Stepping Up With My Big Girl Panties On

beautiful legs in white leather boots with lace panties

There are times when reality slaps us in the face and we MUST deal with what is in front of us.

We have to let go and have faith in ourselves BEFORE we can expect anyone else to.

At times, we are so confident that others can smell it, but then we lose it when its most important – specifically asking for the $.

Knowing our worth, charging accordingly can be difficult, but necessary!

  • Why do many of us (entrepreneurs) struggle with charging our worth?
  • When you search anything about charging for your worth, you will see tons of advice, a common problem, right?

We courageously begin our business with vigor, determination and confidence because we believe that we have something special to offer and we can get paid for it. We recognize there is a real need for our awesomeness. Can I get an amen?

Yet, some of us fall short…struggle…and at times wonder what the hell am I doing wrong?  I am working my ass off, my clients love me, but I need more money!  DUH…something’s wrong with the pricing structure girly!

As I mentioned before, others have seen more abilities in me than I saw and I felt like a fraud. The truth is, I am that bomb ass chick and I should charge what I am worth!

So now it is time for me to step up and put my beautiful lace panties on and do the damn thing.

My intention is to share steps and thoughts I am in the process of taking, my journey to value based pricing, and hopefully inspire another to at least think about it.

This post is part of the monthly Word Carnival series of posts. This time we discuss the challenge of knowing your value and conveying it to clients so that you can charge what you’re worth – and get it! Make sure to check out the other posts by some of the smartest, kind, and value based entrepreneurs you’ll meet right here.

Recognize Our Talents

We all have talents, and we are unique.  One of the most difficult things to do is an understanding of what makes us unique.

How many times have you heard that you have to specifically identify your talent that your market needs and connect with them accordingly? My word chef friend, Tea Silvestre was very instrumental for me in that arena.  I will always love her for that!

I spent many years working in the corporate world, yearning for a business of my own, yet living and learning according to their rules.

I did not know that I could use my talents in a separate business for other entrepreneurs; during many of those years, it wasn’t popular to work from home.  My family had a brick and mortar business and  I KNEW I did not want that kind of headache.

Yes, I was successful, received excellent training and top pay that afforded me the lifestyle I was accustom to.

But I was brainwashed into their way of handling business.  My payment worth came from what they told me I would receive based on their scale. There wasn’t any room for negotiation, or at least I thought there wasn’t.

I take full responsibility for allowing that, I had my big girl panties on everyday!

Quite honestly, I did not realize how much that impacted my life until I left, and NOW that I have had to evaluate my worth, that thinking played a major role to my detriment.

I come from the era where you do well in school, get your education, get hired by a major company, and retire after 30 years or so. Hopefully you have purchased a home, raised your family, and live in a house with a white picked fence – NOT.

Yes, I did much of that and I am very grateful for the opportunities that were provided.  I was stupid – I lost myself in the process. I got comfortable and did not think or plan ahead very well.

I am a planner, sometimes to the nth power…but I went with the flow and as many of us do in our younger years, did not think about getting older or what tomorrow may have in store.

Years later, I own a full-time business and struggling.  Not for lack of work, or laziness, but more as a result of not knowing my truth, my worth, and fighting for it. Not anymore, I ain’t fraid of no ghost!

Recognize Our Value

Not trying to sound like everyone one else, but I get that providing value is key to expecting pay for what we are worth..our value can be found in our differences..What do you think?

What I am saying is, when our services that we provide are quality, valuable, at or above the clients expectations, we should expect to receive quality, valuable pay.

The issue I have had, which I did not think existed, is fear that maybe they won’t hire me if I tell them I charge this much. I recognize that my confidence was not up to par, I did not appreciate my truth, my value. Realizing that fear existed took time.

I read this encouragement on FB recently…it was timely

I needed that spark of inspiration as I have been struggling with increasing my price structure for a little under a year now.

I took a class that was specifically structured on how to do that.  It was really good, provided excellent tools.  Still working it out due to getting in my way because I have been busy working in my business vs. on my business.

