How often has a friend or colleague revealed that she had underpriced her services? All too often from my perspective. I’ve been there and done it too many times myself. Perhaps women are more honest than their male counterparts, but I do not hear the same language from men. They might be angry about not closing a sale, which can be construed as wasted, but focused time or annoyed that their contact was not really the decision maker.
“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” ~ Barbara De Angelis
It’s all about time. Once it’s gone, we can’t get it back and we are always on some sort of clock. As entrepreneurs we have to be decisive as to how we spend our time which translates into revenue. Would you be as likely to hand your wallet over as you are to “donate” your time to the same client? There’s a plus or minus column and too frequently we don’t assign a specific value to these interactions. Lawyers have timers on their phones for a reason. With technology at everyone’s reach, client expectations are high and your response time needs to be factored into a contract. How clear are you?
With prospective clients it can mean offering too much in advance or doing whatever it takes to provide assistance, regardless of the time involved. Is it about likeability or poor client management? How many times have you had lengthy meetings over coffee while your brain is being picked? Ouch! What about the vague “contract” or the lax billing processes? How can you stop yourself before over-offering or ignoring your watch? It takes practice and discipline and a belief in the value of your services.
A friend recently confided that after she totaled her time with a client over and above what their agreement called for, she was probably earning $2 per hour. It’s unprofessional. What you are broadcasting is that at the risk of not being nice, your needs have taken a back seat to those of others. People can ask and we can decline. Clients may push and we have a responsibility to ourselves to be clear about the scope of services we are delivering. Be intentional. Value your time and know what it is worth. ©2014 MWeisner