Charge What You Are Worth!

dreams in the piggy bankIt’s  three weeks into the New Year and resolutions are already wavering, but here’s one I hope all women commit to this year.  Placing a value on your work!  It’s not an easy thing for women to do.  Many of us value the importance of being liked or being productive over actually charging what our services are worth, and quite frankly it’s not something our male counterparts struggle with.  Charging your worth is not only knowing the dollar amount to charge for your product or service but it’s also building a client base that is accepting of that.  Building that base can come with three tough realities, three realities that every women needs to embrace as part of their worth:

Phase I – Learning to Fire a Client

At the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey I was mortified at even the thought of firing a client.  Like everyone else who 

has to make payroll, you think that any client is money in the bank.  NOT SO!  You soon learn to classify “that” type of client. We all have at least one – the one who will email, call, ping, IM, text and Facebook you constantly and are never satisfied with the work – and I’m talking the kind who if you handed them a bowl full of free diamonds, would complain that they weren’t yellow diamonds.  Even if they pay their bill (and most of the time they argue the bill) it often won’t even come close to covering the amount of time you have put into their project/case. 

If you start dreading dealing with a certain client, there is probably a reason why.  Take stock at just how much time you have spent with them and average it out on what you are making per hour after backing out the necessary taxes and overhead.  You will likely be more mortified at that number more than the thought of firing the client!  If you are still finding it difficult, ask yourself would your male counterparts work for that number? 

Still having trouble knowing when and why to fire a client?  Then maybe you can relate to the scenario that resulted in firing one of my clients.  My firm was one of three hired to help launch a new restaurant.  We were all in different industries so when the proprietor called us 


all to one meeting all of us were excited at the thought that all players were being brought in so that we could work together.  What ended up happening was them handing out our invoices that were redlined for what they felt they should pay for and what they felt they shouldn’t.  At which point I realized that when eating at their establishment I would never be able to hand back the check marking off for each fry not eaten and the drink which was still half full.                     

Phase II – Learning Not to Take on a Client

It’s never comfortable firing a client, so phase II of charging your worth is learning when not to even take a client.  I wish I could insert some scientific article, info graphic or five sure fire signs here that tell you when, but the truth is it really comes down to a gut instinct and not a lot more.  If you are sitting in the initial meeting or writing a proposal against everything telling you not to, then don’t!  Again, when you have to make payroll, this seems on the surface like a missed opportunity.  In fact, it is really time and money found as you won’t be wasting your time and resources and that of your company on clients you will likely eventually fire. 

You know that gut feeling, recently we decided not take a client when after meeting upon meeting it became apparent that his wish list was bigger far bigger than his wallet. Furthermore, his project was not one that could be monetized in the manner in which he hoped, and despite having one of those crucial conversations there was that underlying gut feeling – that despite our warnings and attempts to manage expectations it was always going to be our fault on his failure to launch.

Phase III – Learning When NOT to Even Take the Meeting

And so we move to the third phase, and one that seems the scariest of all!  After all how do we know who is going to be the best client?  Truth is we don’t, but even meetings take time and cliché as it is time is money.  Most of the time we take the initial meeting, but as with just about any person in any industry, we have those who will try to get as much free advice as possible.  It is absolutely necessary to learn to know when to politely say “at this point we are moving more into a consulting conversation and we need to discuss fees”, most clients worth having will be willing to discuss it.  There are times however the phone call or email prior to setting up the meeting will give you the same feeling as above, and you have to be ok with the thought that sometimes, the meeting isn’t even worth taking. 

Some might view this as greedy, but isn’t the real greed in the person who sent the following “I have $4,000 and need two new websites and a full branding package.  I like your work and want to learn more.  I want to set up a meeting with you {a set date and time}” The email was addressed to me and two of my competitors.  He wanted all three of us to come to one meeting and live bid on his work.

By learning to implement these three phases, you will free up time to find the clients that are worth having, so as we roll into week four of 2014 let’s support each other in the commitment to charging what we are worth! I promise you’ll like the results!

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