Know Your Value, Charge Your Worth
“If you do not know your value, somebody else will tell it to you, and it will be less than you are worth.” - Bernard Hopkins.
For many entrepreneurs, whether you’re just starting out, or have been in the game for a while, value is one of the least addressed but most pressing issue that affects how they do business. It is often difficult to strike a good balance between understanding how much your skills, experience and time are worth and translating that into a fee that will be favorable, both to you and your client.
Most often what usually happens, is that an entrepreneur will do more than they have been asked to do, yet somehow still feel like they are not doing enough. Then at the end of a project, will be very frustrated and unhappy, because they feel undervalued because they did more for less!
But why? Wouldn’t it be ironic to be upset, yet the very same person who set the standard, was yourself? Therein is where the problem really lies. It is easy to think that the undervaluing client is usually the problematic factor, but the reality is, that by not establishing a clear understanding of what exactly your skills and experience are truly worth, both to your client and especially to yourself, you automatically set yourself up for failure and frustration.
The trap that many fall into, is the fear of losing business or even the desire to gain more of it. You end up letting the client dictate all the terms, so that they do not think of taking their business elsewhere, but the result is you feeling stressed, miserable, resentful, wishing you had not accepted the job in the first place. And this may even translate into producing low quality work. In the end, it becomes a lose - lose situation both for you and your client.
Knowing your value is important because it sets a clear boundary with your client from the very beginning that this is what you have to bring to the table, this is what you offer at this and this cost, and if they need more, they can ask, but it will cost them more. If at all they need to bargain, the discount should still take into account how much your services are really worth. You need to understand that, what a client is really buying into is not just what you can do at surface level. It is a sum up of the time you have spent polishing that skill, the experience that you have gained that helps to set you apart and your time producing the work. If they cannot see value in that, the safest bet is to politely decline their business, because, (and this is super important to remember), you are not desperate!
So how exactly do you truly get to understand your own worth? How do you escape the trap of selling yourself short? The first step is really simple. Take a pen and paper and list down all the things you can do or have to offer, nothing is too insignificant to mention. Next, do a bit of market research, what does the market require of you? What are others in your field doing and how are they doing it? Do they have a unique offering? If so, what makes it so unique? This will lead you into understanding how to stand out based on what you already know how to do. Next, evaluate how much time and effort you have put in to perfecting your craft. The hours researching, the extra online classes, the coaching and the mentoring and the hours of practice and sleepless nights. Give yourself enough credit, because you have truly worked hard to get to where you are and your experiences have refined the quality of the work you now produce.
The second step is to really focus on what your previous clients have had to say about you. Testimonials and reviews are not only for showing off how good you are to the rest of the world. They are first and foremost a sign of appreciation to you, for changing someone’s life. Take your time and just soak that in. You are making a difference in someone’s life and you have every right to be proud of yourself and confident that you can and will continue to do more and even be better at it. Someone else believes in you, so you might as well start believing in yourself too.
Lastly, combine both of these steps and measure them against the standard prices in the market. You do not have to charge what everybody else is charging, especially when you know you have much more to offer. Be absolutely objective and don’t focus on the assumption that someone somewhere might think that you are too expensive. If anything it’s not that your services are expensive, it is that they cannot afford you. Think about a luxury vehicle producer like Rolls Royce, they will never try to convince anyone why their vehicle is the best and why it has to be at that price. Those who truly appreciate its value will buy it at that cost, because they can. A Rolls Royce is not for everyone, and neither is your expertise. So quit worrying about not getting clients, the right ones will come.
Once you have established a good favorable fee, practice saying it out loud and often, so that you can be familiar with it and gain the confidence to present it to a potential client without wavering. The more confident you appear, the more a client knows to trust you because they can see that you are sure of what you are doing. If you start stuttering, they might even imagine that you are trying to take advantage of them and fear that they may not get value for their money. So be bold!
Take caution however, not to over-promise and under-deliver. You may end up fulfilling the stereotype that just because it’s more expensive it doesn’t mean it’s better. Strive to put your money where your mouth is, let your work do the talking, as long as you don’t undersell yourself. Your clients have come to you for those skills. Get paid for your time and for your work, otherwise you will be pursuing an expensive hobby rather than a professional endeavor.
In the end, knowing your value is not just about knowing how to charge clients for the work you do. It is about getting a sense of fulfillment that, what you are doing is important, that you are making good returns from how much you have invested in yourself, and that you are growing and evolving in your business, enough to expand your dreams and reach your goals. Fulfillment translates into producing only quality work, because you are also enjoying doing this thing that you are passionate about. So remember, be the one to set the standard for yourself. No one but you.