Stop Undercharging: Tell Yourself a Better Story
Something that comes up every time I teach a workshop is the issue of pricing.
At least one person expresses the concern they can’t price their work to make a decent profit, or worse, that friends and sometimes colleagues encourage them to set low prices “because you sell more that way”.
I meet too many people — all of them have been women — who tell themselves they can’t command a proper price. They secretly believe they don’t deserve it.
I know that because I’ve been there, too.
You might find yourself nodding. Or wincing. Don’t beat yourself up about it — you have lots of company. But it’s time to change the way you think about yourself and your work.
It’s time to tell yourself a better story.
If you’re new at what you do, you won’t price the same as seasoned veterans. Smart business people in every field do their research so they know where they fit in terms of their skills, experience, offerings and price. Once you’ve done that, you still have to respect the value you bring to your clients and customers where you are right now.
Telling yourself you’ll feel better if you charge less is not a sustainable marketing strategy.
It doesn’t matter how your mindset got undermined. It doesn’t matter if you do it because you’re unsure of yourself, or if someone flat out told you to charge less. If that’s where you are, it’s time to start digging yourself out of that hole.
If you own a business, you’re responsible for everything. You’ve learned your trade, and have to keep those skills in top form. You also have records to keep, clients and customers to serve.
You have to promote your business, which often means learning technologies, and marketing strategy and tactics. You might even have paid staff to manage.
Running your own business requires executive-level skills. Never take that for granted.
Get into the habit of reminding yourself of everything you do. Make a list if you need to, and put it where you’ll see it every day. You don’t have to be perfect at everything. No one is. Acknowledge and honour where you are — you have grown and will continue to grow — and never apologize for charging a fair price.
Shifting your mindset might feel uncomfortable at first, but if you can get used to being paid less than what you’re worth, you can get used to being paid properly.
Focus on the right customers, wherever you are in your business. Keep the future in mind as you continue to sharpen your skills.
Ask yourself how a professional at your level would approach their pricing — because that’s what you are.
Tell yourself that story. Practice it every day.