Too many times I have heard, “Angie, if your prices are *that rate,* then they are too low and you don’t know your own value or, if you do know your value then you’re not honoring it. You NEED to be charging more – at least such-and-such for what you do.”
Every time I’ve heard that, I have felt ill.
Recently, I’ve been in the presence of several amazing women who have all shared with me that, at one time or another, they have been told they weren’t charging enough for their services, that they were not holding their own value, and that they were not seeing their own worth because their fees were “too low.” They each told me that they had coaches who had told them they needed to raise their rates and, in one way or another, the message they received was that their “too low rates” = “too low self-esteem.” Some of them fired the coach. The few who chose to listen to their coach and raise their rates discovered that their business collapsed, their clients disappeared, and they experienced a personal crisis of consciousness.
I’ve heard a lot of horrible stories about coaches inflicting their own beliefs on their clients and the clients abdicating their own knowing for the knowing of the coach. This, my friends, is abuse. I’ve heard of a coach telling a client that it would be better for her family if she went to a conference rather than support her family while they were in a life and death crisis. Another woman told me that her coach said, “If you want to continue to undervalue yourself and keep your rates so low, that’s great for you and it’s clear that you’re not interested in what I have to say, so I am terminating our contract.” Another powerful woman told me that her coach took one look at her spiritually-based business and said, “You’re way too ‘woo woo’ to ever make any money, sweetheart,” and then went about restructuring her entire business, changed what she did as a business, and destroyed the heart of the business. In the end, she couldn’t even recognize herself or her business and she hated her life.
For me? I once had a business coach say to me, “Angie, people will never pay you for the service you provide. The work you do is too powerful, it’s too ethereal, it’s too big, it’s too much for people. To get properly paid what you’re worth you’d have to charge $1,000 an hour and no one is going to pay that.” I left his office and dissolved into a puddle of goo. He had effectively shattered every one of my dreams, trounced on all my gifts, and shut me down in less than five minutes.
It knocked me on my ass and did nearly irreparable damage for a while. Then, a dear friend said, “What if, Angie, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about? What if he is only saying that because what you do is soooooo powerful that he doesn’t understand it so he thinks no one does? What if he is wrong? What if there are people out there who need just what you provide? What if your clients are sooooo powerful themselves that they don’t blink when it comes to hiring you at $1000 an hour?”
I stared at her, jaw gaping. Yeah! What if! I terminated my agreement with the business coach that day.
Cranking up my rates does not translate to me having a self-worth at the “correct” level any more than lowering my rates would suddenly lower my value. Charging exorbitant prices does not mean that I am actually WORTH whatever amount “they” dictate to me that I “should be” charging. All it says is that I am allowing others to sway my belief of myself, which is, in the end, the strongest indication that I do not recognize or appreciate my own value.
What indicates that I’m holding my value conscious is when I feel joyful about being of service to humanity, when I am in flow and able to roll with the changes gently. When I am honoring my value, I am trusting that I am provided for – and I am provided for. Honoring myself means I am crystal clear about who I work with and work for in the work I do. If I am clear on my value, then the people show up who match me – no matter what I’m charging.
I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and comments.
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