We hear a lot in the media about the wage gap that female employees experience in the workplace, but I did not notice that it was a problem there is a similar gap for women entrepreneurs. If we can set our own prices, why don't we make more money?
Look, we can point the finger in a million directions. We have to ask less to get our foot in the door. We are not taken as seriously as men. Men are only more aggressive when it comes to demanding more.
But I think we have to admit our own role in the situation.
I know when I started my marketing company in 2006, the idea of billing more than $ 50 for a press release seemed absurd to me. Who should I charge more for? I hadn't been in the industry for that long (even though I had an MBA) and I felt like I was limping along and it showed. So I calculated little for my services.
I remember my ex-husband begging me to ask for more. I didn't want to risk not getting a new deal because I asked more than they wanted to pay. He told me to only give 20% more for the next potential customer who called. I chose 15%. And the customer readily agreed to this rate.
I was down to earth. Maybe I hadn't calculated enough. How much was my service worth?
Whether you believe that men are inherently aggressive hunters who are not afraid to kill the beast or close the sale, you have to admit that we are certain of our gender behavior in terms of our behavior Patterns have come. Certainly not every man will quote twice what an entrepreneur demands from a customer. Also, not every woman will play lowball herself.
But I think history flows through our veins and some of our challenges in terms of what we are worth result from the struggle it took to get where we are. Given that women who have the right (to choose, to work, to have an opinion, to be successful) have a relatively new status, it is understandable that we feel a little shaky with our newly discovered power , even if we were born after the women's library. Memories of oppression live long and many women just don't want to rock the boat.
So we don't ask what we want.
We quote a price that we're fairly certain will be paid for by a customer. We do not ask for an increase, even if we have been working with a customer for years. We play it safe and have to work longer and harder to make ends meet.
As I write this, I find that I have used the verb "ask" twice. Men don't "ask" for more money. They say, "This is what I charge. Take it or leave it. "
Why do we ask for permission to get what we deserve?
Over the years I have gradually increased my rates. Sometimes I throw away what I think is exorbitant just to see if the customer bites. Sometimes they (hurray!) And sometimes they refuse. But the more customers I get at a higher rate, the safer I have become to know what I'm worth. Now I'm paying more than many of my competitors, but I know I'm damn good at what I do and I know I'm worth it. If a potential customer can't or doesn't want to pay it, I know it doesn't fit well.
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I think that is deeply personal for every entrepreneur. I can tell you to have confidence in yourself and your abilities, but I can't make you safer – that comes from within. I will tell you that if you get paid more for one project, it will light a fire and you will start to charge that much (or more) for the next one.
I would suggest not to publish your tariff sheet publicly. Women publish their prices online three times more often than men. As a result, they earn 15% less than those who negotiate their prices privately. Yes, I wasted time chatting with a potential customer who couldn't afford it in any way, but I try to present my prices immediately when we talk about what they're looking for so we don't waste too much time .
Know what others in your industry are demanding. You may be amazed that others earn twice or even three times your fees. Use this as a launch pad to find out how to charge comfortably. (Spoiler alert: it may never be pleasant to charge what you are worth. Lean in.)
Be uncomfortable. You might feel bad if you quote a customer more than ever. Do not apologize. Don't justify. Just be silent. Live in this discomfort. And if that customer agrees with your rate, you can thank me for the short-term pain that has led to long-term growth.
Do not charge by the hour. This applies to services such as writing, graphic design or advice. I work at lightning speed, so the hourly recharge kills me. Instead, I calculate by project or length of the article. I know how many articles I can write in an hour, so I have a rough idea of how much I earn every hour, but the customer never has to know that what he accepts would take me all day. I was done in two hours.
Being aware of the problem is a starting point. Don't sign customers who focus more on costs than results. You have to learn that quality work costs money, and although you may lose some customers as a result, you stay with those who value your work at the price you calculated.
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