If someone asked you what you’re worth – your talent, skills, abilities – knowledge, expertise and all else you bring to the world – what would you say? How would you answer? Would you ask whether the questioner is a “believer” or not? Or would that matter to you at all?
Over the past weekend, I started researching a specific topic for the “Women’s Sunday Series, and ended up finding something totally unrelated. Unrelated to the matter at hand, but the answer to questions women and I have had throughout the years. Amazing that I had not seen these Scripture passages until now; or so I thought. While I’m sure I have; they did not resonate since the question they answer had not been recently raised!
Our value or worth is often the topic of discussion – especially among women in business. And when it’s a woman who owns or partners in a micro-business; the question may be more poignant and wistful than a simple request for information.
Add to that she is a woman of faith in the business world; and the answer gets more complicated!
Why the complication? Well it seems that women of faith struggle with charging for our services. Especially so when the client is another woman of faith. For some odd reason, we feel a need to give away our knowledge and expertise freely for the simple reason that someone-somewhere-sometime told us we must. It’s bad enough that women in general struggle with pricing ourselves at full value – but add the spiritual piece; and it becomes a real tug a’ war.
I mentioned I stumbled across pertinent Scripture when looking for something else. Here’s what I found:
“Those who are taught of the Word of God should help their teachers by paying them!” (Galatians 6:6)
“Those who work deserve their pay!” (I Timothy 5:18)
There we have it. Spoken with authority by Paul in a letter to the Galatian church and to his protege’ Timothy. And I have no doubt that Paul speaks with the authority of PAPA when he instructs us to pay those who teach us and those who work. And Paul doesn’t define the “work”. Simply if folks work – pay them!
Now that that is settled; what keeps us from determining our worth and setting it as our fee-for-services? Let’s examine what may hold women in business back from charging our worth.
1. We grew up in a religious tradition that taught money is evil. I recall the many times I heard an evangelist spout the Scripture that we can’t serve God and mammon. Equally I recall as an adult woman, the shock of walking in on a conversation between an evangelist and church stewards in which the evangelist was lamenting how small the collection was. Well of course it was, he had just told us we couldn’t serve both!
2. We are uncomfortable with money-talk! We may not think of it as “evil”; but there’s something less sexy about honestly discussing our fees with others. Any others!
3. More often than not, there’s a thread that runs through our heads which holds ourselves in less esteem than is factual. We do not view what we have to offer with the same confident assurance as those on the outside looking in.
4. We fear the loss of the sale. What in reality seems quite fair and reasonable to another may seem exorbitant to us. So we shave and shave in order to make certain we get the sale – rather than setting our fee based on actual worth. Sad part? Most likely we would have gotten the sale with the “fair and reasonable”!
5. Finally, if a woman of faith, we may feel a false sense of guilt for charging another person of faith. And if we do charge; we drastically discount our fee and apologize for not giving it away free.
All, some or none at all may fit for you at various times in life. They certainly do for me. I’m very good at saying I’m done with freebies – only to turn around and give away an hour or more of time with a shrug when the other offers to pay.
Here’s the bottom line!
We are worth our wages. We bring value to the lives of others and for that; we can, should and ought be paid. Paid full value based on what we know we’re worth; and the market will bear.
Have I resolved this conflict for myself? Good heaven’s no. But here’s how I have approached it to get a realistic idea of the value of what I offer. Perhaps it will help you to do the same.
I ask folks with whom I’ve previously worked (at no charge) what it would be worth to them if they had to pay. From their responses, I throw out the highest and lowest numbers. Then I average the remaining and that’s the fee I set. I must admit that I tend to hold my breath when I respond to the question, “what is your fee?“All the conflicting feelings churn through me as I wait to see if we are a go – or no go.
We may never totally resolve the feelings. But we don’t have to live on our feelings. And we don’t have to accept faulty understanding of Scripture. What we do have to do is accept our true worth; set a fair and equitable fee and then let the chips fall where they may. In the case of worth and value – the chips are the number of clients who never question our fees – or complain about paying them!
My challenge to you all – go out with confidence in what you know you do well. Then decide you’re worth it. And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://affiliatedwomeninternational.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]
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