When I first started my own coaching business, I struggled with knowing how much to charge for my services. The most important thing for me was (and still is) helping my clients to fulfil their potential and live life to the full because my work is my passion. Coaching is who I am – not just what I ‘do’ – but it meant that I never really took the time to consider my worth.
Like many women starting out in business, I battled low self-esteem. The self-confidence wasn’t there, and my chimp was out in full force. I had only been coaching for a short while, I had made some changes to my business model, but it wasn’t working, and the phone wasn’t ringing.
It felt as if everything around me was crumbling away and I was so exhausted that I just wanted to give up. I did not think I could pull anything more out of me to keep going. I was one step away from phoning my Dad to ask for money.
But here I am fifteen years later, still running my own coaching business – and I survived to tell the tale. So, I wanted to share some of my learnings with you…
Understanding your value is the first step to charging what you are worth, and it usually comes up in my first coaching session with someone. They might say something like, “I’ve been working on my business full time for several months. I work very hard and I am very passionate about my work, but I feel like I am stuck. My business isn’t going anywhere, and I am not making any profit.”
It is common for female entrepreneurs to deliver value many times what they are paid. When I dig deeper, I usually find that there are some deep-seated issues which are holding them back and often it is a fear of rejection; when they think about raising their rates, their money saboteur comes out to play.
“That’s too much” it says.
“They won’t be able to afford it”.
“You’re not worth it”.
In my own case, when I began to understand my value, I was able to communicate that value in money terms to my clients without feeling shy or embarrassed. I realised that it was possible to support people and charge for my true worth.
Self-worth is at the heart of everything we do, and it impacts our thoughts and actions and by our extension our finance, business, work-life balance, relationships and health. It also determines how we perceive our value.
When it comes to our professional lives, our value reflects our expertise, including our professional accreditations and experience but because when we have been doing it for such a long time, it probably isn’t something you think about much so over the years, we become “unconsciously competent” and stop recognising the value we are delivering.
A good example of unconscious competence is driving a car. When we first pass our driving test, we think about everything we are doing but after driving for a few years, we no longer have to think about it – you just do it.
The key is to focus on value not price. If you focus on price, you will attract price-focussed clients but by focussing on value and helping clients to understand the value of your service and demonstrate the potential return on investment, the price you quote will seem very reasonable – especially if you tell them how you’re going to solve all of their pain points.
You have to ask yourself what is your big ‘WHY?’ for getting up in the morning. Mine is to help people. If you follow your passion, the money comes. Don’t try to fit in with everyone else. Do it the way it’s going to work for you, that’s more authentic and real!
Denise Chilton is an executive coach, business coach, life coach, accomplished author, speaker and entrepreneur. She worked for in corporate banking for more than 15 years before launching her own coaching business in 2010. She has built a business working with women who want to make a change in their lives, empowering them to experience life to the full. Although based in Liverpool, Denise works with women across the world via telephone and Skype coaching.
In 2017, she published her first book Suddenly Single: How to overcome heartbreak and find your way to a new happy ever after. Suddenly Single is a guide written partially from personal experience to help women to heal healthily after a significant relationship comes to an unexpected end.
Denise was awarded ‘Mentor of the Year 2017’ by the Northern Power Women for her work with women and shortlisted for 'Diversity Champion of the Year' in 2018 by Forward Ladies.