Sometimes the dilemma is not what to charge, but rather having the guts to charge it.
I used to be hopeless with fee proposals. I was pretty good at working out an appropriate fee – that's the benefit of a life spent amongst spreadsheets and timesheets – and I'd usually be quite happy with the first draft of my fee proposal. But then my nerve would fail me. In the final moments before submitting a proposal I would dash to my computer and shave 10 per cent off the price.
A few weeks ago this happened to me again, but this time in reverse. I asked a supplier, let's call her Sally, for a rough quote on a project and as I watched her face I could feel her doing the maths and lowering the fee. I asked her afterwards whether she had originally intended to charge more. She laughed and said, "How did you know?"
Because we all do it!
So here's a tip to help you have the confidence to charge the fee you deserve: be the expert.
Experts get paid well because, as an expert, it's expected that you will charge a little more than the also-ran. This is why being an expert works so well for your pricing confidence. But positioning yourself as an expert means you have to behave like one, and that means pricing with elegant confidence.
So how do you get to be the expert? It's not as difficult as it sounds.
1. Don't fake it: This is not about faking it. We're all experts: it's the reason we get hired. Rather, this is about being perceived as the expert.
2. Distinguish yourself: To be the expert we need to be a little different to everyone else. Most, if not all of us, already have a difference – we're just not promoting it. The most obvious example is our background, our training and the clients we've worked with to date. Often these three can be shaped into some form of expertise that, quite frankly, only one of us can possibly have.
3. Niche expertise: Being the expert doesn't mean being brilliant at everything. In fact, we only need to be the expert in a tiny little niche. Niche expertise works because as soon as we are the expert at something, we experience the "halo effect" of our pricing confidence flowing across all our work.
4. Promotion: Once we've picked our area of expertise we just need to make it visible. This is simple enough to do. Armed with an opinion about our chosen subject we just need to start sharing it by way of blogging, article writing and public speaking.
Confidence in pricing is really about a state of mind. Positioning yourself as the expert is the catalyst that sees you behaving as one. Once you start behaving as the expert you start thinking like one and then – well, then you start to price like one!
How do you get the price you want?
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