You Don't Charge Enough. Here's How to Fix That
BY Marla Tabaka
Constantly undercharging, or not charging at all? Don't give away the farm. Ask yourself these powerful questions to grow your confidence--and profits!
This week I received three phone calls from three separate individuals, each with the same problem.
They each said they believe they can't charge what their services cost, because if they did, the people who need them most might not be able to afford them.
I see this internal battle quite often. It's a mindset that simply has to change. Too many gifted entrepreneurs, with much to offer the world, are failing at their mission and suffering from a consistent lack of income because of it. Does accepting money in exchange for your expertise conflict with your value of giving back or helping others? Do you tend to struggle with how much to charge for your services and give away too much because of it?
Let's talk, because I've been there!
When I launched my coaching business in 2004, I felt a sense of unease about accepting money from struggling entrepreneurs. How could I ask for money when they could barely pay their bills? I was rooting for each and every one to succeed. This discomfort lasted for exactly four months, until one of my clients soared from very low profits to six-figure profits within just a few months of coaching.
Had I diminished my capacity to help this client, she may not own a multi-million-dollar business today. Who knows if she would have achieved the ability to make significant contributions to the causes that are so close to her heart? Would she have found another way to employ more than 100 people? Perhaps she would have found other means to overcome the challenges that plagued her life and business for more than ten years, perhaps not.
What I do know is that this experience guided me toward letting go of a very limiting belief: that my ideal client could not afford my coaching services. When this particular client chose to enter into coaching her session fees had to go onto her charge card, taking up the last of her line of credit. Talk about guilt; I felt awful! But I pushed through my guilt so it wouldn't get in the way of my ability to help this client succeed--and succeed she has!
If I hadn't grasped the opportunity to change my limiting belief none of the other success stories would exist, my own life would be very different, and I wouldn't be writing this article today.
Do you struggle with the value of what you have to offer? Here are some questions to consider yourself you do. Don't let your future clients miss out on the benefits of working with you because you are afraid to accept a fair exchange!
What are my success stories?
People who diminish their value tend to diminish their success stories as well. The first times one of my clients crossed the million-dollar mark I told myself that she would have done it without my help, and perhaps she may have. But because I carefully considered and accepted my contributions to her success there have been many similar success stories since then.
Hey, you're an entrepreneur, too. Make a list of your achievements and qualifications. Brag about them in writing. Show your list to someone you trust and ask for their honest feedback. Are you giving yourself enough credit? No "yes but" statements allowed; just the facts! Now ask yourself the following questions. Put aside those nagging, negative thoughts and be truthful. Appreciate your findings. Now, let's try to figure out how much you are actually worth.
Is it true that people can't afford my services?
I once accepted a pro-bono client because my heart went out to her and I was convinced that she could not afford to pay for coaching. What I found is that she frequently missed sessions, costing me an opportunity to work with someone else. She didn't take all of her assignments seriously, and refused to evaluate the mindset that kept her "stuck" in life and business. The final straw, however, was when she missed a session because she decided to take a trip to Hawaii!
I made this mistake a number of times before I realized that when people truly want to change they will find the internal and financial resources to make it happen. If your ideal client cannot afford your full-blown program, what can they afford? Are there lower-cost programs and limited free materials that you can put in place? Don't give away your most valuable assets; it doesn't help anyone in the end.
Do I believe that anyone can do this?
A common belief amongst people who give too much of themselves away is their skills and expertise are commonplace. If this were true all consultants, coaches, and any other "helping" professions would not exist. Look at the entire scope of what you offer and evaluate the true value. For instance, many of my clients know exactly what to do to grow their business, but they don't do it. It's not just expertise they pay for, it's accountability, support, and affirmation. What are some of the things that you offer outside of your most marketable skills? Don't underestimate the power of these assets.
How can I save the world if I don't have any money?
Perhaps a lack of wealth didn't stop Mother Theresa, but she had a supply of endless resources! Not all of us can create daily miracles, so we need the financial resources to help us to help others. Who else are you hurting with your limiting belief about money? Does your family struggle? Do your friends worry about you? Are your ideal prospects unable to find you because you haven't defined and marketed your services well?
What's my true vision?
Many entrepreneurs have what I call the vision beyond the vision. They see something so big in their future that it fuels the passion to drive their business to the top.
What's your vision beyond the vision? How much money do you need to have a significant impact on your cause? If you continue to reject a fair exchange how will you ever be capable of achieving your greatest vision? To help the masses in the future you must accept fair payment for those who are privileged enough to work directly with you in the present.
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka