I don’t know if it’s a women in business thing, or the fact that we’re all hustling on this wide weird digital world, but I’ve noticed more and more emails asking how to know whether or not you’re charging too much and how to get over the feeling of guilt for charging anyone (relatives and friends included) for your products.
Let me start with, while there’s no shame in my game now, there was for a LONG time. I’d feel weird discussing money, especially when it came to friends and relatives. There was this feeling of “wink nudge, discount? come on” that was palpable, but in hindsight I think totally came from me. I felt obligated to give my product away, or would shy away and get nervous when someone asked me how much something was at a show. I’d begin rambling on, most likely scaring the person away, all to make myself feel like I was justifying my price.
No more. I give things away for free still, but have no guilt about trying to make a living for myself and the Mr. We’re adults, we have bills, and in a perfect world we’d be able to all come together and live life for free…but we aren’t in that world. And so for my expertise and time, I charge a fee. Or I use affiliate links for products I love. Or put ads in unobtrusive places.
And I won’t apologize for it. I can’t dedicate the time nor effort into podcasting, blogging, and coaching others if I have to make money other ways.
And you shouldn’t apologize either. Ever.
If you’re feeling gross about money, though, I get it. So let’s break down 8 ways to stop feeling weird about it and #getmoneybitch.
Ready? Let’s go
1. Rethink “money”
Money isn’t worth anything until we say it is. Currency is simply the agreed upon idea that the thing in my hand is worth the coins or pieces of paper in your hand, and the exchange of money for goods or services is the changing of hands. It’s not something to judge yourself by, and it’s not something to feel sorry asking for. Money is the thing in my hand that will go in your hand if you give me that thing you made. Once you break it down to this simple idea, money begins to lose its weight in your mind and suddenly it’ll feel weird to give it so much brainspace.
2. Know Your Costs
If you’re making up prices based on what you think the market will bear then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Learn how much you’re really needing to make to do more than survive/break even and then you’ll feel less weird about charging for your products. The more information you have, the better.
3. Know Your Customer
It’s going to feel less weird to ask someone to pay premium pricing at a Nordstrom than a Walmart, so make sure you’re targeting the right people at the right places.
Here’s an example (that’s slightly “tough love”): Every time I go to visit my family in Florida, we go to this one ginormous flea market. I’m obsessed with it (Mr. loves the bookstore inside) and can always find some amazing deals.
What I wouldn’t be looking for there is high end candles or lotions. There are a few soapmakers there, and I hope they’re doing well, but in my opinion they’re totally out of their element. While I don’t know how much a booth is there, I can tell you that the space isn’t air conditioned, it’s dirty, the end caps are dollar store Chinese knock-offs, and it’s full of people looking to make a deal.
Who wants to touch skincare in a place like that and how do you keep your products clean and sterile? If it were up to me, I’d drag them out of that flea market and put them in artisan craft shows that Disney sometimes does, or have them work on their Etsy stores to reach a customer that is more suited for their products.
4. Be Your Own Amazon
Remember that even though you might not be making millions, you are still running a business. Businesses have costs and American Express won’t care that you felt weird charging for your product. Does Amazon give you things for free just because? No. Amazon has bills to pay and so do you. Put on your business face and leave the meek side of you at the door.
5. Remember Why You’re In This
You’re probably sick of hearing my “why” if you listen to my podcast, but if you can handle one more time: I do this for two reasons:
- My husband deserves a better life balance, as he footed the bill for many years while I was getting my business off the ground
- I don’t know how to do anything as well as helping other people succeed. Which sounds totally “Miss America” but I mean it sincerely. I can’t shut up about something if I think it will help you, so why should I fight it?
So what’s your why? Can you face telling the reason behind those late nights, or missed get togethers, or distracted dinners that you couldn’t ask to be paid because you felt weird about it? Remembering your “why” is what keeps you going on those late nights, but can also help motivate you to overcome the fear of charging what you and your product are worth. It’s not just for you, it’s for you and your “why.”
6. What’s In It For Them?
Remember that if you are having trouble selling something, then it could be that you’re not creating a conversation with your sales pitch. Rework your product copy or sales pitch to include more benefits instead of features. Remember that features tell, benefits sell. What’s in it for your customer if they buy the product? How will it change their life? I don’t care about the product dimensions of your canvas, I care about how looking at it after a rough day at the office will make me feel. I care about showing it off to dinner guests. I care about the attention to detail you put in it. So tell me that when you’re trying to sell it to me and I bet there’s less haggling in your future.
7. Remember that a Transaction is Not a Teeter Totter
Take a little moment and really think about this: Do you feel that a sale means there’s less money in the pool? Do you think it’s a “I win, someone else loses” sorta thing? If you go up on the teeter totter, doesn’t that mean someone else has to go down?
It’s not that simple, and you making a sale is not a zero-sum game. How many times have you been at a show and seen someone go from booth to booth picking out pieces at each table? I’ve seen it dozens of times…it’s true at small artisan craft shows and it’s true in the global marketplace, too. Get rid of the notion that there isn’t going to be enough for everyone and you’ll start to change your mindset from a scarcity feeling to a mindset of abundance. This has tons of good juju that I’ll get into in another post in the future, but it also helps rid your mind of thinking that you should feel guilty because you won and they didn’t. We all win eventually.
8. Remember Your Own Self Worth
If I had to be really honest with myself (eesh), I’d have to admit that my feelings of guilt were symptoms of my low self-esteem back then. Not that I’m full of ego now (oh, wouldn’t that be loverly) but I think remaining proactive with depression treatments and also getting older have helped me learn that I am valuable and should feel that way. And so should you! Your skills, your talent, your self, these are all things that are of value and are worth something. Don’t let anyone make you feel like it’s beneath them to value your skillset. They might not see the value, but I can guarantee you there are others that do…it’s just a matter of finding them.
Next time you’re making a sale, give one of these steps a shot. Just try one…then let me know in the comments how it goes.