Hello again; Today I want to talk about an important subject. I want to discuss the age old fear of are you good enough. This subject came to me as i was wrestling with another problem common to all bloggers and that is what to charge. I hope hearing my thoughts will help you with your own inner discussion.
When I first started blogging with the new website, I wasn’t sure people would want to read my posts much less hire me for coaching or speaking. I set the blog up on a free platform so i wouldn’t have to invest the time and money of choosing and filing for a domain name as well as creating a new site. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only do people like my posts but quite a few of my readers say they depend upon them and look forward to them. So, I moved over to word press and continue to be impressed by the response of my readers. But that brings me to the subject of coaching and what to charge for it.
I don’t have any formal training as a coach or mentor. I plan to draw on my own experiences to motivate and inspire clients. For this reason I decided not to charge for the service. I figured I can do it for free for a while and find out if I like it and if I am any good at it. I put it out there that I was available. I especially promoted it among the blind and visually impaired community. So far, I have had only one response, and he did not return for a second session.
Investing in yourself
I started thinking about the whole idea of offering a service for free, and it reminded me of a seminar I went to in 1984. I was in a college prep summer program in Austin, and they had someone from one of the guide dog organizations come around to give a talk. I decided against getting a dog. But the thing I remember from the talk was that anyone wanting a guide dog would have to raise $250 on their own to take part in the program. They said that people are far more likely to work the program and respect the dogs if they have to invest in them in the beginning.
Then, I thought back to the classes I had to take prior to having the gastric surgery. My insurance company told me I had to go, but then they refused to pay for them. Each class cost me $30 out of pocket. At that time any sum was difficult. But we always managed to come up with it along with the gas money for the trip to downtown Houston and the fees for parking. I knew I needed the surgery, and I had to take the classes to get the procedure done. At the end we also had a $100 consultation with a psychologist. The investment turned out to be a great one for my future health and well being.
How to set prices
So, with that in my mind, I thought about articles I have read where personal development experts say that a person has to be willing to invest in themselves if they truly want to grow as a person. I had already decided to start charging for coaching, but the question then becomes how much. I asked a few of my friends who do this how they came to their fees, and they told me to read blogs from coaches and see how they go about setting prices.
I did this, and I found posts that talked about income targets, billable hours, non billable hours, other expenses, etc. I found a few posts that talked about finding a number that speaks to you. I thought this sounded more like me, but it still didn’t answer the question.
I finally decided that it comes down to what am I worth. What I mean is do I believe I can help people. If I can help people, then what should that be worth to them. No matter what price I set some will say its too high and others will avoid me because its too low. Since there is no right answer, I finally decided to check out the rates of some of my blogging friends who do consulting or coaching.
Knowing I am worth it
It may have taken a lot of encouragement from my friends in the blogging world, but I now know that I am just as good as a lot of others out here. I may not have a fancy certificate or college degree, but I have life experience, a positive attitude, and a good story. So, I believe I am as good as my friends Adrienne Smith, Robin Hallett, Lorraine Reguly, and Ashley Faulkes to name a few. And I believe they would agree with me on this. They would probably also say that they were surprised to hear me say so myself.
The new rates
I have decided upon $50 per 30 minutes with a 30 minute minimum. I will offer a 30 minute free session to discuss what the potential client can expect from me during the process. A client can work with me as often or as rarely as they feel they need it. I will answer some questions by email, and I don’t plan to be obsessive about a few extra seconds or minutes unless I feel I am being abused. This will all take effect on September 1st, so people still have one week to get in a free session.
As things progress I hope to need to raise the fees. I am still working on an ebook, and when it comes out; I plan to offer it with email support and a certain number of coaching sessions. And from time to time I may offer a special to my email subscribers like when my friend Robin has her pay what you can days.
Are you worth it?
So, the question you have to ask yourself is do you help people. Because if you can say yes to that question, then you deserve to be rewarded for the time, effort, and courage it took to offer your help in the first place. If you provide a service such as website creation, online marketing, blog writing or editing, etc; then you have to decide you are worth what you charge. You probably won’t deep down because most of us have trouble with knowing our own worth. If you spend hours, weeks, or months developing an online course or writing an ebook, you have to decide that it is worth what you are charging for it. Its not easy. And most every single one of us will pick a number that is too low.
Like most things we do in blogging this will be a learning experience for me. I may have done it wrong, but at least I did it. I picked a number and announced it to the public. I may get too many clients because my rates are too low. I may still not get any clients at all because people don’t see how someone offering services at these prices could possibly help them. I will reevaluate and adjust as I go. I’ll end this section with something my dad used to say. He always said you can always come down on a price, but its very hard to raise your prices once you have set them.
Something to think about
Do you struggle with self worth and setting prices? Like me, do you worry about your clients and customers or potential ones and their ability to pay? Do you have those times in the middle of the night when you wonder if you are really worth what you are charging. Wen you read about online courses and personal coaching sessions costing hundreds or thousands of dollars; do you think that’s insane. Do you think that could never be me? I recently won an hour with Ryan Levesque. He charges $500 an hour with a minimum of two or four sessions per month depending on the plan people choose. I’m not mentioning it to brag. I’m mentioning it because I wonder if you thought can anyone be worth that? Or did you think maybe I could charge that someday. Personal one on one coaching is your most involved service, so what I have read says it should be your most expensive offering.
The lesson here
If you have been reading my posts for a while now, you know I’ve just recently accepted my roll as an inspiration to others. Now that I have, I want to help as many people as i can. In order to do this successfully i do have to make a living from it at some point. This is the case for all of us. We can only do so much for so many for so long without earning a paycheck from it in some form or fashion. And in order to stay satisfied with the process we have to sell our products and services at prices that match the amount of time, effort, energy, passion, etc that we put into them.
So I encourage you to take a long look at yourself and your business. I hope you will decide you are at least worth what you are currently charging. Some of you are at the point where you should be charging more. Some of you are actually past that point and are reluctant to raise your prices out of fear of lost income or because you are concerned about existing clients ability to pay. But you have to respect yourself and your work enough to charge a fare price. People need you. But you can’t continue to help them if you don’t respect yourself enough to charge what you are worth. I know its hard. I am still learning myself. I hope we can learn together.
When I decided to write this post, I wondered what people would think. I imagine some who read it will be thinking what has he done to have a say on something like self worth and setting prices. And my answer is I am not an expert on this and don’t think I claimed to be. Like all my posts, I just thought it would help my readers for them to know that I struggle with the same things that keep them up at night. I don’t have all the answers especially in the area of what to charge. But I believe in taking whatever steps I can each day; and this is my way of setting an example for my readers.
Sharing is caring
I hope you got something positive out of reading this. If you did, then please share it with your friends, family, and coworkers. I am sure that you know at least one person who needs to be reminded that they are worthy and should be rewarded for their efforts to help others. I hope to see some of you posting it on social media. And if you do, please try to remember to tag me in the post. I know I don’t always do it or do it properly, but I am working on it. 🙂 I love getting those email alerts, and I imagine you do to; so I’ll do better. And email subscription or small contributions are also ways you could show your appreciation.
I am always happy to hear from my readers. Its by connecting with people through emails and blog commenting that I have learned a lot of what I am sharing. Its also how I have received opportunities to be interviewed or be a guest on another person’s site. I’m here for you. Let’s talk soon. Thanks and take care out there, Max