Recognize Our Time is Money

Has anyone sucked up your time asking for advice and quite possibly they are really looking to get answers that they may have had to pay for otherwise?

I try very hard not to do that to other entrepreneurs.  Sure, I love getting valuable advice for free, but I respect that we all want to be paid for our time.

I actually don’t mind in many cases, as I consider it as part of being of service and paying it forward, especially for clients and those that I know will reciprocate.

There is a reason many consultants tell you up front what their rate is.  If you want a free consultation, the time is limited or there are just so many slots available, act quickly.  Time is critical. I feel that if I am not spending time earning, I am spending time improving, learning and creating for my business.

Don’t give away your gold. Somebody out there WILL pay for it.

It goes back to value, your hard-earned time developing and expanding your skills are worth something.  All that time you spent on your talent is valuable to someone else.

That sounds good huh, I have not been doing that.

I have to say, helping others with their business ideas, website traffic, social media, blogging etc., is a great booster for my confidence and it feels great. It has taught me that I do have experience that is valuable and others need what I have to offer.

It’s up to me to ensure that I don’t give away the store.

This slower period of business has provided time to think, time to reflect, time to appreciate my gifts.  When we are caught up in meeting deadlines and don’t take the time to exhale, we don’t see what’s going on.

Be Faithful. Be Confident. Be Intentional

All of this boils down to a few things that I have learned during research and steps I am taking:

  • Target the right market.  If you want people that can afford you, make sure you are focusing on the right market..well the right people in the right market.  I know it’s not easy, and I struggle with that myself. It takes time and possibly a mentor or coach would be very helpful.
  • Set the right expectations.  Build into the original agreement up front a payment increase timeline or some form of agreement that if I charge you less now at some point the rate will be this.  Communicate and negotiate.Your value will show up when they receive your kick ass service.
  • Base the pricing on the outcome.  Be specific as to what the client can expect. Determine upfront how to measure success. This is my new focus.  By creating this, I have now removed any confusion and I can deliver more than what is expected (most of the time)…still a work in progress.
  • Dress the part.  Make sure that your website, your social media profiles, email signatures (your online presence) reflects your rates.  If they are mediocre, guess what.  Update them periodically.  As I was googling myself recently, I saw a profile I need to update which is why I included this on this post.  Going forward, I will set up a schedule on my calendar to go through all of these profiles and update them at least quarterly. I actually believe each revision is better than the previous version. The Gemini in me keeps changing my site…I gotta stop that and just build my brand and stick to it..note to self!

If there was one focus area that you would advise us to utilize when creating a realistic pricing structure, what would it be, and why?

If you have ever struggled with being confident in your pricing structure, what one thing improved your confidence?

  • Melanie Kissell

    Dear Gemini change artist,

    Love your new “look”! 😉

    Rock solid truth …
    ” … our value can be found in our differences”

    No question about it, Michelle, and as entrepreneurs and independent biz owners, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to “pricing”. Everyone’s back story and experience bucket is filled with subjective uniqueness. The challenge comes from engaging with the right market — the folks who value you and respect what you do — and, of course, those who can afford your offerings! It’s one thing to have raving fans and followers and quite another to have paying clients and customers. In other words, Twitter love is great — but are those Tweets paying off?!

    Since I tend to give away the store, these words are precious to me …

    “Don’t give away your gold. Somebody out there WILL pay for it.” :)

    • Michelle Church

      Thanks Melanie…I do believe we give away too’s a fine line though..

  • Carol Lynn Rivera

    Woo! And hoo! I know exactly what you mean about coming from the white-picket-fence generation. There was a way you were supposed to do things and it came in this order: school, job, marriage, house, kids, retirement. Done. (Maybe you could be a real rebel and do it kids-house!)

    So mostly I did that. Went to school, graduated college, got my Masters, went into teaching. But even then things started to digress because I didn’t get a job at a public school (the equivalent of the big corporation with benefits) but at a small, private school. It paid crap. But it was awe.some. So much fun and so much creativity. And I think I sent out some of the best kids into the world :)

    And I got married but no kids… HORRORS… and then I quit my “day job” to run my own business. WORSE HORRORS.

