In our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.
Today, one entrepreneur talks about what it was like to start a new business—and subsequently overcome a fear of charging fair prices for her services. The experience taught her an invaluable lesson about not underestimating her professional self-worth.
When I launched a side business about five years ago coaching people about their finances, I enjoyed it so much that I barely charged—if I charged at all—for my services. Many of the people I was helping were in the hole—and desperately trying to get out. Plus, I loved talking to them about their money, so it didn’t feel like an even exchange. I felt ashamed asking them to pay me.
After all, I had been deep in debt once, too, so I knew what it felt like to struggle to keep costs down. In fact, it was my own experiences that led me to become a money coach. As I began to share my success story, friends and friends of friends asked me to hold workshops, and pulled me aside for private advice.
I realized that there was a demand for money coaching, so I began doing it during my free time, while keeping my day job in market research. But when I first set out to offer my services, I charged nothing. I was caught up in the classic belief that if you loved what you did, you didn’t have to get paid for it.
Work, by nature, had to be hard—or so I thought. And if it wasn’t hard, then you were pulling the wool over someone’s eyes. So I did a lot of free sessions, irrationally hoping that someone would be so thrilled with what they were getting that they’d donate some money. Of course, that’s not how things work.