“Yes, I’d be happy to do this. Now, with the amount of time you’ve given me, here’s realistically what I can give you. Or with this amount of money, here’s realistically what I can provide. Now, if you want to give me more time or more money, I can get closer to what you want.” – Lois Frankel, Ph.D.
Does that statement sound strong and empowered to you? Or does it make you cringe?
It’s from an article on Inc. – an interview with businesswoman Lois Frankel, Ph.D. The article is called Why Nice Girls Finish Last.
It certainly got me thinking. About me and my business. About how much I am willing to give, and what I am worth.
See, I’ve reached that point of ‘success’ (how do you even define that, anyway?) where people come to me for advice or help with their own businesses.
It used to be that I would help out anyone who came my way – for free.
But a while ago now I decided it was time to draw the line.
I have so many projects going on that I barely have time to keep on top of my business, let alone helping people with theirs for free.
My time truly is limited, and precious, and I simply couldn’t justify giving away my time any more. And honestly? I love teaching, but my core business is jewellery making and blogging – not coaching. I needed to make sure I had the time to focus on the core of my business.
So, I decided to charge people for my time. If they wanted my help, they needed to pay me what my time was worth.
Boy oh boy, was that a HARD decision to make!
See, I’m a “nice girl.” I like to help people, and I hate to say no. It makes me feel uncomfortable, like I’m letting people down.
I’m guessing you’re a “nice girl,” too. Because gosh, doesn’t it feel great to be thanked, and praised, and loved? It does. And we, as women, have somehow gotten it into our heads that if we say “no” or stand up and ask for payment for what our time is truly worth, that we are being “unkind” or “greedy.”
But we’re not.
We’re in business; we should treat what we do as business.
That’s not to say we can’t be kind, compassionate, caring, and helpful… but we need to be these things in a way that doesn’t result in us losing out!
We need to stop being afraid of charging what we’re worth. We need to stop being afraid to say no.
I have been saying “no” for a while now, and you know what? Every person who I’ve had to say no to has been gracious and understanding.
Of course, when I say “no” I say it in a respectful and kind way that explains my point of view. And very much like the quote at the top, I often say an “if, then” rather than a flat-out no.
For example, “I’d love to help you; however, due to the volume of requests I receive, I can no longer assist people with their businesses for free. Here is the link to my ‘hire my brain‘ page. Please get in touch if you’d like to work with me!.”
When I am confident of what I can and cannot give, other people seem to sense that and are satisfied.
I’m sure I’ll come across the odd person who doesn’t respond this way, but that’s life. I can’t let that hold me back from asking for what I’m worth.
I think I’ll let Louise sum it up:
“It would be, to get the things that you want in life, you need to take risks. You need to get outside your comfort zone and be willing to deal with other people’s discomfort, because if you spend your life making other people comfortable, you may feel good, but you’re not going to get what you really want.”
How do you tread this line in your own business – and life?