Are you earning what you deserve to be earning?
I was visiting my friend, Marie, who recently lost her husband, Carl. He was so important in my life and, as we know since his passing, many people’s lives. We were sitting in her kitchen, having a cup of tea with sliced cantaloupe, telling stories about Carl. We were on the subject of women and money and she said, “Did you know that the person who printed the Declaration of Independence was a woman? Carl always used to say, ‘Yeah, and I bet she did it for free.’” We roared with laughter!
Now why was it easy to imagine Carl’s comment to be true? Because the person who inked that auspicious document was a talented artist and a woman—two categories of people that traditionally find it hard to put value on their work.
Carl was an artist who worked mostly in metal. The table that I’m writing from right now was custom made for me by him. If you’re one of my friends on Facebook, you’ll see the picture of me sitting at that table with the mirror he made to go with it. (He knew how to accessorize tables!)
Carl and I had many discussions about artists and how hard it is to charge for our services. I believe that image consultants fall into that “artist” category as we create art and function for our clients. Our work with art principles makes our clients look original and beautiful. People like us are passionate about what we do. Certainly, if money were no object, we’d probably do it for free. We love it that much.
But here’s something that Carl pointed out to me many years ago: if I don’t charge good money to do what I do, I won’t be able to stay in business. All the clients I am serving will lose the opportunity to have my help.
And if I don’t stay consistent with my charges—that is, don’t give it away to people for free—I’m diluting my brand. I’m not being professional.
Maybe you have an easy time charging for your services, but are there ways that earning opportunities slip through your fingers? Do you do lots of things for clients that you never charge for like pre-shopping, returning items to stores or creating fabulous look books for them for FREE?
I know Mikelann will have a lot to share with us, but in the meantime, I encourage you to look at all areas of your business and see if there are ways that you’re short changing yourself. Earning a good living doing what we love doing is a source of self-esteem and self-respect. I’d say the value of that is priceless! I wish for us all that we value ourselves as we value our clients, give value to others while receiving value (guilt-free) in return. That simple principle (not always simple to follow) is one where I believe we need “to stand like a rock.”