My hands started to tremble and I felt a familiar flush of anxiety rising in the back of my neck.
This was one of my first potential new clients and up to this point, everything had been going so well!
I happily explained all about the service I offer and how it can help.
But as soon as my potential new client asked how much it costs, I froze.
Despite spending ages perfecting my offer and making sure I am well-trained, experienced and pricing fairly, a hundred doubts suddenly, but very subtly, whisper to me in my mind:
- What if I am not good enough? What if they think I am better than I really am?
- What if they think it’s too expensive and say no? I need the money and can’t afford to charge less than this.
- What if they find someone cheaper? I will never make what I need.
- What if they say no and I don’t find out why, how will I improve?
- What if they say yes and I mess it up, what about my reputation?
What if, what if, what if..?
I blurt out the price and sense a very slight hesitation in them. Without giving any pause for thought I instinctively knee-jerk react and assume the very small hesitancy means they are going to say no.
I panic and decide to protect myself from crushing rejection (my business feels so personal to me you see, it’s my baby, and I couldn’t bear it if someone didn’t approve).
I decide to make an alternative offer before they have even had a chance to open their mouth:
- “What’s your budget?” This one is a secret code when I am scared. It really means ‘Tell me what you can afford and I will make an offer just under so you say yes, then I will do the job for less than I can afford to in order to avoid feeling bad about my efforts”.
- “That’s my usual price, however for you today it’s £[reduced price thought of ‘off-the-cuff’, with no regard for its profitablility].”
- “If you book it today you get a % discount…”
- “If you can’t afford it maybe we could look at a skill swap instead?” Cue the real desperation here, just do it for nothing instead.
Being in a high-anxiety state of mind when asking for payment or stating your costs is very damaging to a Highly Sensitive Businessperson. It explains why a lot of HSPs either never turn their passions into their dream job or try to and fail because it’s too stressful.
The more impossible it feels to raise or state your prices, the more damaged your bank balance is! The more you do this the more you find you are known for being ‘cheap’. Then you attract all the wrong clients and thus start a vicious downhill spiral
All-in-all, not charging what you are truly worth damages your reputation in the long run.
But I have good news, you can fix this with a change of mindset!
We need to form an understanding of where these feelings come from. Your subconscious is trying to protect you from something in your past that made you worry that you may not be good enough. Perhaps you were bullied in the past and called names? Maybe your parents criticized you a lot? Maybe you have tried to achieve things in the past but feel you failed somehow?
Whatever it is, our subconscious remembers the feelings these occasions gave us and tries to avoid them at all costs in the future, even when it’s no longer appropriate. It’s a mild form of trauma. Often stemming from a collection of bigger traumas in the past.
This can result in:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of Success
- Fear of not having the knowledge
- Fear of looking greedy
- Fear of being misunderstood
- Fear of other’s opinions
- Fear of losing
- Fear of numbers/money
- Fear of technology
- Fear of mistakes
- Fear of complaints
- Low Self-Esteem
- Low Self Worth
When a sensitive human is in this state of being it is almost impossible to make rational decisions about your business and the money. You become energetically out of balance.
This has a ripple effect on everything you do. And more than that, people seem to sense it in you too. The lack of confidence creates an energetic unbalance. But that can be reversed.
Once you have an understanding of where these feelings come from you may need to take further action on the things in your past that caused you these feelings and anxieties.
That could be as simple as meditating on it and choosing to leave it in the past or it could mean having some therapy. Whatever you choose it’s worth working through the problems of the past that affect you now, no matter the reason. These things have a habit of repeating themselves until they are dealt with.
Some things that can be helpful to do or think about with taking action on these feelings can be:
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Look at your trauma, look at the ‘negative things’ in your mind. In the dark times, what can you be grateful for? As soon as a ‘bad thing’ has happened it’s already in the past and there is nothing more we can do about it. However, when you think about it, what were the positives that have come from that experience? Did you learn a valuable lesson? Did you grow stronger? Did it put new people in your path or change the direction of your journey? Could there be a positive reason for this big change? Write these down in a journal and revisit them. Things look more and more different as time passes.
