Angela’s Note: Julie Roads stepped in last-minute to speak at a Problogging panel at Type-A-Mom Blog Conference with me last year, and in the process I discovered a kindred spirit. We both have very clear ideas about valuing ourselves as writers so I immediately thought of her to share with you. She ghostwrites, blogs for companies, speaks, consults and “thrives on helping you find your authentic voice & social media and real relationship marketing., and KEEP THEM, while you grow your business online and off.” Her company, Writing Roads, is a writing and marketing company that specializes in web content, blogs,
Because it’s your job to do so, not anyone else’s
This is a tough one. Why? Because there are some things you need to pack for the trip to remembering-your-value-ville: Self-esteem, self-preservation and good old-fashioned self-respect. When you remember your value and ask others to recognize it, you are sticking up for yourself – to the nth degree. So fill your bag…and let’s go.
If you don’t place value on your work, other people will pick up on that. When you state your fee, don’t cower, don’t play small! Pull your shoulders down, puff out your chest a bit, let your voice be strong. “This is what I charge!!!”
Negotiations and Saying it Out Loud
Time and again, I’m asked to reduce my prices. And the asker is, essentially, telling me that he doesn’t think I’m worth what I originally asked him for, what I think I’m worth. But, I have to be honest – for a myriad of reasons, I will, in fact, lower my prices. When:
- Work is slow (really slow)
- I really like the client
- The topic is important to me
- The project is a new medium that I haven’t worked in previously and I want the experience and the line item on my resume
- The possibilities for ongoing work with this client are high and vast (be careful here and be clear that you will lower your price only this once!)
But, I know people that will not reduce their fees no matter what. It’s a matter of worth and value – whether you lower them or whether you don’t. It’s your choice.
Here’s my rule of thumb to judge the value factor: When someone asks me to write a website for, say, $1000, I do two things:
- I go stand in front of the mirror and I say, ‘I just got a job to write a website for $1,000.’
- I call someone whose opinion (of me) matters and I say, again, ‘I just got a job to write a website for $1,000.’
And I watch my reaction in both cases. Am I proud? Am I embarrassed? Do I make excuses (about why it’s okay to except so little or to except so much)? Does my voice get quiet or loud? How do I feel about myself when I say it out loud?
It’s a check-in system. And it’s fairly foolproof. There is no avoiding that internal cringe system when you know that you are being devalued! When you know that you are devaluing yourself!
How do you know how valuable you are?
As a marketing copywriter, I do not charge by the hour, I charge by the project. This is because one of my mentors once told me, “I work twice as fast and charge three times as much as I did three years ago.” She believes in her value. Why should she take a hit in her fees because she’s fast and fantastic at what she does? Why should the fact that she’s three years better and three years faster lower her value? It shouldn’t! That makes no sense. Her value has undeniably increased!
You are valuable. Seriously, you’ve got it going on. It’s easy to see if you break it down.
Finding your value
To find your value, you need to sort through your history and add things up. Like a tab at a restaurant. List the following (literally on paper – do this for yourself):
- Education (both formal and informal)
- Experience (both formal and informal)
- People you know
- Resources you have at your finger tips
- Personality traits (people person, creative, funny, patient, etc…)
- That je ne sais quoi that only you have
Write it all down. All of these things make up your worth…and I bet your list is long.