There are four important things to take away from this blog which will be broken down into parts;
1. Don’t be afraid to charge your worth;
2. Be open to receiving money in exchange for your work;
3. Don’t be afraid to talk about money and what you charge; and
4. Manage your money well.
Firstly, let’s focus on setting your price and not being afraid to charge your worth. How do you place the right value on what you do, price the product you’re selling and not undersell yourself?
Firstly, whether you are providing a service or selling a product, what you are doing is valuable. It’s something people need. You have collected together all your knowledge and wisdom to create something special and amazing and are now sharing it for the world. In my law business, I have a law degree and thirteen years of legal experience to share with legal clients. That’s worth something!
Your thing is unique to you. No one else can do it the way you can. That is what is valuable. If there was no such thing as money, the service or product would be free. If everything was free, would the world value things more? Probably not. We live in a world where people love to get something for nothing. But that is not the reality of the world we live in. Change your mindset around money and you will attract clients who see the value in paying you for your services.
Build your business so that you become known for what you do, not what you charge. I love taking calls from new clients in my law business and the first thing they say is “I want you to act for me” and the last thing is “I suppose I should check what your fee is”. The best clients are not concerned about the cost. They want the best service and someone they can trust to get the job done and guide them.
Price your product and service at a level where you are not the cheapest. Put the value on something else. If the value is on your amazing service, market that. If the value is on a product that lasts 100 years, market that. Don’t market being the cheapest. There will always be people who want to undercut you, ignore them.
Many of you will have come across situations where clients complain about your fee or undervalue it. This is common in the legal industry. I sometimes hear “It’s a straight forward transaction and doesn’t require legal expertise”. All very well until the shit hits the fan!
Very early on in my business, I made two very important non-negotiable decisions. The first that I would never negotiate my fee. My fee is my fee. I wanted clients to come to me because of the quality of work and great job that I did, not because we had the cheapest fee. I also wanted to be fair to all clients. To do that, it means no discounts.
The second was that I would never worry about the clients who made enquiries and didn’t come to us because our fee was, in their view, too high. Those are the clients you do not want to work for. These clients also commonly turn out to be the high maintenance ones!
Whatever your fee is, represents the value you see yourself as giving to clients. Make it worthwhile, you're worth a lot more then you think!
When I set up my business and took on my first employee, I had no idea how to lead. I knew deep down what type of boss/leader I wanted to be, but it took me a while to unearth that person. You see, law firms can be awful places to work. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every job I have had. Without those jobs and the people who taught me, I would not have the skills and tenacity I have today, which has enabled me to set up and run my business successfully. Just because these people weren’t great leaders (at the time, and perhaps only for me), doesn’t mean that I didn’t admire them in other ways, or that they weren’t great people. The problem is that a great lawyer doesn’t necessarily make a great leader. Law school doesn’t teach you how to run a business, manage staff or lead people. In the past, it seems to be something that has happened by default and lawyers are only now realising that these skills are in fact required, especially when it comes to leading and managing the new generation (I refuse to use the term “millennial” but that is a topic for another day).
When I look back at the leaders I had in the past, I realised that they had all shown me the type of leader I didn’t want to be, not the type of leader I wanted to be. I had to create from scratch the type of leader I wanted to be, as well the culture I wanted to install in the workplace. I can see now that this wasn’t a bad thing, as it has lead me to be a truly authentic leader. I have created a business environment where well-being is recognised as being important, where we have guest speakers, anyone from a funeral home director to a psychic, distill essential oils, and get reiki. Creating this business environment is not possible without the right people on your team. You can’t force team members to engage and be engaged if they don’t want to. Some people just want to go to work, do their shit and go home. The younger generation want more than this. They want to be fulfilled by their work.
I feel so proud of the team I have created but it also testament to them as people. In amongst all this though, the question arises: how do you balance a great, fun work environment while making sure the job is taken seriously and the work gets done? I’m not entirely sure what the answer is, but I do think it has a lot to do with instilling in your team your own work ethic, leading by example and making it clear what your expectations are. We often receive comments about how fun it looks to work for us. I recall having a stakeholder in to help implement software and comment on what a fun team environment we had. What people don’t realise though, is that the work is tough, demanding and relentless. My team work hard and give 100% every day. They know exactly what is expected of them, and how to balance this with fun. A well-stocked fridge, secret stash of chocolate for the tough days, random coffee shouts and a simple thank- you never go astray either!
With a passion for small business, Emma Stanley is committed to sharing he expert knowledge in order to help up-and-coming businesspeople with anything business!