- Remember it’s not about being the best here. It’s just about having the right attitude. Are you coming from a genuine place of service to others? How do you help other people?
- Talk to a qualified professional such as a therapist or coach.
- Visualize your future business when you have everything you ever wanted. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? Really bring that future to life in your mind. Think about your day-to-day activities now you have everything how you want it. Who is there? How does it work in an ideal world?
- Read “There is nothing wrong with you” by Cheri Huber. See below for the link.
When you have understood and taken action on your feelings around money and asking for what you deserve you can start to open your mind to the possibility that, by not charging what you need, you are upsetting the universal balance of giving and receiving. Portrait Photographer, Sue Bryce describes this perfectly in her talk about business and fears:
IF YOU FAIL TO RECEIVE, YOU WILL FAIL.
Time for a change in mindset – reset your ego from a victim mentality, a place of failure, and instead choose to think in the following ways:
“I am not here to compete, I am here to help. There is nothing slimy or underhand in what I want to share and it is energetically balanced to receive in the order that I give. I can charge what I am worth because if I don’t I invite negativity to my business and lose my abundant mindset.”
You LOSE when you criticise, gossip, fail to stand up for yourself, blame others, blame the economy, blame anything else, judge other people, or judge yourself. You lose. Every. Single. Time. It all ends up coming back to you threefold.
Change your thinking in order to be a winner.
Have you ever heard of an energy vampire? According to Wikipedia, A psychic vampire is a creature in folklore said to feed off the “life force” of other living creatures. The term can also be used to describe a person who gets increased energy around other people but leaves those other people exhausted or “drained” of energy.
What if that energy vampire was you? What if you are draining yourself and potentially other people? Do you ever take an instant dislike of someone? What part of their behaviour is a reflection of yourself? It’s usually what makes all of us flinch. And it’s ok, you are human. But you need to be aware of the damage your negative attitude could have on your business.
Small thinking is crippling. Are you choosing numbers that won’t ‘offend’ anyone? You need to be open to money, it doesn’t have to be massive amounts, but it does need to be what you deserve and what you need, not what you think they might pay. Think about what you charge now, are you earning well? Are you getting what you need? If not double it, then maybe double that again. If a big jump is just too scary how about a 10% increase just now? But do it, now!
I highly suggest you follow the principles in the free book, The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles.
Know how to work out what you are worth. Your experience, training, etc also taken into account, and find the ‘sweet spot’ where you have a high amount you want to charge and what people in the industry might pay. Start high, it’s easier than starting to low and upping your prices at a later date. Here is a formula for working out what to charge:
Practice rejection. Talk to everyone you can at every suitable opportunity about what you offer, why it’s great, who it’s for and how much it costs. Practice getting people to say no to you. It will happen a lot, it’s supposed to. But from the myriad of “no’s” will come some “yesses” And they will be more than if you hadn’t got all those “no’s”
You must understand that a No isn’t personal. That they will have their own reasons. Some of it will be down to how you pitch yourself (faking confidence is a great trick here) but they will also have personal reasons too. Learn about selling and dealing with objections. Remember that your intent is good so therefore you are NOT a slimy salesperson. That title is reserved only for the thieves that try and fleece people. You are not like that so it’s ok to sell your product/service.
It can feel personal as a service provider to receive a no. It feels like they hate you, as you are the thing they are selling. You need to do it more. Get very uncomfortable over and over again. Remember, they have their reasons, and it’s not because you are crap.
Your reasons for why you have money blocks will inform the action you take. But if it’s a form of fear, as it so often is, then these steps can help tremendously.
And if all else fails its always useful to hire a coach, like me. Fear and blocks are something I work on with small business owners on a daily basis. You are not alone, and you CAN overcome it and be abundant and happy too!
Have you overcome fears and worked out how to charge what you are worth? Or are you still crippled by an inability to be true to your worth? Or are you somewhere in between? Let me know your thoughts.