Someone reached out to me last week needing marketing support for a new business and said the budget was $300 a month. I went back and forth on how to respond, on one hand I was like…”in what world” and on the other I was like I feel bad for telling them they’re about $4,000 off.
15 years ago when I first started 8THIRTYFOUR, I would’ve worked my ass off for that $300 a month and felt guilty for even charging that much.
It’s hard to move past that start-up mindset and to own what you’re worth. For those of you struggling to understand the value you bring to the table, I offer these tips.
Do the research
If you are a small business and struggling to price your services or a professional in the midst of salary negotiations, do the research. Talk to other business owners or those in similar jobs and learn from them. Remember to focus on what sets you apart, the value you have, as an individual or company.
The reason 8THIRTYFOUR is retainer and project based, is because I wanted clients focused on deliverables not the hours we put into the work we were doing. It felt icky to charge them for conversations where I was the one reaching out for information or clarification, why would they pay for my learning curve? This is just one example of what sets us apart and our services are worth every penny.
Of course, I knew when I was starting out, I had a lot to prove. I still can’t seem to shake the feeling of still needing to prove myself. What is up with that?
Make a list
There is nothing like taking out a pad of paper and making a good ‘ol pros and cons list. List out your strengths, differentiators and your purpose statement. Why do you do what you do? For me, I knew I could do agency differently and it would be better for my clients. There is a reason 8THIRTYFOUR’s tagline is “It’s About You,” I wanted to be very clear what our focus is on – the client, not our own accolades.
When you know what makes you different and why it benefits others, it is a lot easier for you to then advocate for the worth you bring to the table.
Push each other
Women, especially, seem to struggle with confidence and recognizing our own self-worth. We worry we’ll come off egotistical or narcissistic, so we apologize and minimize our contributions. Knock it the f*ck off. I told a photographer we use, almost exclusively for client shoots, that they don’t charge enough. In fact, I sent one of her invoices back and told her to fix it. If you don’t have the wherewithal or ability to recognize your own self-worth, then rely on others to do it for you. We have to support and push each other. Celebrate wins, pick one another up in defeat and encourage others to go for it and to own their accomplishments.
I am here and thriving, because of other business owners who took the time to educate and encourage me. They recognized my worth, even when I didn’t (and they still do to this day).