Q: Hi Lozelle, I’ve done well in my business and have been told that it’s time to raise my rates. I know what I should charge and what I’m worth. However, I am incredibly uncomfortable actually asking for it. Do you have any suggestions for helping me get over this hurdle?
A: Thank you for your honesty in sharing your struggle. You are not alone in this. It’s something that almost every female entrepreneur wrestles with in some form or fashion. It’s a challenge we have to meet head-on.
Your question gets to the heart of why I created Closing Your Books to work with women business owners on their accounting, bookkeeping, and overall business finances. It’s an area where I continually saw the most accomplished, talented, confident women suddenly turn shy.
We as women have to shift our mindset about money.
We have so many hangups around our finances that start from when we were children. It’s not polite to talk about money, we’re told. The desire to be a people pleasure means that we’re not taught to negotiate for our worth at jobs, which then translates into fear about charging our value in our businesses.
It can feel uncomfortable to say that we want to make money. But if that’s not the goal, why did you start your company?
Forbes recently ran a great article on the topic of women’s money mindset which is an important read. I can’t quote the entire piece here, but the impact of our desire not to be seen as loud or bold is literally costing us money in our businesses.
“According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, 40% of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. are now women, and the number of new women-owned businesses is growing at double the rate of male-owned businesses. In spite of this incredible growth, women are not asking for the funding they need to grow their new ventures.”
Pay equity has been at the forefront of our national conversation since the recent Women’s World Cup win of Team USA. They know that their talent and success deserves to be rewarded on par with their male colleagues. And so does yours.
Don’t let a fear of money keep you from making money. Here are my suggestions to help you overcome your mindset about money.
1. Repeat after me.
Say the following phrase outload: “I am in business to make money.” Say it a few times. How does it make you feel? Explore whether you feel it is a true statement for your relationship with your business. If it is, write down the reasons why you feel uncomfortable acknowledging something that is true.
2. Take a look at your bank account.
I work in numbers and black and white because they often tell you all you need to know.
Take a look at your bank account. Observe all of the monthly payments that come out of it--rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, car, gas, clothing.
We all work to make money because it takes money to live. That’s a reality. We all need to be able to pay our bills each month. Is that your only goal?
Probably not. So write down what your target monthly income is from your business. My guess is that it’s over what you owe in bills because, wait for it, you want to make money.
A desire to make money doesn’t have to be tied to greed. It’s connected with our modern reality.
3. Talk about money.
Money has long been a taboo for women, so a major part of getting over your mindset limitations about money is talking about it. Being silent implies that there is something wrong with it. We know that’s not the case. So let’s get to work.
Talk about money as it relates to your business. Say your rates out loud to colleagues or prospective clients. You can practice saying them in the mirror first. Don’t apologize for needing to earn money to live. Don’t feel ashamed for wanting to earn money.
If you worked in a traditional workplace and found out that a male coworker was earning substantially more money than you were, you would have an issue, and rightly so. By feeling timid about raising your rates and charging what you’re worth, you’re doing the same thing to yourself. I guarantee that your male competitors aren’t having the hesitation you are.
Closing Your Business works to educate women about money to take the fear out of the process. We talk about it to understand it and how all that it can tell us about our business. Knowledge about our finances is essential to our business strategy and growth. It’s something we need to talk about in order to fully achieve and embrace our success.
You deserve to make what you’re worth, don’t you think? Thanks so much for your question, and best of luck to you!