Every now and then, I run into some extremely confident small business owners.
They have talent, they know it, and they are not afraid to charge well for it.
Then, there’s everyone else.
Believe it or not, most folks really struggle with feeling like they are adequate enough to charge well for their work. I have firsthand experience, because I am one of those people!
Creative people tend to fight this the most.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone would actually pay for your art! After all, it’s just your writing. Just your graphic designs. Just your website designs.
Let me stop right there and try to get something across to you:
The talent you have been given has value!
God makes no mistakes. When He created you, He gave you the gifts and abilities you have to succeed at your work. And like it or not, money is the currency of the world!
In order to live and operate in this world, you need to have money. Money comes from work. Work comes from the natural talents and abilities that you have.
Let me give you an example: I am a writer. I absolutely love to write. Now yes, I get paid to work with technology and build websites and do marketing, and I love to do all that stuff too.
But if I was not confident enough to charge for my work, how would I survive? I could apply for jobs with a construction company or a metal shop.
But, if they had made the awful mistake of hiring me, I would not last very long. Why?
I’m not built for those jobs.
See, work is not a “four-letter word.” It does not have to be something that we hate to do. It does not have to be separate from our art. We can love our work, and yes, be paid well for doing it.
Here are the three strategies I used to overcome the fear of charging for my work:
#1. Take a look around.
I don’t know what business you are in or looking to start, but chances are it will only take a few Google searches to find someone making a killing at it.
I stumbled across someone the other day who makes about $25,000 per WEEK doing almost the exact same thing that I do. His audience is obviously different, but you know, there’s not much difference between him and I.
He is only about 3 years older than I am, and has been in this business about as long as I have. He is obviously very confident in his work.
I find that when it comes to pricing, there are two mental “blocks” that keep someone from charging what they feel like they are worth for their product or service. They are Imposter Syndrome and FOMO. Let’s unpack those.
This is that little voice that you sometimes find in your head telling you that you are not good enough.
It rears its ugly head to me all of the time. It says things like,
- “You are terrible at this.”
- “You have no right to charge for your work.”
- “You have told yourself a lie.”
- “You are bothering everyone with your work.”
And on, and on, and on.
Imposter Syndrome can be debilitating, but it does *not* have to be defeating.[bctt tweet=”Imposter Syndrome can be debilitating, but it does not have to be defeating.” username=”northmacsvc”]
There are lots of strategies you can use, but my favorite one (and the one that works the best for me) is to simply recognize that lots of people fight this!
Folks like Mariah Carey, Rhianna, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, a few former U.S. Presidents–A LOT of people fight this.
And somehow, that gives me hope. It gives me hope that I am not alone, and that some very successful people have been where I am, and where you are.
Don’t get in your own way. The only one subject to your imposter syndrome is yourself. The problem is, it will affect the people that stand to benefit from your art.
FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”) is the other mental barrier. This manifests itself once a person becomes okay with charging for their work, but they are afraid to charge what they’re worth.
The logic goes like this: “If I charge “x” amount for my work, it will limit the number of clients willing to work with me.” And can I say, that is true! However, it is a two way street. Here are the possible scenarios:
- You charge low in order to open up to more customers. High-value clients find your business, look at your price, and realize that your low price suggests you must not be too good at your job. So they pass.
- You charge “too high.” Low-value clients look at your business, and immediately pass because you are out of your price range. HOWEVER, high-value clients find your business and realize that you charge well for your work, so you must be able to provide results.
Here’s the thing: you exclude potential customers either way.
Now, what makes more sense to you? Excluding the customer segment who has less money to spend, or excluding the customer segment who has more?
Money is not everything–but, it is something.
Next time FOMO starts to get the best of you, shift your fear. Fear that your offering is attracting low-value clients, which in turn attracts other low-value clients.
Fear that you are not bringing in the types of clients you WANT to work with because you are charging too low.
