As an entrepreneur, figuring out how to get paid is a crucial element. While talking about money can be awkward, it is an important conversation to have. Both of us have been through the process of starting out and offering things for free to where we are now--both of us having very successful businesses. We have learned a lot along the way, so today we are giving our practical advice on how to do this for yourself.
We are actually breaking this up into two parts. This first part is all about getting into the mindset of getting paid for what you do. Part two, which we will get to next week, will go into the practical steps that go into actually charging for your products or services.
Figuring out how to start getting paid for entrepreneurial work can be overwhelming. We have broken it down into some simple steps you can take to get into the mindset of actually charging for your work.
Building an arsenal that supports your fees
The first step is having an arsenal of tools that show the value of your work. This is what people look at to see why you are worth what you are charging. It includes things like media kits, testimonials, certifications, a website, social media presence, etc…
What items you have in your arsenal will depend on the industry you are in. Our arsenal as speakers, for example, has to include a speaking reel. Think about what you would look for if you had to hire yourself. What things would you look for in order to make a decision? What items show people you are competent at what you do and make you the best choice in your field.
Getting out of the free mindset and moving to the paid mindset
When you first start out you may have to do things for free in order to build up your arsenal. We both did that when we first started out. You can offer your product or service for free at first to get reviews, credibility, followers, etc...Starting out this way is fine and at times necessary, but it is important to know when to move away from that. Here are some things to be aware of as you decide when to start charging:
Learn to ask for the sale
One of the most important skills you have to have as an entrepreneur is learning how to ask for the sale. You must be confident in what you are offering and the price you are asking. Use direct language and get to the point. One thing you shouldn’t do is negotiate against yourself, let them be the one to start the negotiating process and don’t promise a discount right away. If someone’s budget doesn’t match up with your pricing, instead of giving a discount maybe you can offer additional value. Not every sale will come through, and that is OK. If you can’t reach a price point you are comfortable with, it’s OK to walk away.
What you charge matters
Think about a high-end brand like Louis Vuitton. The cost of a bag from Louis Vuitton is much higher than a bag from J.C. Penney. And you don’t see Louis Vuitton giving discounts, why? Because there is a perceived value when you charge more.
The same goes for your business. When you charge a high fee, there will be a perceived value with that. Now, you have to be worth the price you charge, and it is important to do research to find out the market value of your industry. But if you go too cheap people will question why it is so cheap. If you make yourself a bargain, you may lower your own perceived worth.
Blake’s advice for women specifically
Oftentimes as young girls, we are taught that it is important for people to like us, and so we grow up into women who are constantly concerned with how others perceive us. But the whole likability thing is really the antithesis of being successful in business. In business you have to take risks, you have to be bold, and you have to be willing to say things that other people may not say. You cannot be concerned with whether or not people like you.
I used to be a very self-conscious and insecure person. Even though I had strong opinions and ideas, I tried to hide them. But over the years I have learned that it’s so important to be true to myself and that I don’t need everyone to like me. Women need to speak up! Start talking, have an opinion, participate in meetings, don’t apologize for yourself, show up.
Also, get to know your money. A lot of times women shy away from money matters, but it is important to be interested in where your money goes, how much money you are bringing in, etc…
These are some important things to keep in mind as you figure out how to start getting paid for the work you do. Join us next week when we will discuss some practical steps you can take to actually set price points, negotiate, close the deal and more.