How “No-Brainer” Pricing Ruins Your Business (And What to Do Instead)

How “No-Brainer” Pricing Ruins Your Business (And What to Do Instead)

Much of the marketing advice out there encourages you to set prices that are a “no brainer.”

That is, a price that is so low, compared to the value you are offering, it would be silly for customers not to buy from you.

Sounds like a smart strategy, doesn’t it? But if you’re a coach, consultant, or freelancer, there are two big problems with this approach:

1) It works: you get a ton of clients, but your prices aren’t high enough to create the revenue you want. The result is you look successful but feel like an overwhelmed failure.

2) It doesn’t work: few people buy because your low price positions you as a beginner or someone who isn’t very good. The result is you both look and feel like a failure.

I know how much these two outcomes suck because I’ve experienced both of them. And yes, they nearly ruined my business because I either believed I wasn’t good enough to make it or I couldn’t keep up the pace necessary to make it.

Both conclusions turned out to be completely untrue.

By learning how to catapult my own income as well as a wide variety of clients over the last 3 years, I’ve found a smarter strategy that works in nearly every kind of business or niche.

STEP 1: WORK OUT HOW MUCH YOU NEED TO BE CHARGING

 

Set a reasonable capacity for your services and then make sure your price per client adds up to the revenue you want for your business.

To make the math easy, let’s say you want to earn $100,000 in revenue and you can comfortably handle 10 clients per year. This means, on average, you’d need to price your services at $10,000 per client.

STEP 2: RAISE YOUR PRICES TO THAT LEVEL

 

It’s not the math that holds people back. The REAL problem is that you don’t think you can charge that much. You don’t see a path from the “no brainer” price model to the premium price model.

I get it. To go from say $1,000 to $10,000 for the same service feels, well, uncomfortable.

How in the world do you justify such a radical change? Won’t everyone be shocked and angry at your arrogance? The voice in your head almost invariably starts yelling, “Who the hell do you think you are, anyway?

But here’s what you probably haven’t considered.

WHY YOUR CLIENTS FEEL LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO SQUEEZE MORE OUT OF THEM

 

Making a big leap in prices is often easier than small, incremental changes.

I know it doesn’t feel intuitively right, but I’ve done this so many times now, I can assure you it’s true.

Small, incremental prices are hard to justify. It says nothing has really changed about your business, you just want more. And, in fact, this is often how entrepreneurs try to explain such price changes. They argue they haven’t raised prices in years. Or that it’s in line with what their competitors charge.

But your customers don’t care about any of that. Incremental price changes often feel like you’re trying to squeeze more out of your customers. And they don’t like it.

Big jumps in pricing, on the other hand, require quite a bit more boldness and creativity. You can’t keep to the status quo. You (and your customers) will require a perspective shift to wrap your mind around this new number.

HOW TO RAISE YOUR PRICES EXPONENTIALLY (WITHOUT ALL YOUR CLIENTS DESERTING YOU)

 

I use about a half a dozen strategies to help my clients earn previously unthinkable prices in their business, but here’s one you can use after just a couple hours worth of work.

Change the way you frame your business.

There’s no doubt that how you describe your services establishes a point of comparison and sets the ceiling for what you think you can charge. If you’re already at the high end of your industry, here are two ways around that issue:

1) Give yourself a new title. There are two main reasons to change what you call yourself: you either want to put yourself in a profession with a higher perceived value or you want to get out of an oversaturated market. For example, the term “virtual assistant” suffers from a relatively low perceived value whereas a website developer, marketing consultant, or online business manager can easily command much higher prices. A life coach suffers from low perceived value and is also a saturated market. Better descriptions might be an executive or career coach.

2) Increase your specialization. Specialization is an easy way to essentially double the expertise you get paid for. For example, I worked with a client who called herself a freelance editor. But much of her experience was helping professors edit technical research grants and papers. Emphasizing this specialization helped her to increase her prices 20% overnight within that sub-community of clients.

The obvious caveat is that your new title or specialization has to be accurate. You shouldn’t call yourself an executive coach if you’ve never worked with executives before.

And of course, beyond your title and specialization, how you describe what you do and the value it produces matters tremendously as well.

Unfortunately, most people get this wrong, even if they’re whizzes at marketing, because they’re just too close to their own story. I’ve seen brilliant entrepreneurs vastly undersell themselves because they simply can’t see the true value of their work.

How much of a difference does changing the way you frame your value make? The proof is in your bank account. One of my clients used these exact techniques and got mind-blowing results, such as:

  • A new offer that even her existing clients want to buy, earning her an additional $4400 in the first two weeks of pitching it
  • A better way to package and price her monthly services, so one new client paid her as much as all her previous clients combined
  • A monthly revenue increase from $1906 to $9766 (after working together just two months)

Most people think leaving a stable job to start a business is a huge risk.

But the biggest risk is that you’ll stand in the way of your own success.

Many people hold themselves and their businesses back because they think they have to stay competitive.

Today, I’m giving you permission to charge for your value, not someone else’s.