    So it’s been a struggle to put value on myself and not wait until someone else does it for me. You’re sort of programmed to take your cues from someone else – are they paying me a lot? I must be good. Did I get a good review? I must be great. But when you work for yourself and you set the rates and do the reviews, suddenly nobody is patting you on the back with a paycheck or a promotion to remind you that you’re doing something valuable. And so you have to find value IN YOURSELF.

    So not easy.

    Such a constant thing to keep reminding yourself of. I think my favorite word of the day is “intentional”. If you can do that, you’re starting in a good place! That intention is what will help you choose whether to “be of service” or “give away the farm”. It’s ok to give it away if that’s your intent. But you have to do it knowing full well how darn valuable it is! It’s a tough life lesson, Michelle, and we have to keep on learning it over and over!

    • Michelle Church

      Life is about learning and growing most importantly we have to open to it. Too many times people are close and they miss it. I work very hard on being intentional..not everyday, but I will reel it back it and be purposeful. I have especially achieved another level of purpose now, improved my energy, adjusted my attitude and ready to do the damn thing! I love your comments and appreciate you so very much! Thanks Carol!

  • Sharon Hurley Hall

    So much truth here, Michelle, that it’s hard to know what to pick out. I think my favorite part is “when we give value we should get value”. And I love the thought of setting an intention to help you decide on your goals for a client interaction. That way, even if you don’t charge in monetary terms you can be sure of getting something that is valuable to you. And you won’t end up feeling demeaned and short changed. Great advice.

    • Michelle Church

      Wow Sharon, I love the way you put that and so true! Thanks!

  • Nicole Fende

    Michelle I can’t love this post enough! First the new format rocks.

    I also grew up with the white picket fence, 2.4 kids, and same company forever generation. Making the switch to being my own boss and running my own company was HARD. (And I had to laugh at Carol Lynn’s horrors & worse horrors.)

    Your insight regarding the salary we get and how that affects our ability to proactively negotiate was spot on. I had never considered that until now (although I did at times have words when I felt my salary needed to be increased). That mindset shift is difficult because it’s on a subconcious level, an insidious enemy within the gates.

    Time is absolutely your most precious asset, and I’m glad I spent some of mine today reading your post.

    • Michelle Church

      Thanks Nicole, I truly just caught the “mind altering” that I had for more than 24 years affect and it has shifted my thought. I KNOW what I need to do, I have taken baby steps and it’s now time to take that giant leap forward. I realllllly want to give you credit for much of it…once I finish your awesome book for sure! I humbly thank you for all of your support that you consistently give to the Carnies in the area of “numbers whispering”, your advice is GOLDEN!

  • SandyMcD

    Set the right expectations. Amazing how such a simple suggestion can have such a profound impact. It is not if the concept is difficult, but it is in the doing isn’t it. It is believing in our worth sufficient to say, this is what I deliver, this is what it is worth, you book my time, you pay for it, or whatever the expectation is. We should all practise that in the mirror every day I reckon. I also loved this line: Don’t give away your gold. Somebody out there WILL pay for it. You bet they will! Thanks Michelle for a great post.

    • Michelle Church

      Thanks mucho Sandy!

  • Ashley Welton

    I love the bit about dressing the part Michelle! It’s so true. Always represent yourself for where you’re going, not where you are or where you’ve been.

    Another thing that has helped me get over the rate hurdle is realizing it’s about THEM not me. I’m worthy, yes, but they are receiving what they need, want, wish, and desire. The value is where to place your focus – and that’s what they’re getting.

    • Michelle Church

      Thanks Ashley! I like that – realizing it’s about THEM…so true. I had to talk to myself yesterday in putting together a proposal..I had to remember what I was offering and just how valuable it is. I did some research in the midst of preparing it and man…was that an eye opener…truly another point is looking at what others charge believing what we offer is just as valuable if not more will definitely boost your confidence. Appreciate the comment.