In July 1999, I declared out loud in the middle of an open-plan office where I worked, that I would be out of the Company by the end of the year. I hated my job with a passion! There was no hesitation, no doubt. But how I would do this, I did not know. Then I forgot about it.
In October that same year, my Mother died and I felt the urge to speak at her funeral. Despite the difficult circumstances, it was a positively powerful experience. I knew if I could do that, I could do anything. Just a matter of weeks later, the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy came up and I grabbed it with both hands. With no job to go to and only a feeling that I wanted to be in training, I set forth. Training what? I hadn’t got a clue. I just knew that I had to follow my heart.
It’s been a long and tortuous journey since then and I won’t go into all the details, otherwise we’d be here until kingdom come. However, when I look back, I see that one thing has led to another and I’ve finally found what I was looking for.
So why did I decide to create a niche to help professional services charge what they’re worth and get it? Quite simply because I had been coaching for years without even considering charging what I’m worth. In fact, for as long as I can remember and long before I became a coach, I felt naturally drawn to helping people shift and really enjoyed doing it. So when I started working with people professionally, I hadn’t really considered my value and in any case, was not sufficiently confident in myself to be able to charge my true worth.
(This is also what’s going on for many of my clients. They lack self-confidence or have low self-esteem and therefore don’t value themselves. In fact, there’s an imbalance between how they treat themselves and how they treat their clients which needs to be addressed. Make no mistake, this has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to do the job which paradoxically is often greater than those who don’t lack confidence!)
This impacted on everything – my work/life balance, my finances and my self-worth! It was a vicious circle. The tension was mounting and became almost impossible to bear. I realised I was not earning sufficient money and I felt under-valued and unworthy.
As luck would have it, I discovered an intensive marketing programme for coaches and, with trepidation, signed up. I was told that I needed to have a niche and in one of the early workshops, the idea of helping businesses value themselves and be able to charge what they’re worth literally just appeared as if by magic.
In the process of creating this niche, I have learned to really understand my own value, be able to communicate it effectively and get comfortable telling people my fees. I finally understand that I can still genuinely help people and charge what I’m really worth. More recently, I have also come to realise that it’s a culmination of my own journey and experience that has resulted in True Worth coming into being.
Personally, I come from the Vanessa Ugatti School of Authenticity, so to me it’s very important to be sure that I can genuinely help. If I don’t feel that I can assist a particular business owner, then I just won’t take that client on. By making sure that I can provide real value and produce tangible results ensures that not only do I remain true to myself but also my clients trust me implicitly.
I used to charge clients on a pay-as-you-go basis at a level of fee that I was comfortable with at the time (not my true worth, though!) This meant that I was not in control of my business or my earnings because I didn’t know up front how many sessions the client would want to have.
There was no financial commitment from the client either, so it was easy for them to cancel a session, which frequently happened. This not only caused financial challenges but also emotional ones in terms of my mixed feelings towards the client. If only I had known then what I know now.
These days I charge for a set number of sessions and payment is up front. This ensures that the client is committed to the work, doesn’t cancel sessions and I can concentrate all my efforts on helping him or her, rather than worrying about whether they’ve paid or whether they’re going to cancel. It was a big shift and it wasn’t easy at first.
However, with support from my mentor, I persisted and I’m now comfortable with working in this way. It’s not just me who benefits, it’s also my clients as I am now able to deliver a higher level of service to them.
My model of the world is that we never stop learning. My plan is to continue developing my business, myself and help as many clients as I possibly can.
So I deeply understand the process of being able to charge what you’re worth and would recommend that if you haven’t yet read my book, True Worth, that you order your complimentary copy today.
If you have any questions in relation to this article, please contact me on 01202 743961 or 07957 672335 or visit my Contact Vanessa Page to book your complimentary True Worth Strategy Session.