What Are You Worth?

So what is it about us that makes us not believe in our services, our worth and ourselves?

Last week I had three highly different experiences with this that I want to share with you.

The first encounter was when I was speaking to a group of about ten consultants, all practicing in different specialties.

The topic of conversation was “Are you charging enough for your expertise?”

And perhaps the most publicly visible of the crew—an author and regular speaker on his niche circuit—was convinced he couldn’t possibly charge higher, value-based fees.

The second experience was an industry pro with a highly targeted niche offering—she has the experience and gravitas to charge almost anything she’d like. And yet she discounted her fees—and her worth—to a buyer who decided he’d try to bully his way to a lower price.

And then third, there was this comment on my blog to an old post I’d re-shared on social media:

“If I want to get to the next stage of my work, I have to make cold calls to agents and producers. I’m an introverted film writer, I have a huge passion for my work but I have a phone phobia and freeze with fear every time I try to reach out to that person I’ve done copious research on and I know if I could sell myself I would take my work to a new height. Any advice?”

My response (slightly edited for length/privacy):

“Sounds like you’ve literally done all the right prep and the only thing stopping you is fear, right? At the risk of pointing out the obvious–you’re ready. The only thing stopping you is, well, you. The worst that can happen is someone says “no”. And that means you can move on to someone who says “yes”. Doesn’t your work DESERVE to get into the right hands? You can do this…”

It was a short blog response, so I didn’t wax poetic about learning how to make cold calls or turn them into warm calls.

My gut said her question wasn’t about the mechanics but about pushing through her fear.

In fact, I’m going to argue that all three of these situations were about fear.

Fear of trying something new (and failing).

Fear of not meeting your revenue number (or much worse, your mortgage, your rent, your groceries).

Fear of putting yourself out there. Of rejection. Of hearing that someone doesn’t value your worth the same way you do.

But here’s the thing.

You, me, we all have worth in the marketplace.

We have value to our sweet-spot audience—the clients and buyers we are thrilled to serve.

Maybe you haven’t figured out exactly how much yet.

Perhaps you’re experimenting with how you price yourself and negotiate your terms (hey, I argue we never want to stop experimenting).

Or you’re just practicing your pitch.

No matter which stage you find yourself in, just know when you price yourself—and when you’re negotiating how you’ll work—that you have value.

You don’t need to put yourself on sale.

You are not negotiating from the bargain bin.

Simply take it as a given that you are worthy to conduct candid conversations with future clients where you’ll BOTH be aligned on the value you deliver.

p.s. For more about value pricing, check out our Business Of Authority episode 10 here or on itunes here.


  • Love the car….

    But really, realistic valuation remains important. If you undervalue you basically just get by. I view professional services as distinct from mass marketing (Albeit a book or speech can have that aspect.). Some of us may not be on a level of a performer or sports figure making mucho dollars but our distinctive services still qualify us as special and deserving of fee or fee arrangement that reflects who we are and what we offer to clients.

  • Rochelle

    Thanks Corey–couldn’t agree more 🙂

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