Believing You’re Worth what You Charge - Christine Kane

We know pricing and self worth go hand-in-hand, but actually achieving that is a tricky, perhaps elusive endeavour. When you approach such a beefy topic you must check on your mindset before digging in.

Today, you’ll hear the story of me learning to own my value as a musician and a performer, and I’ll share insight around how my client went from charging $75/hour to selling $35,000 VIP packages.

There’s a particular sneaky mental justification philosophy that entrepreneurs tend to fall into when they’re determining their pricing structure. I’m going to expose these, call them out, and explain why none of them provide a solid enough foundation for building your packages.

Learn the key mistake us emotional and sensitive types make in business when it comes to setting rates, because let’s face it – yes, this is personal work! This episode is packed with concepts about the path to own your value and charge what you’re worth that you probably haven’t heard before.

Episode Transcript

Your pricing has nothing to do with you or your self-worth. It has to do with the results that your clients get

Welcome to The Soul-Sourced™ Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative, secretly sensitive and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host, Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

This is The Soul-Sourced™ Business Podcast, episode number 36, and we’re going to dive into money and self worth today. And whether or not you believe you’re worth what you charge and some of the nitty gritty ugly fugly involved in this idea of setting your own pricing. And you may be surprised at where we go when we dive in on this topic, because I’m betting some of it is not what you might think.

But first I want to do three quick shout outs. I just looked at some of the reviews of this podcast, which I do from time to time, because I try to generate ideas and I want to see who’s out there listening and what their needs are and, someone in Japan, and she wrote her name. I think it was her name in Japanese, which I will confess, I tried to be really hip and cool and go to Google translator. So I could actually say her name, but then the translation came out like something like hooray, Santa Santa Santa, which I am betting her name, but still I love what she wrote here, and the headline says exactly the energy I needed. And she wrote, who knew Christine Kane had a podcast. I fell in love with her music about five years ago. When I finally left my abusive first marriage, it was so real and warm. I remember feeling like it helped me heal. Anyway, I’ve listened to a couple of episodes and it’s already one of my favorite podcasts right up there with Bernay Brown’s too, Oprah and No Stupid Questions. Thanks so much for all the excellent advice, Christine, rock on. Thank you from you in Japan, whoever you are. I really appreciate this.

And there’s another one here that’s in Australia. So we’re global here and the headline of this one is life giving, and this is from Lynchit from Australia after feeling lost and hustled out in my business, this is a lifeline for me. Thank you so much for that. And Linda in New Jersey wrote it’s her favorite podcast. That was her headline. My favorite podcast, I recently started listening and I’m hooked. Christine is smart and easy to listen to, full of great advice. Her messages are on point and actionable, a real breath of fresh air. I really am grateful for that. Thank you so much. And before we begin, if you are listening to this podcast and you’ve gotten some insights for your business or your life or your mindset and the content has helped you even a little bit, could you do me a favor? Could you head over to Apple or wherever you get this podcast from and post a little blurb or review of this podcast? I would love to hear from you and be able to know this is helping you in your business. Otherwise it’s just me yammering all by myself with Finnegan and Zoe in my room, hoping that something’s landing for you. So I would so appreciate that. Thank you so much.

Now, onward, Let’s talk about believing you are worth what you charge, and this is a big conversation, my friends, and there is a lot to say on the matter. So let’s start with what you’re up against in terms of the way many people view money and spending, like let’s turn the table around and talk about being on the other side of pricing, being the customer. Most of us entrepreneurs or solo business owners, or some of you still call yourself self-employed, which I urge you to change, we’re not in the commodities business, we’re in the service business. And that means we have to understand that when someone pays us, they aren’t quote unquote spending money. They are, and this is a reframe, they are investing in their results. So when a new business owner starts out, she often doesn’t get that distinction. New business owners tend to think of themselves as a commodity, meaning if I’m cheap, people will buy. And like I tell my clients quite often, you are not a tampon or maybe in less crude language, you’re not a commodity that sits on the shelf at target or Walmart.

And what that means, is that you have to shift your mindset around money from I spend, to I invest. And we’ve all heard this quote from Warren buffet, but he says that the best investment you can make is in yourself. Then I for one, had to slowly learn that. And I’m sure you have to. I have paid out of pocket for everything from my health care stuff, like acupuncture to energy work to body work, and then all kinds of levels of coaching and consulting. And yes, a lot of this was even before I felt like I could financially justify those choices. And that’s because most of us are taught the model that you wait until you’re rolling in money before you can spend that money on something like your own health care or any kind of coaching, or you don’t spend anything unless insurance pays for it, or the company pays for it.

But in my experience, and I say this as someone who was broke and broken, the, the investment comes first, because investment is commitment. And my first investments taught me this, and this was back when I had committed to healing an eating disorder and the only thing that insurance covered was prescription drugs. And I didn’t want to take prescription drugs. So without knowing it, I started to learn firsthand, what it meant to truly commit all my energy by investing in me. So to that end, since I’m a coach, I’m going to talk in terms of my coaching investments. And, and I’m going to share with you that at this point, I have invested over a million dollars in my own personal coaching over the years. Yes, that’s, that’s hard to even say, cause it’s hard to imagine, but it started with my very first coach and that was, you know, 20 years ago now, I think, um.

The first coach I chose to work with charged a much higher rate than all the other coaches I interviewed at that time. And this was before I even really knew what coaching was, like early two thousands and something about who he was and how he showed up for our sales call, which I didn’t know what it was at that time, but that conversation, it made me step out of my fear of money and choose to invest with someone who could truly help me, even though I didn’t trust yet at that point that he could. And since then I’ve paid up to 85,000 per year for some coaches. And I share this fact with exactly no one in my family, in particular, my mom, who would inevitably spend hours listing off all the other things I could have bought with that money. And this is a choice that most people don’t understand. I get that. But it’s also a choice that has really truly transformed me, because when you invest in something you do just that, you invest, and this means you get a return on that investment. And that return is not a magical thing, it’s, it happens because of the work and the focus. And more often than not, that work ethic gets created because your financial energy is invested as well.

And I’m saying all this, because when I’m on the flip side of the pricing equation and I’m either considering my own pricing or I’m helping a client price themselves, it’s helpful that I’ve put a lot of my own money into this kind of thing, because I have the hands-on experience of recalling my own blind fear of spending that money. I have experience paying everything from really low prices, for services to high prices, for services and everywhere in between.

And so the question for our purposes, here today, is what makes person A, be able to charge so much and person B, who may be much better in terms of skills than person A, not charge even close to that? Well, more often than not, this is a territory that person B simply doesn’t want to enter because it gets pretty uncomfortable, which as you now know, is a constant theme in entrepreneurship. So one of the consistent issues that I discover when clients start working with us here at Uplevel is that most people charge way too little. So we have to begin working on their pricing and we work on their offer, and I have now helped hundreds, if not thousands of people create what I call more elegant pricing structures in their business.

Then when we work with clients here at Uplevel, we are constantly stretching them out of that comfort zone in terms of their pricing, and almost always, when the price increase conversation happens, they hit a wall and that wall is resistance. And that wall is fear. And that wall is often self-worth, and without fail, they will argue with me. They want me to prove to them that they’ll be able to convince people they’re allowed to charge that much, or they want me to convince them that they’re worth that much. Whatever resistance is inside of that client, it’ll come up and out when we have our first pricing conversation or even our second conversation or our third conversation, because pricing is something that we’re continuing to look at in the growth of the entrepreneur, but the ego always loves to make itself known every time we up level, it always comes out first. It always comes out loudest.

So, I am going to make three key points about your pricing and your self worth, and then I’m going to add in one bonus point, and you can take this and you can let it sink in, and then you can do what you want with it. Our first point today, I am going to illustrate by starting with a story. I am going to tell you the story of when I first did my very first open mic night when I was still in the dreaming stages that I would make money being a musician. I knew I had to start going to open mic nights. I knew I had to start stepping on stages and performing, and I would drag two of my friends with me, sometimes one of my friends with me, and we would go off to these open mic nights here in Asheville, and I would get on the list and then I would chicken out and I would chicken out because I would see someone who was way better than me get on stage. I would chicken out because I, I was so scared and I would think nobody could ever step on stage being this scared. And I think at the back end of it all, I really believed that that fear had to go away before I got on stage.

And then one night I finally went, I was with my friend Melanie, and I got on the list and they called me up and I could barely move. I was shaking so bad. I played three songs. I played a John Hyatt song. Uh, I can’t even remember the other songs. I remember I did a John Hyatt song and I did two others. I think I did a Janice Joplin. I don’t remember, but I played my three songs. I was terrified. My voice was shaking. I, I think I even talked about how scared I was. There was hardly, you know, anyone was very impressed with me, but when I got off stage that night, I, I felt like I’d gotten the biggest lesson of my life. And that is that I did not have to wait for fear to go away before I did something. And the relief I felt when I was in bed that night was huge, because I realized, Oh, I’d gotten over the first big hurdle. And the mind or the ego, whatever you want to call it, wants you to think that before you’ll do something that the fear will go away first. And in this case with pricing, we believe that the self-worth should happen first. This is how you stay stuck charging low prices, because you believe that your self-worth is the real problem, but it’s not.

So, our first point here today is this, and I’ve taken the rambling way of getting there, but we’ve gotten to Europe. Our first point is that commitment comes first. And I know I said this in my book, it’s one of the Soul Rules, and that is that commitment comes before confidence. But the truth with anything, is that commitment comes first. It comes before confidence. It comes before self-worth. It comes before even courage. You have to be the first one to decide that you’re going to charge a bigger rate. And now that number is not what we’re talking about here today. I don’t know what your number is, and I’m not going to go into those actual numbers. The key thing to understand is that the commitment is first. You cannot wait for the confidence or the self worth or the courage to show up.

And that brings me to our second point here today, which will take us in a bit of a different direction. And the second point is that your pricing, and this is true even if you are the most confident bad-ass on the planet, your pricing has nothing to do with you or your self-worth. It has to do with the results that your clients get. Bottom line. It’s all about the clients results. So the ego, with all its yammering, wants to make this into a self worth thing. And that’s because that trick has worked so well, time and time again, in shutting you and your new ideas down. And that’s the trick the ego always uses. It’s the trick of waiting. And I talked about that in episode number 25, it was called “Procrastination and the Eight Waits”. The trick of waiting is the big shutter downer of all of our good things that happen in business. But when it comes to pricing, you have to know, this is not about you, it is about your clients and their results.

And to that end, this may mean that you’ll be doing some deep work here, like reviewing the kinds of results your clients have gotten, or the impact those results have made on their lives or their mindset or their health or their success, or their productivity. And mind you, this is not a one and done kind of thing. You will always be doing this and reviewing this. And, may I add reveling in it? Because if you need to believe in something, it has to really be this. It has to be you anchoring yourself to those results and the way people have changed and been transformed by working with you. When someone hasn’t done this work and really reframed their pricing around the results of their clients, they tend to fall victim to the energy of justifying. And you know what that feels like. You know what justifying means like that feeling inside of you. I want you to just really check in with yourself on that because the energy of justifying comes in three flavors, I’ve seen it time and time and time again with my clients.

The first one is you justify by how painfully hard you work. And this one, I’ve heard people say things like this. It’s like, yeah, you know what? I should, I should charge $2,500, ’cause I got to drive three hours, and then I got to drive three hours back and I have to create all those training materials. And I spend all that time on the road and then all that time on my feet and, and they go on and on and it’s just talking all about them and their hard work.

The second flavor of justifying is by how much you give. And that sort of sounds like, you know, I should raise my prices because I give so much of my time to my clients. And I had someone say, I even went over to someone’s house and I did her business plan for her and then she went off and worked with someone else after I spent eight hours working on her business plan. Again, it’s the energy of justifying.

And the third flavor of justifying is where you compare your prices to another person’s prices. And this one looks like you compare yourself to someone else out there who does the same thing as you, and then battling the fact that they charged $25,000 for the same thing that you do, that you only charged $1500 for. And, you know, you’re at least as good as that person is and on and on you’ll rant. So this isn’t to say, I don’t want you to work hard or give great service, but it is to say that it you’re leaning on an old pattern for your pricing. And that is the energy of justification. It’s the energy of the martyr. And when it comes to pricing strategy, it is a flimsy energy. It is not strong enough to build your pricing foundation on.

And I’m going to challenge you here because what this means is that you have to take the time to do a pattern interrupt for one thing. And you’ve got to do some deeper work on reviewing the results your clients get, because pricing is about someone investing in their results through you. So you need to get clear on that person and on the results you deliver to that person.

