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#236 Charging what you're worth.

pricing Jul 19, 2020

One of the biggest challenges that new business owners face is getting comfortable charging what they're worth.  Heck, it was one of my own challenges when I started out. It was hard enough pricing the income tax services but getting comfortable pricing the coaching services took me a lot longer. 

In the beginning I sabotaged my business by not putting the right price on my services and I was also an enabler - enabling people to take advantage of me. I'm giving a talk during small business week and talking about how I got to this place of charging with confidence for my services - I don't leave out those tough times because they are part of my growing process. 

My business model goes like this - I figure out how to do something, I reverse engineer the process and go back and teach someone else. I always think that I'm the crab who got out of the bucket but I didn't just run away. I came back with a ladder so I could teach others how to get out of the bucket. 

By taking a look back over how I went from that naive newbie to this confident business owner, I also look at the mistakes I made along the way and where the opportunities were to fast-track my own process. After all if I tell you about the mess I got out of, you can choose to avoid them and fast-track your own progress. 

Charging what you're worth is not a "one and done" type of process. It's not the flicking of a switch where one day you feel guilty about the price and the next day you're charging large.  Whether you're offering coaching services or someone who is opening a garage, the process is the same. 


Step 1: Find your real competition. 

This step is all about market positioning. Who do you want your competition to be? Obviously in the tax world, I could choose to compete against the home based tax preparer who had never taken formal training but who has been doing taxes for years. They're usually priced much lower than I am. I could also choose to compete against the accountant who has a formal designation and thousands of clients. They often offer a broader service than I do.

I chose somewhere in between. Because I am well trained with a specialty in sole proprietor taxation, I chose to compete with other professionals who were in the same space. But, here's the kicker - I was shocked by how much they charged. But at least I had a benchmark.

The business coaching was a bigger challenge. There were a lot of charlatans out there professing to be "business advisers". I knew my limits - I was never going to teach what I hadn't already learned how to do myself. I was also a tax specialist which I have learned to leverage. Finding the competition was challenging and along the way I enabled people to take advantage of me. I once coached someone for 3 hours and he hired my competition. I was a newbie and I needed some successes before I grew confident enough to charge what I was worth but I finally found someone who I admired for the work he did and the price he charged. With the benchmarks in place, it was time for the real life experience.

If you're selling tires, it would be easier to slap a price on. The subjective pricing of consulting based on your ability to deliver results makes for a more challenging and nuanced approach to pricing.


Step 2: Bulldoze through it.

As mentioned, it's not as easy as slapping a sticker on it - the sales process for coaching is all about the results. Sometimes people are shocked at the price. Hell, sometimes I was shocked by the price. 

But you have to bulldoze through the discomfort of naming your price and be able to talk about the value you bring - what are the real measurable results that you are going to help your client achieve? If you're a tax person, are you aware of your unique selling proposition? Is your value add worth the price and can you clearly put your prospects mind at ease when you have the sales conversation? The clearer you understand all the moving parts the better. 

In the early days, because I was doing an internal shift from heart to serve to profit motive - I would do the internal cringe when I told someone my price. I wasn't confident in those early days. But I had to bulldoze through it. Part of the problem was that I wasn't convinced of the value and I wasn't aware of my true value. It wasn't a fake it til you make it but more of an understanding of adult learning. We're often conscious of our own incompetence.  It often takes time to realize the value you bring. 

Now I can do it guilt free - I recently raised my price after finding out that my competition was getting paid more for a particular service that I was offering at a lower price. I was no longer negotiating from a position of guilt around what I charge but it took more than bulldozing to get there. 


Step 3: Do the internal work.

For me it was overcoming my own "unconscious bias against making money".  I even wrote a book about it. I am working on a sequel because I have learned so much since then. 

Tapping or EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique is a staple in my business.  It isn't the only staple but it is one tool in my toolbox that helps me to challenge my own assumptions. It allows me to dig deep and look at why I have experienced a resistance to charging what I was worth. That has been the real bonus in my business. 

Bulldozing through a sale won't land you the sale as often as processing your stuff does. I am a dedicated lifelong learner. I am in the process of becoming certified in coaching EFT because my clients want it and need it. It makes my work easier when we can clear those blocks. I promise to deliver a certain outcome and no high sticker price will ever overcome those internal blocks. Market research and pricing are external work; getting paid is internal work. 

Join us for our monthly virtual coffee breaks with an emphasis on money mindset.  We talk about more than money. Obviously. See you there. 

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