What Are You Worth?

The biggest challenge with running my business is pricing. I'm never sure what to charge as it's hard to accurately estimate the amount and effort of work that will be required for any given project. I'm so concerned about being fair to clients that I often screw myself over price-wise in the process.

Lately however, I've made a concerted effort to charge what I'm worth. I had the bad habit of trying to guess what I think a client might be able to afford, and lowering my prices accordingly.  A friend who does high level sales coaching gave me an hour of her time and coached me through a "earn what you're worth session" that has been invaluable.  "Quit working for people who can't afford your prices," she said. "Even if you're earning money for a project, you're losing money by working on projects that don't adequately compensate you."

I wrote a blog entry last week about how work was flowing in. The follow-up to that is when I spoke with the gentleman who needed to the wedding speech written, he said he really wanted to work with me but that my bid was double the second highest bid. He explained his project and it was smaller than I had thought so I did lower the price a bit, but my amount was still above the 2nd bid. "This (the amount of the 2nd bid) is what I had budgeted for this project," said the man. "Isn't there any way you can meet that price?"

I refused. I was tempted, but I said no. The price I bid is what I charge and given the time/effort I would expend, it was a fair bid. I didn't get the job, but I feel good about not caving.

Almost as soon as I hung up with that man, I had a call with someone who wanted me to write a letter of introduction for them to area businesses and chambers. I quoted $175 for the letter, which included a phone consultation, resume review, and 2 drafts, if necessary, of the letter.

"Wow, that's more then I was expecting, " said the client.

"That's the price," I said.

The one thing I'm not happy with from that phone call is that I didn't explain why I was worth the price. This was a letter he could send to unlimited business that had the potential to generate massive exposure and income for him. I don't just throw together a form letter. Rather, I pinpoint what is unique about the individual and what they offer and highlight the benefits they bring to clients.  For the rather miniscule price of $175, they have a letter that can be tweaked and used over and over again.

So... jobs lost, but that's okay. I stuck to my guns and feel sure clients with an appreciation for what I bring to the work will materialize to replace clients who hesitate to recognize the value of strong, pointed writing.

What's the tagline to the old Clairol commercials? "Because I'm worth it."