4 Decision Making Strategies That Will Give You Instant Peace of Mind

4 Decision Making Strategies That Will Give You Instant Peace of Mind

Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Stephen Roe

It’s maddening, isn’t it?

When friends or family have a big decision in front of them, they nearly always come to you for advice. You’re clear-headed, objective, and decisive. The way forward always seems so clear.

But when it’s YOUR life? You constantly second-guess yourself, agonize about every possibility, and spend your days worrying you’ve made the wrong choice.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Research has shown that analyzing data leads to easier and better decision-making. Data requires you to stay attuned to your feelings, weigh them against other factors, and ultimately makes the decision simpler.

I should know. I left my job, changed my living situation, started a business, ended a work commitment I’ve had for eight summers, began a new relationship and revamped my diet and exercise routine—all within the last nine months.

Without data-driven decision making, I would have been a basket case. But data helped me feel confident about my decisions, and I came out the other side happier than ever.

When it comes time to make a tough decision, these steps will reduce stress, bring peace, and allow you to make the best choice possible.

Strategy #1: Use the power of a coin flip

 

One of the greatest barriers to simple decision-making is ignoring its complexity.

Too often, we think a question like moving to a new house is simple. But while we only think we’re weighing two options (stay in the old house or move), our minds are actually racing between half a dozen—put an offer on that house, stay in the old one, invest in a renovation, build an addition, look for other real estate options, or finally design our dream home?

Instead, we need to recognize the complexity, and then simplify.

To find the complexity, write down every option you are considering. Compose the list over the course of a day or two–you’ll be surprised how many options are actually on your mind.

For example, you might be considering these choices in a career change:

Career Change Options

Recognizing the complexity helps, but we aren’t finished. Next, we’ll divide our options into a series of two choices, or what I call a “coin-flip choice.” Of course, you shouldn’t use random chance to make your decision, but the analogy of a two-sided coin describes it perfectly.

We are not creating a false either-or choice, but simplifying an overwhelming number of options into a series of smaller ones.

To start, break each choice down into categories and subcategories.

Now we’re going to reduce these choices into a binary decision tree–each choice will only have two options. It might take some wrangling, but any decision can be worked into a coin-flip choice.

You will end up with a tree like this:

Career Change

When we break a complex decision down, we make it easier to eliminate options and select the right option. The next step will show exactly how to do that.

Strategy #2: Predict the future (yes, really)

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to predict the future?

By combining probability with the coin-flip technique, you can get frighteningly close.

Using the above example of a career change, we’ll start with the first coin-flip choice—should we work shorter hours, or work fewer days?

Brainstorm factors involved. I can think of two—the possibility of unexpected overtime and the stress of the job. If your ultimate goal is to transition into working from home, be sure to include the difficulty of that change as well.

Put into a table, it might look like this:

Predict the Future 1

Now it’s time to populate the calculations with data. Use estimates in 5% increments. Don’t use 100% for any data point—nothing is certain!

It’s unlikely I’ll be called into work an extra day (10%), but staying late is a real possibility (65%). Missing a few days a week and catching up will add a bit of stress (45% vs. 35%). And finally, there will be fewer barriers to start working from home if I’m taking days off (45%) than reducing hours (75%).

The final result is this:

Predict the Future 2

Yikes! This is an easy answer now. Since I know the better of those options, I can eliminate it from the decision tree:

Using the same strategies for the other options, we’ll get simpler and simpler choices, like this:

Predict the Future 3

Probabilities allows you to predict the future with uncanny accuracy. With that kind of power, making decisions becomes easy.

Strategy #3: Taste each outcome, and see which you prefer

 

In a perfect world, life would borrow a method from ice cream parlors: nobody would have to make a final decision without tasting a few outcomes first.

This strategy is the next best thing: create the perfect day for each choice, then use it to decide. This exercise helped me quit my job as an elementary school teacher and follow my passion for personal development writing.

For each choice facing you, make a list of activities throughout the day.

Here’s an example comparing a lateral move in a company versus a promotion. Notice the types of work you do as a boss are very different than what you do as an employee:

Taste the Outcome 1

(Note that a new house will be better reflected in a perfect week, and a car will be noticeable over the course of a month or year. Just rename the hour markers to days, weeks, or months.)

Create two new PowerPoint presentations, one for each scenario. Include a photo and description for each section of the day (for bonus points, include a relevant audio track—perhaps it’s music, coffeeshop chatter, or ambient nature sounds).

Make it as realistic as possible (no teleporting to work), but also remember this is a perfect day. If everything went exactly as you’d like, what would happen?

For inspiration, here are slides from the transfer vs. promotion scenario I mentioned above:

Taste the Outcome 2

Once you’re finished, set aside 5-10 minutes and “live through” each day. It doesn’t have to be a hokey, woo-woo exercise. Just think about what you’d do during that time. Imagine yourself in the photo, listen to the audio you’ve chosen, and estimate how you’d feel.

Once you’ve “lived” through each day, take a minute and reflect. Which day did you enjoy the most? Which was closer to how you’d like to live your life?

