One of the best (and worst) parts of being in business for yourself is that you set your own prices. On the one hand, the sky is the limit! On the other, no one is going to give you a raise except for YOU.
I love telling the story of my first client. He was a friend of mine, a jazz pianist in NYC where I was living at the time. Seeing as I had taught myself how to make websites and had never met anyone who did this for a living, I was completely in the dark about what to charge him. After giving much thought to the topic, I settled on a price of $300.
(Yes, you read that right).
As I recall, when we launched the website, he told me he felt bad about only paying me $300 and asked if he could pay me $500 instead.
By the way, it’s worth noting here that if any of your clients ever tell you what he told me all those years ago, and it’s just about the BIGGEST sign you’ll ever get that you’re not charging enough 🙂
Being able to set our own prices is one of the biggest advantages and also one of the biggest pitfalls of being an entrepreneur. On the plus side, how much money we are paid for each project is entirely in our control. But this also means that if we have any hangups around money or asking for money (and let’s face it – who doesn’t?) it’s going to make it a lot harder for us to receive what we want.
To remedy this, I hope you’ll find some solace in the five tips below. Using sheer evidence, creativity and insight, and just a little elbow grease – we CAN improve our money mindsets and set our prices to what we know we deserve.
1) Consider inflation (it’s real!)
As of April 2022, the nation’s current inflation rate is 8.5% (the highest it’s been since the early 80s). What does this mean exactly? It means that one year from today, prices are expected to be 8.5% higher than they are now. Keeping tabs on current inflation rates can be helpful for your money mindset because it’s not up for debate – it’s real and factual. If you’re going to have to pay nearly 9% more next year for all the things you need to live, don’t you deserve to be getting paid 9% more as well? And this goes for not just this year but every year.
2) Find people in your industry who charge much more than you.
Whatever your current rates are, I promise you there are service providers in your industry who charge more than you do – and perhaps a LOT more. To help put things in perspective, it can be helpful to look these people up and note the differences between you and them. Of course, there will be exceptions such as degrees, certifications, or years of experience, but often when we compare ourselves to these people side-by-side, we find that they’re not doing any better a job than we are – they’re simply charging more. And that means you can too.
3) Make a list of ALL the things you do for your clients that add value (bonus points if they’re unique to you).
Do you know how awesome you are? Like REALLY know? If not, it’s time to get clear. Make a list of all the things you do within a client relationship to provide them value – and don’t leave anything out! Never forget that the little things matter, a lot. Do you respond to emails within 24 hours? Write it down. Are you consistently kind and pleasant to work with? Write it down. Are you a great communicator? Write it down. Looking at this list when it’s done (and it will be VERY long!) will help you to more fully feel and embody the value you give to others and see why you deserve to be well compensated for your work.
4) Consider how your current prices make you FEEL.
Someone once told me that we’ll know our prices are right when we’re just *slightly* uncomfortable with how much we charge – just a little bit higher than the price that feels completely safe. I myself aim for a slightly different goal: come up with prices that make you feel genuinely excited to do an AMAZING job for your clients and go above and beyond what’s expected. When what you’re getting paid allows you to feel this way, you’re absolutely going to do your best work for them – and then, everybody wins.
5) Check your environment – and marketing materials! 😉
What you see around you in your work environment can have a huge impact on your feelings towards the value of what you do. Are you working in a dimly light, cluttered, musty basement corner that aggravates you? Or are you working in an elegant, minimalist office with plenty of natural light that makes you feel like a million bucks when you walk in? While of course, we all have things about our workspace that are out of our control, there are for sure things we ALL can do to improve our environment and in turn, our mindset. Check out my blog posts Creating a Workspace You Love or Home Office Ideas for Her: 5 Ways to Add Inspiration! for more.
And on that same token, a quick story: I was recently catching up with a client of mine, a woman who took over her parents’ inn and bed and breakfast in the Adirondacks Mountains a few years ago. Together we completely rebranded the business with a new logo, new messaging, and a new website. One thing she said during our recent conversation affirmed for me what I’ve believed for a long time: she said, “the new website has absolutely allowed me to raise our prices and attract a higher-end clientele.”
Music to my ears 🙂
Looking for more?
For more on money mindset or charging more in your business, check out these other reads from Janelle (that’s me) at Ellanyze: