I admit I didn’t get into this business because I liked sales. I started building websites because I found the process of building them to be a great technical challenge. Now I build sites and coach because I want to help people succeed.
I even enjoy sales now because I get to hear about the things my clients care about.
It took a long time for that to change, and for my first actual client ‘sales’ to reflect that. My earnings reflect that change. I earn more because I now know why I run a business.
Knowing my ‘why’ has helped me choose/accept the right clients, which has led to higher earnings — and better business.
In late 2014 I had a friend call me during my lunch. He was leaving his job with an agency and negotiating a long-term contract. He called me for some tips on how to structure the contract and get paid well.
After talking a bit I asked how much he was asking for per week. He told me $1500, which I felt was crazy low. While he and I specialize in different areas we’re roughly equivalent in the type and quality of services we provide.
The big thing is that he didn’t understand that. He didn’t see his value, so I sold him…on him.
The sale I made over the next 10 minutes was to sell him on how awesome he was and the value he offered to his client.
Once he was sold on his value he was able to negotiate an extra $1000/month.
While your ‘first’ sale may technically be to a client, it’s likely that you had to make a sale before that.
Before you talked to a client you needed to convince yourself that you, in fact, could do the job. You needed to convince yourself that you knew WordPress, or WooCommerce, or Design and could execute your client’s vision.
Later on, as you got better, your confidence in yourself grew and you became more comfortable charging more for your work. You now have successful projects under your belt, as well as a better understanding of your own value. All from that very first sale — to yourself.
We’re all bad at determining our value
The thing is, that even with all the successful projects behind us, we’re typically bad at selling ourselves to ourselves. Like my friend above, who for years had been the lead developer at an agency yet he underestimated the actual value he brought to the table.
It often takes an outside perspective to really dig in and identify the value that we provide, and prove to ourselves how valuable we really are.
Your outside perspective
Where do you get that outside perspective? You don’t need a coach, though I think that one-on-one coaching will yield the highest-value results due to the specific attention you get.
But if you’re not ready for that step, here are some great resources (some free) to help you understand your value and start charging properly for it.
- DYFR Charge What Your Worth, a free email course
- Art of Value, a great podcast on value pricing; and they offer coaching
- Book Yourself Solid
Your Value Questions
Now, here are some questions to consider if you’re still trying to determine your value.
- What’s the actual return on investment you brought to customers? Not just the ‘feeling’ you have, but facts based on what your client told you about the ROI provided.
- What process do you have in place to make project success more likely than with your competitors?
- What part of your job are you most passionate about? This is likely something you’re really good at and the area where you can provide the most value to your customers.
- When you’re asked about the best projects you’ve done, which ones spring to mind? Where was the value in those for your customers?
- What do people ask you for help with? Maybe it’s a tweeted question or an email from a colleague. This is where people already view you as a leader in your field.
- What have people told you they like about your business? This is your yay file.
- WHY do you do what you do? I’ve talked about my why already and given you questions to help you figure out your why.
Now sell yourself
Once you work through the questions above you’re going to have a better idea of the value you provide. You don’t have to be the best coder or designer in the world to be worth lots. All you really need to do is provide good value to your clients.
You need to sell them on the fact that you can provide that value.
But before you can do that, you may need to sell yourself. Get about that process today.