Charging What You’re Worth

Let’s talk about money.

More specifically, let’s talk about profit.

First of all, if you’re in business, that’s an undeniable part of it. Profit. Say it out loud with me! Don’t be ashamed of it. You are in business to make money. If you aren’t, you have a hobby.

And yes, I am the first person to tell you that your business needs to fulfill you, fill up your cup, make your heart sing – I’m all about passion and purpose. No secrets there. But you HAVE to make sure you’re pricing yourself properly.  I think when you can get all these beautiful things to intersect, you’re well on your way to the authentic life we’re all craving.

However, the more women in business I meet, the more I start to hear the same things over and over again.

“Oh, I don’t charge much because my husband makes all the money.”

“I want to be fair to my customers, and don’t want to overcharge them.”

“I only do this part time, so I don’t feel right charging a lot.


Your time has value.

Actually, let’s start at the very bottom. You have value. You, what you have to offer, the experience of working with you, the items you craft – all of those things make you valuable. You’ve got worth, girl.

So, that goes without saying that you have value. And even if you’re doing this part time, the time you spend doing it takes you away from other things – right?

I love my work. It’s pretty common knowledge that I’m head over heels in love with doing what I do. But what I do is still work – when I do this, I’m not doing other things – spending time with my kids, reading a book in the bathtub, dancing with my friends. All of those things are important, too. And so there is a cost to my work – a cost that has to be directed somewhere.

Your time has value. So how have you determined that you shouldn’t charge too much?

In those things I quoted above, what I hear is:

“My work is less important than my husband’s.”

“I’m supposed to be nice, and not greedy.”

“I’m not  a legitimate business and I don’t mind if my customers treat me that way.”

So, when we start to talk about what you should charge, we first have to stop all these inner monologues you’ve got going on in your head.

“My work is important. “

“Being nice and charging what I’m worth aren’t mutually exclusive concepts.”

“Wanting to be profitable and being greedy aren’t the same thing.”

“I’m a legitimate business, and my customers will respect me the minute I respect myself.”

Once you’ve got that stuff down pat, suddenly  you start to see how charging what your worth is the only acceptable way to be in business. Suddenly, when you set your pricing and talk about it, you do it with confidence, instead of with apology. When people tell you you’re expensive, you understand that there’s a client out there who will see your value and happily pay it, and this person isn’t them and that’s okay. You stop cutting deals and giving things away for free because you understand that people don’t value free or cheap. You get choosier about your time and how you spend it. You start to consider questions like “Does this help me achieve my goals for my business?” “Does this make sense for me to say yes to?” You figure out how to say no. You figure out how to say yes.

That’s why the business advice section of Vivid & Brave’s blog is called “Money Makers”. In the end, your best clients want you to stay in business, and to do that, you have to make money. You have to be profitable. You can’t let your work drain you of your resources and time without financial compensation for that. You won’t stay in business. You’ll start to resent your work, and your clients, and eventually yourself. Change your monologue! And raise your prices.

Photo by Duckie Monster  via Creative Commons

Stephanie Ostermann

I’m the sort of girl who you meet for coffee and end up pouring your entire heart out to. The friend you come to when you need someone to call it straight. No bullshit. No extras. Just truth.

I’m a communicator. That’s a PC way of saying I like to talk, but I also spend a lot of my time listening, and over the years, I’ve developed a sense for subtext – how one or two words can change your entire message, what people are really trying to say and how to weave the varied layers of your story into one cohesive brand message that your clients fall in love with.

When I'm not acting as editor in chief for Vivid & Brave, you can find me geeking out over words here.

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