Pricing, Value, and Charging What You Are Worth

Jansen kids skiing/boarding

My kids skiing and snowboarding this winter at Timberline, WV.

Every time I send off a proposal to a prospective client, I get nervous.

It’s not the fear of rejection that stops me. If someone doesn’t want to work with me, that’s their prerogative. No hard feelings.

Nope, instead it’s the fear that I will get challenged on pricing, that my expertise and experience will be undervalued.

Though I do value myself and my abilities, society sends us a message that we women are not valued. If we choose to be full-time, stay-at-home moms, society as a whole looks down on us – never mind that we are raising the next generation of innovators, leaders, and skiers and snowboarders. On the other hand, if we choose to work full-time, we are paid 25% less than men. We can’t win!

Well, guess what? Society’s message has gotten through to us – which explains why I am afraid my work won’t be valued.

According to this article published by Intuit, a professor of social psychology at NYU asked 132 college students (64 women and 68 men) to write an essay about computer shopping:

“The students were asked how much they would pay an author who produced the same composition. As a group, the women paid themselves 18 percent less than the men paid themselves for the same work.”

That is crazy! It is upsetting. It is sad. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Case I point: I just raised my rates, and long-time clients didn’t blink. I have even run my pricing strategy by women I trust, and they encouraged me to charge more!

So what do we do? Well, here are my suggestions for ensuring that you’re charging what you are worth:

Believe in yourself. If you are getting paid for your work, you are doing something right! My business is five years old and not only am I good at what I do, but I love being a copywriter. In fact, I think I am pretty darn lucky that I get paid to do something I enjoy so much. If you’re in the same boat, you got there because of your skills, not someone else’s. Embrace them and believe in them.

Research going rates. Make sure you are charging what the market can handle (I know I am – are you?) If you charge a premium, explain why – and back up that reason with numbers – especially around the ROI you deliver.

Bring up budget during a project discussion. Oftentimes, people have set aside a certain amount of money to spend on a project. Ask them point-blank what their budget is. That way, you can let them know what you can do within that budget and prevent any surprises when you deliver a proposal.

Don’t apologize. I have learned to never apologize for pricing. If someone asks for a bit of flexibility, I will consider it based on earnings potential from a long-term relationship with that person/company. After all, I can always raise rates in a year.

Finally, if someone really challenges you on pricing, don’t won’t work with them. Going into a project with that much distrust is no way to do business and build a healthy working relationship. If someone doesn’t trust or value me, well, they can just stick it where the sun don’t shine.

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How do you handle challenges to your pricing? How do you ensure you’re charging what you are worth? Let me know in the comments below!

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