Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
The message here is that it’s Ok to want money, it’s Ok to ask for money and it’s Ok to value yourself. I was chatting with a chum over coffee and cake this week and we were discussing how some professions suffer from what I call the Can I just pick your brain Mate syndrome.
What this means is that if you sell specialist knowledge some people can think it’s perfectly ok to help themselves to 20 years of training and work experience, exams, heartache and learning that you have put yourself through to get to this point, by assuming that you’ll happily give them expertise for free. I used to fall foul of this when I was first working as a business coach.
I’d have a ‘getting to know you chat’ with a networking colleague, who would run some tricky business questions past me and invite my thoughts. Being greener than an Irish meadow I of course gave them the benefit of my wisdom, much to their satisfaction. Then when I suggested they might like to consider some paid for organisational development work they’d say:
‘Oh no need thanks, you’ve answered my questions now.’
Grrrr! How annoying.
Just because someone has an intangible skill such as business coaching, psychology, marketing, finance and so on doesn’t mean that ‘brain work’ is free work! After Christmas I was talking with a potential client and said that I would like to value my time, as I have kids to feed …because improving organisations is how I earn my living. There was a pause, whilst they thought about it, so I filled the gap with:
‘Would you expect to walk into your local café and help yourself to a pasty, just because you were hungry?’
‘Or do you just take a newspaper from your local corner shop and say that as it’s only worth 50p, it doesn’t really matter, as you walk out?’
Of course you wouldn’t!
So therefore, if I choose to value my time, please respect that it’s how I put food on the table for my children. If I choose to give you a gift then that’s me being generous, but the choice is mine. I’m happy to give gifts and I’m happy to value my time, as I’m good at what I do and worth the fee rate.
If you find it hard to ask for money, then look your client in the eye and simply state:
‘This is how I earn my living.’
We’re all allowed to earn money and use the skills we have, and asking to be paid is part of the job. Just ask your local taxi driver, the next time you get a lift home – he won’t hesitate to ask for money.
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