Many of my best life’s lessons I learned from my parents: Do unto others as you would have done to you. The customer is always right. With all things: Integrity first! No matter how costly it is to fix a mistake, doing the right thing will always pay off in the long run.
My mom and dad always believed, those people behind you on the road to life, were those that needed your help most. In my family helping another person was not just a virtue, it was next to ‘Godliness’ and there were many examples of how it showed up in their actions. Whether it was offering someone a ride to church on Sundays, or inviting someone for a home cooked meal who had been down on their luck, my parents always taught us to give generously and freely, and I still believe it’s the right way to live.
And then, I left my corporate job (and paycheck) and launched my own business. And, some of those generosity-based values were just that…values. And though values are an important part of running an aligned business, being generous is much easier when you’re making enough money to pay your bills.
I’m a business-life-balance coach specializing in moms in business, which basically means… I ‘help’ people. This is what I do for a living, and help is my product. Instead of selling widgets or commodities, I help my clients figure out how to be more effective with their time, set up repeatable processes to work more efficiently, and help them focus their services and products to be most profitable in the time they wish to devote to work. To win at this game of entrepreneurship, I had to figure out this value-based charging for my own business first. Being of service vs. selling products meant I had to shift my own helping paradigm to a profitable helping business model.
And, I can tell you, this was a long and arduous process which ended up nearly bankrupting my business. Although I strongly believe in the value of unconditional help, I do have an obligation to keep the doors of my business open and the lights on. So, I had to grow from the inside to realize the value of the help I provided for others first, and then attach a price that was equal to the value I provide, and the money I save others in the long run who invest in my services.
Everyone loves a deal, but no one likes to feel as though they’re taking advantage of another person. So, it’s incumbent upon you to figure out how to charge for yourself, your business, and your clients. And you might be surprised, the suggestions I have are less about mathematics and accounting, and much more about the softer under-side of what makes your business work, how it started, what it’s meant to do, and who it’s meant to serve.
Align Yourself and Your Services
One of the best ways to value your services and products for what they’re worth is to get into a deep sense of alignment. Coming into alignment means working from the inside out. Uncovering and clearly defining your core values and needs, discovering your passions, and the purpose for being in business; and then, defining the values and needs of your business are good places to begin.
When you work from the inside out—you’ll begin lining all the pieces up into your uniquely-defined business-life-balance—or what I refer to as homeostasis. This is an effective way to work toward enhancing the value of your services and overcoming the guilt of charging what you’re worth.
Help Those Who Most Desire Your Services
One of the most important things to do in business is truly understand who your ideal clients are and how you are best suited to help them. This is why your abundance is uniquely connected to the abundance of the others you help… However, it’s important to keep this in perspective.
For a long time, people would invite me out for coffee to pick my brain, and for a while, I agreed to do this. In my mind, I was showing up for a potential client… in their mind, they were simply learning more about what I did and getting questions answered. However, as my business grew and I became busier, my time became more precious, and I soon felt taken advantage of by those brain pickers, especially because those are the very people who never wanted to hire me to begin with; they just wanted free advice and I was the sucker who said yes. The simple fact they consider business advice and counsel only worthy of a cup of coffee should have been my first indicator they were not that interested in investing in my knowledge, consult or expertise. I learned, but only after dozens of meetings like this. When I finally drew the line in the sand, I realized it wasn’t really their fault. Most were newbies in business like myself and didn’t really understand the value in investing. And, I truly realized where the responsibility started and stopped—with me, and my boundaries (another tough lesson to learn).
So today, I say that it’s best to begin from a place of your passion, identify your core ideal niche, and uncover the pain points that your services can be a solution to. Crystallize your marketing message around your ideal clients, and then work to solve their unique problems with your services.
My passion is healthy families and smart, savvy, powerful, fully-whole, creative, and passionate moms. I believe they’re the key to a healthy world. As a result of these exercises in alignment for my business, I’ve designed services and programs to support them to create an awesome business in the time they have, focus on their sweet spot, and then free their time for a passionate and amazing life that fits.
Those who most desire what you have to offer will happily invest in you because they’ll understand that you also have a family to feed, bills to pay, and deadlines to meet. Then, the next time you’re approached to offer your services for free, you’ll be able to respectfully decline with a totally aligned message, and redirect your people to something you’ve created (think resources, pdf’s, downloads or recordings) that is completely free and offers them some answers they seek.
So what happens when things move forward and you’re asked to speak for free, or offer a free workshop? For more of How To Charge What You’re Worth, order your copy of The Summer Issue here.
Photo by Yaoqi LAI