Like many entrepreneurs at one point or the other, I have often had an awkward relationship with the concept of “making money” and “getting paid,” especially in the early years of my business.
Whether it’s a concern about being capable of delivering on what I promised, to a doubt that I was being greedy, I’ve wrestled often over my time as an entrepreneur on this vital subject.
But as I’ve grown, gotten more experience, developed more expertise, I’ve realized my own worth and value more clearly.
Over the years, I’ve been able to offer more and better results for what I do, and I’ve increasingly started to value myself and my work more and more.
But I’ve come back to four foundational beliefs on getting paid that I return to time and time again, and want to share them with you.
I saw this amazing quote from the Talmud a couple of weeks ago and it resonated deep with me, and was part of the motivation for publishing these beliefs.
“Pay attention to your thoughts, because they become words.
Pay attention to your words, because they become actions.
Pay attention to your actions, because they become habits.
Pay attention to your habits, because they become your character.
Pay attention to your character, because it is your fate.”
–From the Talmud
So here are my four foundational beliefs about getting paid and making money:
1. “I deserve and have the right to get paid for the good work I do and deliver for others.”
So let’s get it out there:
I want to make money.
I want to make even more money.
I want to do it the RIGHT way.
But the message is simple and clear:
I’m here, to do this, and to get paid for it.
We’re here, in the business of delivering goods and services to others, using our time and talent, to make money. (I’ll also add that good businesses also make meaning in the world. When we can go from transaction to transformation, we become a huge agent for positive change in the world.)
But the assumption of making a profit needs to be stated up front whenever it is in question. Making money and getting paid seems foundational but too often we gloss over it and think it’s assumed for everyone. It’s not.
The purpose of work is to apply your time, talent, resources, relationships, energy and effort for the benefit of others, and to be fairly paid for it.
Getting paid is a basic expectation of business exchange. For the purposes of this post, I’m not talking about business friendships or relationships generally speaking, but the exchange where someone wants the products or services you can offer them in return for money.
So don’t ever apologize for making money, or wanting to make money.
Think about it like this.
Would you enter a marriage without the expectation of love from your partner?
Heck no. Or at least I hope you wouldn’t!Those in your world who expect you to drastically discount or essentially donate your work to them have the relationship completely upside-down.
They look to you as a charity. And in that process deny a fundamental fact of business and have instead told you where you will donate your precious resources.
But I choose the charities and causes I’m involved with and donate to. And I do that FROM the profits I get from my work, not the other way around.
Thus, I expect to get paid (and paid well) for the good work you do and deliver to others.
So should you.
2. “I believe in and deeply value my time, talent, expertise, experiences, resources and relationships.”
The biggest reason we don’t feel confident in getting paid, and shy away from being bold about it, is that we discount and doubt our work and worth.
We don’t adequately assess, value, believe in and then assert what we offer others of our precious resources.
I believe I am steward and manager of these things. And I’m a shrewd and often jealous protector most of all of my time.
But I also believe these are precious assets given and/or earned that should be guarded and used appropriately, with purpose, for others.
… to get paid.
If you’re having a hard time believing and boldly acting like this, take stock of who you are and what you offer.
Go back to the earliest days of your career.
Revisit your strengths. Take inventory of your skills, each and every one, don’t discount any. Go through your Rolodex of awesome relationships you’ve built through the years. Review your lifetime of experiences. Dwell on them. Be grateful for them.
And renew your confidence in them.
3. “It is my job to calmly, clearly and confidently explain, showcase, sell, educate, justify and defend my value to others.”
Frequently we assume others should read our minds, or magically value us as much as we do.
But it’s not our client’s job to know or see that instantly, it’s ours.
With their key results, benefits and goals in mind, knowing and believing in what we do best for others, we should then be able to clearly communicate and explain HOW we’re the missing piece to their journey.So imagine a scale called Value. On one side is your Price. On the other side are the Results your work provides to your clients that gets them where they want to go.
Weight, or showcase, the value of your work so richly in terms of their results and outcomes so that price becomes a no-brainer for them.
Then use that value scale to explain it in terms THEY understand, not technical jargon. Put it in their language and in view of their goals and show them them the benefits your work provides.
It’ll help demonstrate that you’re a crucial, invested and empathetic partner in the achievement of THEIR goals and weight the scale more for their favor AND yours.
Then it’s your job to deliver.
4. “I believe that as I learn, grow and improve that my value should increase to myself and others based on the results I provide.”
I want to get paid, make money, then also get paid better and faster and make even more money.
The key is focusing increasingly on achieving excellent results and outcomes for the work you do for others, and always to be refining what and how you do it to this end.
So, how can you get better at what you do and focus or shift what you do so that it achieves maximum results for your clients?
I use the results and outcomes I produce for others for others to gauge the value I offer them and price my work accordingly, along with my time, talent, relationships and resources invested to produce for them.
Too often we only think about delivering the “website package” or the name of our product or service to someone, when instead we should seek to align what we do with other’s goals and objectives and deliver that THROUGH our work.
For instance, we think about building a client’s website and launching it, but neglect the fact it is often a way to grow their business online 24/7 a day.
We often look to time and skills needed to deliver first to assess our value and price. But the better way to view it is through results and outcomes.
People come to you and buy from you because you offer a way to get them where they are going faster, easier or better.
Being a vital part of the expedition that gets them to their summit is the best way to provide maximum valuable and get paid more.
So, are you their sherpa or guide to get them to their summit? Do you supply the jackets and oxygen masks they might need? Or are you simply the person who sold them socks who they forgot about on their way up the mountain?
The more valuable part of their goal expedition you become, the more you’ll likely get paid and get paid better.
For instance, you might say or think you offer maintenance and support services to your clients, but what you really do is safeguard and protect their valuable content and online marketing platform that’s so vital to their business growth.
But are there other things you could either position better, or do to add value and provide better results for them?
If you’re maintaining their site, could you also learn and offer content marketing that helps them get found in the search engines so that people find and buy their services, or email marketing to help them better communicate with their customers and maximizing one of the most valuable digital marketing assets they have for sales and growth?The more I help align and help others achieve their goals the more valuable I become to them because I’m offering results that move them closer to their goals.
And the more I learn, grow and improve what I do for others, the more I’m able to deliver those results to them.
How can you learn and grow to offer more of the things your clients need to be the most valuable part of getting them to their summits?
Believe you have the right to get paid for the good work you do and deliver.
Believe in who you are and what you offer.
Hone and focus relentlessly on improving the results you offer others.
Be able to clearly communicate all of this.
And get paid. More, better, faster.