Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ban Bargain Shoppers

“So, my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.” ~ Tina Fey, Bossypants

It doesn't matter how many times people tell you to "ask what you're worth", you still probably struggle putting it into practice. I'm no different. I think many of us young career women sometimes excuse our inability to stand by our prices and be confident in the value of our services because we're girls...and we're told that the professional landscapes we live in are hard and unfair and unjust. We have to fight the system, make demands, turn to the aggressive tactics of our male counterparts in order to succeed...

Seriously, this is a crock of certified B.S. Besides being one of the coolest female role models of all time, Tina Fey makes what I think is an important point about this gender divide. We need to stop caring. Really.

When I started out freelancing, I thought that charging as little as possible was the key to getting more work. As soon as I met a haggler, I got dry-mouthed and caved, horrified that a potential client might pigeonhole me as some kind of greedy bitch. I thought that I should be grateful I even got the gig.

Eventually you realize that you need to start walking away from the bargain shoppers. In the end, they will just waste your time, try your patience and kill the joy you reap from your work.

A fellow female entrepreneur I once crossed paths with told me that she had an interior decorating business which was doing well, but she still hadn't met her financial goals after a couple years. She decided to raise her hourly rate 40%. Guess what? She got more business. Conversion rates improved. She got really, really busy. She didn't increase her marketing efforts...all she did was raise her prices. It might seem ridiculous, but it's natural for us to perceive a product or service with a higher price to be of better value and therefore more desirable.

In my opinion, what we need to start doing is simply outperforming the people who get in our way or try to make us feel like we're worth less than our price tags. We need to lavish our attention on the kind of clients that deserve it and not the ones who always want it for less, but demand more.

So try giving yourself a raise sometime in the new year. Stop asking for what you're worth and start expecting it. Make a point of being tough and driven so you can exceed the expectations of your clients and prove your price so they'll never ask you again why you get paid $125 per hour. After all, you're worth it.

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