Are you undervaluing yourself?

Are you undervaluing yourself? To be able to answer this question, you have to know what you’re worth. After all, whether you’re offering services or products, before you can sell them you have to set prices, right?

I remember my first gig as an independent contractor.

I was a pre-teen and an excellent babysitter. All of the families I sat for were familiar faces from either my neighborhood or from school. Yet, I remember shrinking, mortified, whenever a parent {a grownup, eek!} would ask me how much I charged.

Looking back I’m fairly certain I never actually answered the question. I think I usually responded with some version of “whatever you think is fair” and gratefully took whatever I was offered.

When I graduated from college and started planning weddings part-time, I encountered the same issue.

How much do you charge?

I argued inside my head for a while. If I go too high, they might not hire me. If I go too low, I may feel like I’m working for nothing! Better stay “competitive” just to be safe.

Not once did I consider what my skills and experience were actually worth to provide the bride and groom and their families with a beautiful, memorable and stress-free wedding.

Because my desire to close the deal outweighed my business savvy at the time, I only charged my full rate once in my four years planning weddings.

Luckily for me, this was just something I was doing on the side. All of the money seemed like a bonus to my income. But as time went on {and I became a mom} I actually started turning more brides away than I was agreeing to help. It just wasn’t worth my time and talents for the amount I was going to charge.

Of course, I could have restructured my pricing if I wanted to make a real go at it in the industry. In the end I realized that while I enjoy being intensely organized and guiding couples through the planning process, weddings just weren’t my passion regardless of my fees.

Asking yourself if you’re being undervalued isn’t just a question plaguing serial freelancers and business owners. Knowing what you’re worth is important when applying for jobs and seeking a raise or promotion from your employer.

How do you determine your value?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone selling their house? They always seem to think it’s worth more than it is.

When we listed our house this spring, the market was booming and my husband and I were confident that we could turn a profit on our home. My parents, both realtors and representing us, reminded us of a common saying in real estate.

“A house is only worth what someone will pay for it.”

To get a house ready to put on the market, you first have to do your homework. You evaluate comps to see what other homes nearby are selling for. You inspect your home and determine if any updates need to be made to improve the value. Rarely does someone just declare “my house is worth a million dollars!” and get away with it {unless, of course, it’s a million dollar house}.

Next, you invest some time and money. You declutter, clean, and paint. You get any outstanding repairs done.  That way, when you slap on the sticker price and open the doors, you’re presenting your home as the best version of itself and hope to get top dollar – and fast!

Your business may not change quite as frequently as the housing market, but when determining your value the same thought process should occur.

You are educated, qualified and prepared to be doing whatever it is you’re doing. Next step? You need to know what your services or products are worth, so you start with market research. Then, find your ideal client and ask if they’d be willing to pay what you’re asking. Then, before you hit the pavement, make sure you’ve fine tuned whatever it is you’re offering. Ask your friends and family for feedback. Your products and services should be something you are proud to stand behind.

Once you know what you’re worth, don’t accept anything less.

Ultimately, only you will be able to advocate for your awesomeness. By identifying your ideal client, you’ve done yourself a huge favor by also establishing that your business may not be for everyone. There may be those that cannot afford your services or don’t appreciate your product.

And that’s okay.

Whether you’ve got a job to do or a business to run, I hope you feel empowered to do so while earning the compensation you deserve. You’re worth it.

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