How to Charge What You're Worth
When I was 21, I spent months reaching out to entrepreneurs I admired, basically begging them to hire me.
I got rejected at least five times. Ignored at least 50 times.
Then I got a single, elusive yes.
“What did you have in mind in terms of payment?”
Uh, I’ll take literally anything?
I had no idea what to say.
I was curating the dude’s podcast into a book. I had spent probably 100 hours creating a sample (I know, I’m insane), and the project would take another 100 or so.
I suggested a profit share. That’d get me off the hook!
“Since this is our first time working together, I’d be more comfortable with a one-time payment.”
Shit. Fuck. What does one charge for a job that has no precedent?
I told him $5,000. He’d probably laugh and say that’s too much.
Fuck! Now I know I charged way too little.
But whatever. I did it.
Today, I was on a strategy call with a woman who seemed wonderful. She sent me 10 beautiful covers to books she’s writing. Brilliant covers. Captivating illustrations.
So I asked if she was interested in my coaching program – to start building her audience, publishing successfully, and making more money.
“I’d love to work with you, but to be completely transparent – I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck. I can’t afford it.”
I couldn’t believe that a woman that talented was living paycheck to paycheck. My heart broke. It turned out, she was a business coach … loved by her clients, and dramatically undercharging.
A year after charging $5,000 for (at least) 200 hours of work, I charged $250 for an hour-long coaching call. Then $500.
And had my clients thank me for it . I finally felt confident that I was delivering value on what I was charging.
Was I 10x more valuable than the year before?
For me, it honestly came down to just asking people to pay more . Whenever someone asked my price, a number immediately came to mind. But I had a rule of thumb: Double it.
It was really uncomfortable. I cringed as I spoke. But I only got rejected once.
Funny enough, people are often happy to pay more, as long as you’re bringing more value.
Here are five ways to start charging what you’re worth.
- Tell your clients you’re increasing your prices by 25%, starting with the next billing/contract period. Give them a good reason why.
And obviously, offer them a chance to cancel.
- Target a different audience – one with a larger budget.
Targeting solopreneurs? Go for companies with 10-50 employees.
- Create a new offer that you think offers 6x the value of your current package. Increase the time you’re offering; the amount of content; the depth or the breadth. Give them more deliverables. Whatever. Then triple the price.
- Create a package so expensive and ridiculous that you think nobody will buy it. No matter how expensive something is, there’s someone that wants it. Just make sure it’s suuuuuuuper valuable. A VIP experience.
I’ve never considered buying a Bentley or paying $1,200/night for a hotel, but some people do it with a smile on.
- With your next prospect, double your price and see if they say no. You’re not charging enough until you get rejected.
- Offer a money-back guarantee. Charge more, but guarantee you’ll deliver more.
Above all, focus on VALUE. That word is cliche, but important. Can you create an offer that will make your prospect a 5x+ return on their investment?
If your offer isn’t purely financial … can you find a way to quantify it? Think in terms of opportunity cost. What is your client’s time worth? What frustration are you saving them? What will their newfound space or time lead to?
I don’t have a million bucks in the bank, but if you could prove to me that if I pay you a million bucks – you’ll make me $5 million – I’ll find a way to raise the million and pay you.
There’s no such thing as a price too high – only value too low, client too poor, or offer too confusing or unbelievable.
Are you currently charging what you’re worth? Are you charging people at all? If not, what’s stopping you?
I’ll be creating much more content on this in the coming weeks/months.
So I ask you: Whether you make $10 an hour or $10 million a year … what questions or struggles do you have around charging what you’re worth?