But DON’T FEAR that the bottom-feeders in the market will not be able to afford your work.
They won’t appreciate the work you do anyway, so why bother?
Here’s what I’m trying to say: Don’t shun FOMO out of your life; simply refocus it to mold your offering.
#2. Take a look inside.
What are you made of?
There is so much that can be said right here. Here’s the thing. In order to succeed in business, you need to have a heart for business. Here is what I mean:
A lot of people who decide to go into business for themselves completely neglect the fact that there will be a business to run.
Right now, only about 20% of the work I do on my business is client work.
That means that 80% of my time is spent doing emails, billing, scheduling, finances, TAXES, marketing, website optimization, writing, etc.
The reason I’m okay with this is that I love business, and I’m built for it!
Some people are not, but you would be wise to figure this out before taking the leap.
If you are like me and spending 80% of the time working ON your business, your client work is going to have to represent enough financial benefit to help you float through those times!
That is one reason why I recommend recurring income strategies (more on that another time).
So making widgets is fine, but in the very beginning there is a business to run, and it’s up to you to run it!
As time goes on, you can hire people whose sole responsibility will be to run the business. However, even then, you still need to have a hand in it. Dave Ramsey, in his book Entreleadership, addresses this issue in the chapter on delegation:
“We hired a very high-quality leader from another company to come into our company and lead a troubled area. He is talented and very bright. However, we did not toss him the keys and walk away saying good luck. His leader and I were involved in every decision at first. The more he proved himself— not his talent, but that he understood our mission and core values— the more we lengthened the rope. He is a thoroughbred, so we had to pull the reins a few times and have teachable moments on concepts. But the more he was able to finish our sentences the more rope, freedom, he was given.”
As your business grows and you can begin to make decisions like that, many factors, including pricing, leave your hands more and more.
There is no magic bullet in this strategy. There is no amount of self-help books that can help you here.
If you are going to get over the fear of charging for your work, you must look inside and make sure you are built to run a business. If so, you need to get your act together and CHARGE people for your work like a business does.
Clients will take you more seriously, your family and friends will take you more seriously, and more than likely, you will start taking yourself more seriously.
The success of your business is directly related to your desire to win.
#3. Take a look above.
This is the last on my list of strategies, but make no mistake–it is first on my heart.
Jesus Christ is the driving force behind this business. It will not and can not succeed without Him and without His help.
The thing is, it must bring Him honor and glory in order to get Him involved.
If you’re a small business owner and a person of faith, I URGE you to not leave Christ out of your business. Do not separate your business into a different “bucket” of your life.
Your faith makes you who you are.
Honor yourself by integrating your faith into your business practice.
That said–and this is very important–if you are going to bring Christ into your business, you must operate with the utmost integrity.
Look, it used to be that publicly honoring Christ with your business would gain you respect in our society. It’s not always that way in the day we live in.
In fact, you will lose potential customers because you have claimed Christ. But, you will also gain some! It’s another trade-off.
The point is, for me, I could not succeed in this business if it were not for Christ. I could not charge what my work is worth if it were not for Christ.
Because of Him, you have essential worth and value–and so does your work.
You can honor Christ by charging what you are worth.
How? Good question.
- Gives you options. Next time your health fails you and you get a medical bill, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to pay if more funds are available. Leading your family is hard to do when you can’t even afford to take care of your own health.
- Lets you help others in need. When’s the last time a struggling waitress waited on you, and you were able to randomly bless her with a $50-$100 gift (or more)? Money helps you do that.
- Helps you give to the church and the Lord’s work. God’s kingdom must be advanced on this earth, and it takes finances! Giving to missions and other programs in your local church is a great way to bless others with the abundance He has blessed you with.
I’m trying to say that there is no need to fear money if it is used to the honor and glory of God.[bctt tweet=”The success of your business is directly related to your desire to win.” username=”northmacsvc”]
Question: What strategies have you used to overcome the fear of charging for your work?