There’s a popular recipe that sees many women in business giving away their time and value for free - or even giving up on their business entirely.
It begins with a genuine desire to help and serve your clients.
You love your work and you want to do right by the people you serve, even when it means staying up late, taking on too much or accepting unrealistic deadlines.
Then you throw in limited working hours.
Many women in biz are also primary caregivers. You may be trying to run your business in school or daycare hours. That means in real terms you’ve got 15 to 25 hours per week MAX!
And that’s to do EVERYTHING - sales, marketing, client delivery, product development, business development, content creation, networking, training, admin, etc, etc, etc.
Then top it off with a tendency to undervalue yourself and your work.
As women, when something comes naturally to us, it's so easy to assume it just can't be worth much - because you know, anything of value should be hard!
And it feels awkward and uncomfortable to say we’re worth “X”. So many women feel they need to compensate for their own perceived lack of value with lower pricing.
You know how this goes right?
It’s a triple shot cocktail that leaves us over-delivering, over-working and undercharging.
And it brings incredibly talented women to breaking point. Not just from sheer exhaustion and overwhelm, but because it makes you feel like you’re failing.
And while strategic over-delivering can be a great way to grow your reputation and referrals, this should never come at the price of burnout.
Besides, if it was truly strategic, you’d be factoring in the real cost to your business, family, health and happiness and ensuring that any over delivery is undertaken in a sustainable way.
Sound familiar? I didn’t think so!
So to help you break the cycle, here’s 3 actions you can take to quit giving away your time and value and build a thriving business.
Action #1. Understand where your time goes
Ever watched Marie Kondo on Netflix? She’s a decluttering expert.
The first task she assigns her clients is to get ALL of their clothes from every closet, drawer, attic or hiding place and pile them in one spot.
Often it takes up half the room. And it’s only once they see the physical pile and are confronted by the scale of their hoarding that her clients feel motivated to change.
Recording your time is the business version of the Kondo clothes pile.
For one week, honestly record ALL the time you spend delivering your work - even activities you don’t charge for. You’ll most likely be amazed by all the tasks involved in delivering your client work (some you probably never even noticed!)
I’ll be honest - the truth can be quite confronting. But this activity alone saved my client 8 hours PER WEEK. She got back an entire day, leaving weekends free to spend with her kids. Priceless.
Once you see the real truth, you won’t be so tempted to give away your time anymore.
Action #2. Create Boundaries And Stick To Them
Setting healthy boundaries around your work is an essential part of building a sustainable business.
This means getting clear on WHAT you deliver, HOW you deliver it and WHEN you work (or more to the point don’t work) and then spelling out those details in your proposals or quotes.
If you are sending out vague proposals or quotes, that’s a massive roadblock to creating (and maintaining) effective boundaries.
Because clients, bless them, will often ask for more!
Sometimes it's because they love your work, but other times they simply don’t understand what’s involved, or just want to see what they can get for free.
And it’s so much harder to say no when the scope of your services was never clear in the first place. Saying yes feels easier than having that awkward conversation where you tell them it’s gonna cost more!
So make sure your proposals are specific about the scope of your services, including deliverables and the quantity and frequency of activities. If there are additional services that clients often request, don’t be afraid to include these in your proposal as ‘optional extras’.
This helps your client budget for what they need, and makes those “that’ll be extra” conversations a whole lot less awkward.
You can learn more about what you should include in your quotes and proposals to save your time, money and reputation here.
Action #3. Own Your Value
And finally, it’s time to start valuing your contribution as much as your clients do.
Your clients want to work with YOU because they trust you’re the expert. That doesn’t mean you have to know EVERYTHING about your field - NOBODY can - but you DO know a whole lot more than your clients!
So stop worrying about YOUR worth and value, and start focusing on the value you bring to your clients. Here’s how:
#1. Think about your ideal client, the one you love working with, who you get the best results with and who values your work enough to pay you what you’re worth.
#2. Think about the CHANGE you help them make to their health, their lives or their business. How does it look different once they’ve worked with you?
#3. Think about just how VALUABLE that change is to THEM. What does it enable them to be, do or have?
Starting to understand and truly believe in the value you provide to your clients is a massive step towards charging what you’re worth and no longer over delivering.
This is at the core of Value-Based Pricing, the most powerful of The 4 Key Pricing Methods for service-based businesses.
The journey of creating a business and lifestyle that works for you and your loved ones is a long one.
Running your own gig brings you face-to-face with your beliefs about yourself, your worth and your money - and that can be tough.
Don’t give up!
If you follow the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a sustainable business, with time to enjoy life after work.
And if you need help, let’s hop on a call and talk about how you can stop giving your time and value away. No catch. Just help.
You can book your free troublshooting session here.
Because YOU are worth it.