Would I Pay That Much for Me? 5 Things To Consider


The other day, I had my very last coaching call with my mentor coach. Our goal for the call was to nail down the packages I would be offering to clients, and how much I would be charging. In order to prepare for the call,  I drew up a revised list of one-on-one coaching packages, with revised rates, and also came up with a ton of ideas for standalone teleclasses, and a kick-ass teleseries. I was seriously psyched to get my mentor’s opinion on what I’d pulled together.

And while she thought that was I was offering was seriously awesome, she thought I was charging far too little.

Why do I always have this problem?

We covered a lot of ground during that call. We discussed how best to market myself. The differences between coaching and consulting. Working smarter rather than harder.

But at the crux of it all was my inability to see the value in myself.

Not that I haven’t gotten better. A week ago, I was approached by an editor whom I quasi-knew about doing some writing/editing work. I told him that I was mostly booked up, but that I could probably do some rearranging of my schedule for the right price. The price he quoted me didn’t fit the bill, and I told him so. He offered a higher rate. Still no good. He teased me, saying that he’d assumed that since I worked for BLANKETY-BLANK-BLANK, I wasn’t particularly expensive. Now whether or not taking on certain jobs can lower your value is probably a topic for another post entirely (and I’ve previously written a post on the non-monetary reasons I sometimes accept projects) but, the point is, I didn’t budge, and I didn’t mind it when the project went to someone else.

But coaching is new ground for me. And with so many people out there offering consulting services under the coaching umbrella — with those lower consulting prices — it’s tough for me to a) convince people that I’m worth more, and b) convince myself that I’m worth more, despite knowing how much I bring to the table. The 5 things I’ll be mulling over from my coaching call:

1. What’s my mantra? I’ve already pinned down a life purpose statement and an elevator pitch. But a mantra is something different. It’s like a tagline… one that conveys exactly what you do, and what clients can gain from hiring you. Figuring out my mantra would not only help me explain my coaching business to clients, but will also help me solidify in my own mind what I have to offer.

2. How am I adding value? What I hope to offer clients is about so much more than simple problem-solving, and regular chats. It’s about teaching clients to learn their true motivations, and to challenge their views of themselves, so that they’ll always know which career path to follow, long after our sessions have ended. On top of that, I throw in some assessment testing and worksheets, an ebook, a personalized plan book… How do you bring value to your clients? And how can you add value?

3. How can I give prospective clients a taste of what I have to offer, and leave them wanting more? My coach had a few suggestions for me, among them a free webinar, and group teleclasses. What can you give away for free, and is it possible for you to offer some budget items as well? Oftentimes, the best way to convey to people exactly how fabulous you are is by showing them… or at least giving them a little taste.

4. How can I work smarter rather than harder? Considering the fact that I’m consistently overbooked, yet not exactly rolling around in piles upon piles of money, I’d say there’s room for improvement here. When you’re taking on higher-paying work, you don’t have to take on as much of it in order to meet your financial goals. This is another reason I’m planning to offer group teleclasses. When I have bunches of people paying a group rate for something that takes up only one hour of my time, the money adds up despite the fact that they’re paying less, and I’m able to help tons of people all at once! We all win! Are you working smarter, or harder?

5. Seriously. What is actually the going rate for a certified career coach? And why would I devalue myself by charging less? Both my specialized training and my professional experience make me worth more. Have you researched industry standards to determine what the market will bear? And have you pinpointed what sets you apart from the other, thereby making you worth even more?

You guys. Let’s all work smarter. Then we can go shoe shopping together, and not feel at all guilty about it.

P.S. Read Joanna Ciolek’s post, I Work For Money Like Everyone Else, and Melissa Jill’s Do You Offer Discounts? for more on this topic.

Related: Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?, Knowing My Own Self-Worth, My 5 Favorite Things In: What To Charge, Better Than Money


  1. Wow, Steph! I am actually sitting here obsessing over fees for a copywriting proposal I’m working on… I toggled over to Google Reader to procrastinate, and came across your post. Thank you for this, especially today! Your second question resonated with me, and I think I may revise my proposal to reflect the added value, which might help me justify (to myself, I guess) the rate I’m quoting.

  2. Great post Steph! This is as much about learning to see the value in yourself and what you bring to the table as it is about striking the balance between making good profit and offering real value.

  3. Great stuff — thank you!

    I tell almost every freelancer I know to double their rates AND offer a money-back guarantee. After all, since you know you’re going to deliver a superior product, why not stand by that? (You really have to have a come-to-Jesus with yourself about the money-back thing, though, because if you say it you have to be willing to follow through no matter what.)

    I also like Chellie Campbell’s technique on talking yourself into raising your rates: first, figure out your new rates – let’s say you’re going from $100/hour to $150/hour – then spend the next week telling yourself, “I charge $300/hour. I charge $300/hour. I only charge $300/hour.” Just let that doubled rate run through your head a few times a day. Then, the next time someone asks you what you charge, you’ll say “$150/hour” and it will sound like SUCH a bargain to you! It’s funny – and it works.

  4. I’m glad I could help, Maggie. 🙂 Going through my coaching certification program has taught me so much more than how to be a coach. It’s taught me a lot about starting a business, and marketing myself.

    And thank you, Joanna! Often, I struggle the most with seeing the value in myself. It’s so easy to doubt yourself when you’re trying to enter a market that seems so… full.

  5. I so relate to this. For a time in my life I ran a political consulting business, and the scariest thing was learning to set rates. I wasn’t afraid to barge into a person’s life and tell them how they could win an election, how they needed to learn to speak in public, what their weaknesses were, what their opponents strengths were…but charging? that was hard. I could generally come up with a calculation of what per-hour rates I needed in order to make a profit, but people wanted a lump sum for several months of work. How could I estimate how many hours? What if I was wrong? I was sure I would overcharge and they would never come back. Or I would undercharge and they would either think I was not worth very much, or they were ready and willing to pay much more, and I missed out.

    But all the worrying doesn’t get you anywhere. Set the price. Know how much you’re willing to negotiate. Stick to your guns. People will respect you for it.

    And, P.S., I found that my hour estimates were nearly always right on target–I’m not sure how–it seemed like magic. But maybe, just maybe, I actually knew my business??


  1. […] When I first launched my coaching business, I struggled with setting my rates.  Why? I was afraid. Would coaching rates turn off those who were used to consulting rates? Would my target client have the money to hire me? And if they did have the money, would they want to pay professional rates for someone who was such a n00b? Would I pay that much for me? […]

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