Music Mondays – Worth It

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Worth It

When I started my company over two years ago, I had an idea of how much I wanted to charge people for my services; and I created an entire business plan around this idea. Then I started marketing my company and realized that just because I wanted to charge something, didn’t mean I could necessarily make it. I quickly realized that I had to adjust my expectations and offer lower priced packages. Once I did, my business started to grow.

Along the way, though, I worked with a number of people for significantly lower prices than I thought I was worth because I realized that I needed to prove that I was actually worth the prices I wanted to charge. When I started out, I thought I was worth more than people were willing to pay, but without much to prove it, I had to accept less than what I thought I was worth. It was a humbling but important experience.

Over the course of working with clients and refining my own strategies, it hit me that I needed to adjust my prices and charge more. At this point, it was difficult for me because I didn’t want to turn anyone away. It’s funny to think that before I had any clients I wanted to charge higher prices, but now that I had clients, it was tough for me to ask for more.

I think we all struggle with the challenge of wondering what we’re worth and actually asking for it, and it’s not always easy to strike the right balance between what we think we’re worth and what other’s think we’re worth. I think getting what you’re worth basically comes down to three steps.

Step One: Prove Your Worth

You could be like me and know you’re worth it right away, or you could doubt yourself at first, either way, whether you’re an entrepreneur/freelancer or employee of a company, we all need to prove to others that we’re worth it. It’s hard to accept less when we feel like we’re worth more, but if we’re truly worth it, then we shouldn’t be afraid to accept less.

I had to take lower paying clients to build my business, and although it wasn’t part of my plan, I realized that I needed to build a track record of success. I wasn’t scared of taking less, because I knew what I would bring to the table.

Eight years ago, I wanted to leave my investment banking job and work for a hedge fund. I had never worked for a hedge fund before and had no idea what it entailed, but I knew I was smart and could figure it out quickly. When I interviewed with my future bosses, they grilled me on my lack of experience when I finally said, “Yes, there are probably dozens of people with more experience than me who could raise millions of dollars for this fund, but I guarantee you that none of them will work harder than me to raise you millions of dollars for this fund.”

I got the job over the other candidates and my manager said it was because of that speech. They would rather hire someone with a work ethic who was confident she could prove her worth than someone with less drive.

Don’t be afraid to take a financial step back to prove your worth, if you are as good as you feel you are, you will make up for it down the road.

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Step Two: Ask for Your Worth “Give it to me I’m worth it.”

Countless studies show that men are better at asking for what they’re worth than women, and I have fallen in this category myself. As my business grew, I was so excited to help every new client that I was comfortable accepting less than what I was worth. It wasn’t until I realized I was making myself sick with work that I had to raise my rates.

At first, it made me uncomfortable to ask for more, but then I had to remind myself that I proved my worth. I know the type of results I can get for my clients, I know the amount of time and energy I devote to their financial health, I know that I am worth it and I shouldn’t be afraid to step up my game.

When you ask for more, you will definitely turn people away and as an entrepreneur or freelancer this is a scary prospect because you don’t know where you will make up for it, but when you’re worth it, new clients will always come along and pay what you’re worth and you want to have the capacity to take them on and make more.

If you’re working for someone else and you ask for more, you run the risk of being turned down, but don’t let that response dictate how you feel about yourself. If you are truly worth it, then you deserve to work for a company that believes it as well. If they turn you down, maybe it’s time for you to look somewhere else. It’s easier to find another job when you already have one; and you may just find something better when you look.

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Step Three: Don’t Feel Bad “Uh, huh I’m worth it.”

No matter what, never feel bad about asking for more. You work hard everyday to prove that you’re worth it, and you have every right to achieve your own hopes and dreams. The only way that you can reach your goals faster is when you make more. It won’t be an overnight process and sometimes you will have to take steps back, but don’t let others dictate to you your worth.

The last two years I have continued to work hard and prove my worth and some people are willing to pay it and others aren’t. I don’t feel bad about the ones that don’t, except that I know they’re missing out on the chance to make important changes in their life; and I don’t feel bad for the ones who pay because I know I’m worth it.

Gif Source: Giphy

Do you have a tough time asking for what you’re worth? Do you know what you’re worth? Did you ever accept less than you’re worth to prove it?
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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

19 COMMENTS

  1. “Don’t be afraid to take a financial step back to prove your worth, if you are as good as you feel you are, you will make up for it down the road.” I NEED to remember this! I think it’s what I did by quitting being a lawyer and transitioning to a financial planner. But I still beat myself up over not making enough, given my student loan debt.

