Are you starting out in business and unsure what to charge for your products or services? Are you worried you are charging too much? Or not enough? Or do you feel you aren’t being paid enough in your job – especially compared to your male colleagues?
I chatted with business coach and mentor April Mack during a thought-provoking Facebook Live recently about how to get paid what you are worth. Here are some key takeaways.
- Self-worth. According to April, this topic is particularly important for women as 60 per cent of women believe they are not being paid what they are worth. ‘This is generally related to how someone feels about themselves,’ said April. ‘You have to value yourself first. And that’s something I’ve struggled with over the years in my corporate career and in the early days of my coaching business.’
April believes the problem is generally related to how confident you feel to ask what you are worth. ‘You really need to understand that you have a gift that other people need and will value – but you need to value it first,’ she said. ‘If you don’t feel right within yourself about asking for more money, then the place you need to start with is yourself.’
- Limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs play a role in us not feeling confident to charge what we are worth. We form limiting beliefs in our childhood – perhaps even earlier. We grow up with rigid beliefs that then impact us for the rest of our lives. These influence our behaviour, our feelings, our emotions and our reactions. Limiting beliefs include thoughts like:
I’m not worthy
Girls aren’t as good as boys
I’ll never be rich
To desire money is greedy
I have to be perfect
But April says you can work with limiting beliefs to reframe them. It’s a fairly simple process that she uses personally and with clients. The steps are to identify the belief, understand how it has served you in the past, uncover the evidence that this belief is not true and no longer serves you, and then to re-write/reframe it in a way that will enhance your self-worth.
A key limiting belief many people have in the current climate is that it is wrong to earn too much money when other people are doing it tough. ‘I work with a lot of clients who are warm-hearted giving people who want to help others. In difficult times like the current time, they feel they need to give things away for free,’ said April.
April argues the problem with giving services away for free or charging too little is it creates an imbalance. ‘There needs to be an appropriate and balanced exchange, otherwise the person receiving the service is unlikely to gain the full benefit of it,’ she said.
- Perfectionism. Perfectionism can also lead to not charging enough for our services. April calls herself a recovering perfectionist, having grown up in an environment where high grades and achievement were rewarded. April says that perfectionists tend to doubt themselves and undervalue what they do, thinking ‘maybe I shouldn’t be charging too much because it’s not perfect’. Again, this is something that can be reframed and worked on in a similar way to limiting beliefs.
- Pricing. April said when she started her own business, she realised she had to set her own prices – and had no idea where to start. She developed a method to work intuitively that she terms ‘working with the Divine’. ‘I quiet my mind and then I ask questions of the universe. Often as I’m thinking about what to charge, a number will just drop in. I then sit with that and notice how it feels in my body. I ask myself: would I get excited to receive that amount of money, or would I feel unhappy about it? I go for the price that makes me feel excited.’ “If you’re not excited and proud to be telling people how much you charge for your product or services, then it’s likely there is work you need to do within yourself.’
April said that it’s also important to consider pricing from the receiver’s point of view. “I believe there’s a universal law of balance”, she said. “A good sign you’re reaching that balance is when you feel good, excited and proud to talk about the price, and the person paying it is excited about investing that amount. If we make our services too low and we know deep within ourselves that it is worth more than that, then the yin/yang balance isn’t going to be there,’ she said. ‘The receiver will receive less value because he/she won’t feel right about getting value because they didn’t pay enough”. April argues it’s useful to remember the purchaser of your services/products is not only buying from you, they are investing in themselves. When you charge an appropriate amount, they have an opportunity to feel like they are making a real investment in themselves and are saying with their purchase “I’m worth it”. April shared that she has found since she increased her prices, her clients are getting bigger and better results. She attributes this to striking a better balance between the amount invested, and the amount received.
- Negotiating. April said she started her career on a salary that was lower than her male colleagues doing the same work. ‘I didn’t negotiate hard because I had a limiting belief that I was not as good as them – despite the fact that I topped all my classes at Uni and received awards,’ she said.
April’s former partner was younger than her – and not as qualified – yet earnt twice as much. He taught her how to negotiate her way to a higher salary. ‘We did a lot of role-playing before interviews,’ she said. ‘The big thing I learned was to never, ever, to disclose the salary I was currently on. And yes, I was asked what I was earning at the interview. Instead, I put the pressure back on them and asked what the role was worth, and what was the salary range for the role.” By not disclosing the amount she was on, April was able to negotiate a 100% increase in her salary.
- Receiving. A significant component of being able to charge what we are worth is having the ability to receive money. April advises people to clean up their relationship with money and in particular, learn to feel good about receiving it. Every time money comes in, April loves it and feels excited, no matter whether it is $5 or $10 or $200. She also loves it as it is going out. April said that while it might sound weird to some to love money, money is essential in our society. ‘I like to think about all the beautiful things that I will do with it when it comes in, and that another person – or even the government – gets to do with it as it goes out.’
Another technique April uses to create an abundance mindset is to research how wealthy women philanthropists use their money to change the world in positive ways. April says she now views abundance more positively and thinks ‘if money ends up in my ethical hands, it’s better than in someone else’s. The more money that comes to me, the more I will help people and contribute to a beautiful society.’ If we reassure ourselves that we will do great and ethical things with the money we receive, then we are more at ease with wanting more of it.
April Mack is a business coach who left a corporate career in IT to mentor and train people who want to or have started their own business. She prides herself on being authentic and telling it as it is.