What You’re Worth
Written by Laura Prather on May 21, 2017
I love how life is like a giant tapestry or a massive puzzle.
Everything that happens in our life, the little comments or experiences, all get tucked away. Sometimes they seem relevant right then and there, other times they stick in the back of your mind and hang out there until something else happens days, weeks, or even decades later when another experience will trigger that memory. Eventually, enough of those events happen until one day, something insignificant may occur and – BOOM – a picture appears and you experience an AHA! moment.
The older you get, the more AHA! moments occur (I am discovering).
This week I had several, but one, in particular, has taken something I know and agree with in my head, and finally knocked it over the edge, tumbling down and landing firmly into my soul.
It’s the idea of what I am worth as a business professional.
WHAT IS MY TIME WORTH?
I’ve heard numerous times over the years to not be afraid to charge what you’re worth. The thing is…that is a very subjective statement. What does that mean? Where do I start? What I think I’m worth and what others think I’m worth can be two very different ideas.
But that is the point I learned this week: People often REFLECT back what WE think we are worth.
Mull on that for a moment….
A few comments were made to me recently triggering my recollection of past comments from the last 2 decades and it hit me like a ton of bricks: I was subconsciously projecting, through my demeanor and THINKING, that I was not worth as much as I was asking for. There was a disconnect between my words and my thoughts. (Read the book of James in the Bible to see what God has to say about double-mindedness.)
PEOPLE TELL US WHAT WE THINK WE ARE WORTH
I’m starting to figure out people we interact with on a regular basis are like a magical mirror. Their words and reactions to us can reveal so many things. Fact is, we are all spiritual beings (whether you are “religious” or not). Folks are able to sense the energy, aura, or other intangible feelings. We’ve all known that person who brings an electrical charge of energy to a room, or another who sucks the energy out of a room. That’s what I’m talking about. Whether people realize it or not, they are telling us so much about ourselves by their reactions to us.
So going back to discovering what we are worth….
I recently had an encounter with a business owner who wanted to use my services. When I quoted them my price, their reaction was a quick, “Oh no way! Forget it.”
In the past, I probably would have caved and done it for a fraction of what my posted rates are. This time, I held my ground and smiled, simply saying, “Ok.”
Inside, I told myself, “You are worth every penny you charge. You are a professional.”
This same person came back to me about a week later to talk about it again. Again, I quoted my rates (which are still lower than industry average) and I received the same response. This time it hit me that I must be the one that is creating these responses because it happens a lot. I realized that I didn’t believe my own preaching.
My mind began to recall all the statements that have been made to me over the years. These are some of the reasons given to me for why I wasn’t paid what I was asking for (whether in a job or as a business owner). Keep in mind that these statements go from the 90s all the way to last week:
- You’re single and don’t have to support a family.
- As a single mom, we can’t rely on you as much because you don’t have help with your child.
- We’re looking for the most recent graduate.
- That’s so expensive! What about $10/hr.
- You’re married, so you have your husband’s income to fall back on.
- You don’t have little kids to support.
- Since you’ve been self-employed for so long, you don’t have the work experience for that pay grade.
- No one of importance reads your work.
- Nobody knows who you are.
- Will you do ______. I’ll pay you $10/hr.
- Oh, well I only want to use X number of the words in your article, so I’ll just pay you for those.
- Men have more financial responsibilities.
- We’ll consider you for the position if you’ll commit to making this job a higher priority than your child. That means missing his birthday if we need you to.
- You’re a single mom. We can’t depend on you (yes, I heard this multiple times).
- We have to cut your position because X has a family to take care of.
- Men just get paid more.
- You haven’t had a “real” job in a long time.
I’m sure there are more but you get the point. In addition to that, it has become very clear that by virtue of being a Mom, and someone who has worked from home most of my adult life, that what I do isn’t considered “real work”.
IS IT A “WOMAN” ISSUE?
Now, before you immediately assume that men said all these things and think this way…it occurred to me that I have this trouble with women MORE than men. Men value getting paid for hard work.
Women…well, we EXPECT to do hard work whether or not we get paid. Honestly, how many of us EXPECT to not get paid well (down deep).
Sure, there still are some men who subconsciously assume women belong at a lower pay-grade, but it was eye-opening to me that I experience this reaction from women more than men. (That would be an interesting research project on why.)
However, I can’t help but wonder if we, as women, feel threatened by other women making good money? Or that somehow, by virtue of motherhood, we shouldn’t make too much money because then it is a sign that we are putting money before family?
I have to admit that I am guilty of both of those and I am deliberately shifting my thinking. As I value my services more, I value the services others can provide for me as well, mom or not!
CHANGE MY THINKING, CHARGE WHAT I’M WORTH
I’ve had enough recent pushbacks on my fees for my services that it was like a breath of fresh air this week to finally realize that they were simply a reflection of MY SUBCONSCIOUS THINKING.
>>I am my own barrier in charging what I am worth.<<
Fear kept me from genuinely thinking of myself as a professional. As a result, I felt obligated to give away my services at greatly discounted prices. The good news is since I AM MY OWN BARRIER, I can fix it! I finally came to a point of revelation and told someone who scoffed at my prices that I was a professional and my services were worth every penny and more. No explanation necessary.
I just said it as FACT, and my soul believed with my head (single minded).
Ironically, the day after I had my professional “come to Jesus” moment, I received a note from a client, with whom I had just raised my rates, and in response to the rate increase, they said: “The quality of your [work is] great, and I appreciate you and your work!”
Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! My time, experiences and skills from the last 30 years are worth something!
So, what is your hindrance to charging what you are really worth? Tell me below!