One of the biggest obstacles to success in any industry is not understanding your real value and undercharging for your services.
I was recently at the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers conference in Toronto. After a long day on the convention floor, I addled up to the hotel bar for a drink.
As often is the case, I met a few speakers.
None of us being shy we started chatting about our jobs. One fellow was just beginning in the industry. But his resume in education, politics and industry was so impressive that I was immediately able to pick out a niche, and could visualize specific companies that would be a great fit for his topic and expertise.
So what was he charging? $500.
No, I didn’t leave off any zeros.
After flushing out a quick business and marketing plan, I told him that he should be charging at least 10x that amount. And he’d get it too. Trust me. There was real value in his topic. And even the thickest manager would see it.
So why was he charging $500? Because he was a new speaker.
Here’s the thing, professional speaking is a meritocracy. It’s not a seniority-based business. It’s not how long you’ve done it, it’s how much value you bring to clients.
This guy could easily save a company millions of dollars, so charging $500 only demonstrated that he didn’t have confidence in his own skills.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to have a few high value clients, so I’m not constantly looking for folks who will only pay bare minimum for what I do.
So if you value what you offer – don’t be afraid to charge for it. Trust me, you’ll feel better getting rejected 19 times at $10000, and getting a single great gig, than working your ass off for 20 cheapskates.