  2. I was thinking about this recently and if you work for less than you know you’re worth – you’re just going to wind up unhappy in the long run. About a year ago, I interviewed for a job I was dying to get as production coordinator for an entertainment company that had just got contracted to take over the entertainment for a cruise line. They needed someone to organize the whole thing. Not only did I have the general production experience they were looking for, but also a background in cruise ships AND not only cruise ships, but 5 years onboard the line they had just acquired working in the shipboard role they constantly had to liaise with.

    I nailed the interview, but when we got to salary negotiation, they came in $20,000 less than I was going to accept the job for. I was well aware of what it entailed and even described to them 10 different ways I would be able to save them that much money over the year because of my particular expertise and they still wouldn’t budge. I wound up not getting the job, but I felt like I had made the right decision and I was proud of myself for actually negotiating for once.

  3. My wife and I deal with this as well. We dealt a lot with fear in the beginning in turning people away because we saw those who walked as resulting in less for us. We did charge less in the beginning, and still do in some cases now, but have learned if the client isn’t willing to pay close to what we’re worth then it almost always ends on a sour note. Those that do pay almost always take what they’re doing that much more seriously and are great clients to work with.

  4. I’m in a tough spot with this now, 20+ year experience, but in need of a job. I was making a certainly salary, but had a ton a responsibility, may consider taking less depending on role and new responsibility. It’s never an easy discussion.

  5. If you’re at least as arrogant as I am, you can try to prove your worth by asking for a lot right away. It’s worked out all right for me, but I’ve also turned down a few opportunities to work for what probably would have been a great connection.

  6. Great post, Shannon! I’ve definitely had trouble asking for what I’m worth. I even admitted I was willing to accept less for a job once! Awful, I know. And I’ve definitely accepted less than I’m worth to prove my worth. Like when I was hired as my last company’s temporary receptionist for $10 per hour. I knew if I worked hard, I would be promoted and I would eventually make more. Fortunately, I only had to live with that for 4 months 🙂

  7. I would think for certain positions, financial planning included, by charging too less or keeping prices low over the long run could be doing yourself a disservice. Often people correlate cheaper prices to inferior quality and you could be inadvertently turning away clients – who would have paid more. I think you’ve made the right decisions: lower the prices initially, but then increase as you’ve proven your worth.

  8. This is my weakest area as a freelancer and Im constantly working on this part of my life. I expect nothing but the best in other areas, so why am I so hesitant to ask for more when it comes to freelancing? Guess it’s that fear of work not being available or I’ll have no more clients. But at the very least, this is why I do not do sites like fiverr and some others, because I know those sites way undervalue people’s skills.

  9. This is one of my biggest weaknesses. I think part of it is fear of losing out altogether, but people who are looking to hire cheap are usually not the type of clients I want to have anyway.

  10. Love this! When you’re confident, it shows, and I definitely believe you can get more when you believe in your value. Similar to you, I started off low because I felt like I had to prove my worth. After a year, I’ve been steadily increasing my rates, especially because I’ve been working way too much. I’m all for working smarter instead of harder, and that requires bringing more money in. Like Kim said, it’s not worth working for less because those clients typically won’t value the work you do, and they tend to have unrealistic expectations (which isn’t motivating). I’d rather work with people willing to pay for higher quality work.

  11. Great point. I was just telling someone that pricing is perhaps one of the hardest things to do when it comes to running your own business. I’ve definitely raised my prices over the past few years but it takes a lot of strength to turn down projects or partnerships that just don’t pay what I’m worth.

  12. I think with businesses it can be tough, especially if there aren’t many businesses out there that are comparable. I think it’s much easier for someone in my spot who works in finance at a big corporation. Sites like PayScale and GlassDoor give me data that helps me “know” what I’m worth. It can be difficult to ask for what you think you are worth, though, even if you do have data, a track record, etc. I think you made a great point about proving your worth. It’s a big reason why coming in at entry level at a company is more important than getting x more dollars. You can always leverage your experience later on to get paid what you’re worth.

  13. I feel like I am finally being paid what I’m worth. There have been many times in my life when I accepted less – either because I felt I had to or because I didn’t really know how to ask for more.

  14. Yes some people are timid to ask for a fair wage based on the value they give. If you have a solid foundation of clients you can be more adventurous with the fees you charge newer clients. It is a balancing act in order to get the business afloat.

  15. I love that catchy song and love this post. I’ve been getting better at negotiating skills whenever I have a job opportunity arise, though sometimes I wish I had negotiated even higher when the positive response was quick. I’m learning, though, and for me, I think it definitely came with age and with me coming out of my shell and becoming more confident/self-assured.

  16. Nice song Shannon. Actually, this is one of my favorite songs nowadays. I think both sexes should have equal worth. It is based on experience and skills like for example in job employment.

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