Which brings us to point number three, which is this, and that is that the real work involved in believing that you’re worth what you charge, lies in the strategy track of your business, even more than the Soul Track of your business. And this one’s a weird one because I think a lot of us think this is about our self-esteem, our self-confidence our self-worth. And some of that does come up, but it comes up because of the work that we are doing in our Strategy Track.

What this means, what I mean by the Strategy Track is that first off, it means that you have to design your package or your services or whatever your offer is. You have to design that strategically so that what you do serves and brings value, and you’re clear about what it is and exactly what you’re doing and exactly how long you’re doing it for. And what of your time is involved and what of their time is involved. Everything about it. It also means understanding everything about your ideal client. And that includes what their dreams are, what their misconceptions are, what their common mistakes and blunders are, where they get stuck, everything about that client. And then it also means knowing your message and how to keep anchoring to that message as you lead your clients. So you’re getting the idea, this is work, not just in your marketing, but what I always we say is that marketing is communication, and that communication happens even after the client pays you. It’s still communicating. It’s still doing that work, but it’s all in the Strategy Track.

And that brings me to the bonus point that I want to make here. And that is this, none of this happens in a linear fashion, at least not in my 12 years of coaching. So what that means is that this is taught in a linear fashion. Like I’m giving you these three points, but as I watched people do this, they might raise their prices and then grow into getting better at their marketing and their strategy and that sort of thing. It doesn’t mean you have to wait until all this stuff is done, but it does help if you have a pretty good direction about it. So when I share a story like you know, about my client, Michelle, for instance, so she was somebody who is in my book, and Michelle went from charging $75 an hour as a graphic designer to charging a $35,000 VIP package.

It might sound like we got on a call, I told her to raise her prices to 35,000 and then we were done with it and we moved on, you know, big, huge high five onto the next thing, but that’s not how it went. It actually took two years, maybe a little longer for Michelle to make that leap, but there were lots of pricing leaps in between. So first she had to design her ideal packages for how she worked with clients so that she could stop doing the hourly work, and of course, then we move over to the Soul Track, that came with mindset adjustments so that she could understand she had permission to do that and that it was okay to do that. She also had to eliminate the work she no longer wanted to do and learned how to say no to non-ideal clients and small requests. And that came with mindset work and self-worth work as well.

Then Michelle also had to get clear on who her ideal client was, and that came, again, with mindset work and self worth work because she had to really step into “who am I to believe I can work with someone at that level?” And then she had to pay attention to the results her clients were getting, and then collect the things they said to her about their new brand or their new website. And that came with a mindset work of really being disciplined enough to collect those things, those testimonials, those things they were saying and place them in files so that she had them at her fingertips. It also meant that she had to learn how to have an actual sales conversation rather than just being so cheap that people couldn’t say no. And again, back to the Soul Track that came with learning to live with being rejected by some people.

And that’s the key thing that I think everyone is avoiding is this weird thing we have around the, the fear of being rejected. And so pricing, really at the end of the day, is a lot about being clear enough to take in these three points and really stand strong in your strategy track. And that way, when someone says no, it may trigger some of your little self-worth issues, but it’s not about your worth or your value. It is more about them not being the right match for you. And it could be that they’re not ready for how high of a level you work at, or it could mean something else. But the bottom line is that the more you stay tuned to your strategy track, the more you realize that this pricing thing has nothing to do with your self worth.

And I’m going to refer you back to my first open mic night here. And that is to say I got better, and I got more skilled at performing and playing on stage because I kept doing it. Not because I suddenly believed in myself. We start to believe in ourselves because we trust ourselves. And we begin to trust ourselves because we get the experience like true embodiment or for some of you, you might use the expression, that whole somatic experience of pricing and of making offers. So the point is that you can raise your prices. You should raise your prices and that that should come with ongoing work on your marketing, your messaging, your strategy, and your sales conversations. So in other words, do not wait. Self-worth has many, many levels. It goes up, it goes down some days you can’t stand yourself. Some days you feel like you’re all that and then some, but none of these moving emotional gradients should be able to determine your business strategy or your business success. And that’s why I think sometimes it seems like people who are a little bit more robotic or strategic or those data people, they seem to succeed in business better than the emotional sensitive types, because those of us who are sensitive make the key mistake of conflating our sensitivity with our business strategy. And guess what? You get to stop doing that. Now I just proved it.

All right, thanks for listening everyone. Please leave a review of this podcast If it helped you, and I will see you next week.