Strategy #4: Don’t ask for advice, start an argument

 

Asking for advice before a major decision is like asking about a baby’s name before he or she is born—no matter the original opinion, everyone politely agrees once the decision is made.

“Reginald Picklesworth Smith? What a beautiful name!”

If you want to get someone’s perspective on an issue, don’t seek advice. Start an argument.

Don’t argue in a frustrated way that leaves everyone angry and bitter. Not at all.

But stop trying to ask for advice with an open mind, and instead present and defend a position. Your mentor’s constructive criticism will be specific, targeted, and invaluable.

To do this, prepare a pitch before the meeting. Create an argument for the choice you’ve made. Write every reason for and against the decision, and prepare a response for each. In other words, prove to yourself that you’re correct.

When you meet with your advisor, be persuasive when you give your pitch. Convince your mentor that this is truly the right choice.

But don’t forget the critical next step: ask what concerns he or she has. These can help if you’re stuck:

  • What factors do you think I’m missing?
  • What questions do you have about my decision?
  • What else have I not considered?

The goal is to hear some form of argument against what you’ve already said. If it’s an argument you’ve already prepared for, use your response and see if it holds up to scrutiny. If it’s new, consider the feedback and decide if the reasoning changes your perspective.

Ask at least five people to listen to your pitch. Include individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets to get an accurate picture. Record notes from the discussion as soon as possible after the meeting.

If you notice a pattern emerging, don’t be afraid to change your original stance. After all, that’s why you asked.

The solution to solving difficult decisions

 

Perhaps more than any other factor, tough decisions steal your control. When forced with a complex issue, it seems like the choice has power over you, not the other way around.

But that isn’t fair. You deserve to feel in control.

You deserve to have a clear mind during the process.

You deserve to wake up tomorrow, next week, or ten years from now and be content with your decision.

If you use these strategies, tough choices won’t drain your energy. They should energize you. They allow you to work hard, think carefully, and choose wisely.

And after all the confusion and chaos settles down, you’ll be at peace. Because you’ll know you’ve made the right decision.

Stephen Roe actually enjoys making decisions, but spends more time writing about data-driven personal development. Download the templates and scripts from this article (plus two bonus strategies) for more decision-making help.

Want to Get Promoted? Stop Working So Hard

Want to Get Promoted? Stop Working So Hard

There’s a persistent belief that if you want to get promoted, you need to do more.

That often means you work longer hours, take on more projects/clients than your peers, answer email on the weekends, volunteer to lead additional committees and teams, and even pitch in to help your colleagues whenever they need it.

As result, you demonstrate to the world you are a leader, a team player, and all around superhuman.

Or at least, that’s how you hope it looks on the outside.

On the inside, you’re exhausted and frequently at the breaking point. Sometimes, you call in sick just to get a small break in your otherwise overwhelming life.

The idea that you’ll wow your bosses by doing more than anyone else is, as I’ll discuss in detail, a terrible strategy. It is much more likely to result in thinning hair, a gaggle of stomach ulcers, and a pillow wet with frustrated tears than a promotion.

But you’ve been working this hard for so long, it actually makes you anxious when you think about slowing down. You imagine all the reputation and goodwill you’ve built up unraveling. It’s not clear anymore where your boss’ expectations end and your internal standards begin.

We live in a culture obsessed with achievement and whether you’re looking out over a sea of cubicles or big executive offices, the message feels the same: either learn to keep up … or get left behind.

And it’s killing you.

Why working less produces better results

 

In her book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, Brigid Schulte delivers some sobering statistics about the workforce today:

Nearly 40 percent of American men and 20 percent of American women with a college education report putting in more than fifty hours a week on the job. [As a result,] an increasing number of workers reported feeling overwhelmed, in poorer health, overworked, depressed, angry at their employers for expecting so much, resentful of others they thought were slacking off, and being so exhausted that they were prone to making mistakes and doing lower-quality work.

But what if the problem isn’t so much your boss’ expectations or a workaholic corporate culture as it is our fundamental beliefs about what it takes to get promoted?

The biggest mistake people make is equating out-working their fellow colleagues with out-performing them.

Rationally you may know that isn’t exactly true, but our behaviors, from executives to interns, tell a very different story. I ought to know, because I was someone who made that very mistake—and paid for it.

When I was mid-career, I took it as a matter of pride to never turn in an assignment late. I followed all the conventional wisdom to distinguish myself. I volunteered for committees (the “ask for more” strategy), took charge of last-minute taskings (the “do more” strategy), and was always the one asked to give tours to visiting VIPs (the “be a team player” strategy).

I wanted to be the kind of employee who, when my management needed something done, I was the person they trusted to get it done right and on time—and my to-do list reflected it. I was often overwhelmed, and as a result, I was forced to do the bare minimum just to keep all the plates spinning.

Now I was lucky. Not to sound like a braggart, of course, but my bare minimum is pretty good. My bosses were reasonably happy with my work and my performance reviews were always positive.

Contrast that with my colleague Karl.

Karl prided himself on blowing off what Michael Bungay Stanier, in his book Do More Great Work, calls “bad work”: the bureaucracies, meetings, and outdated processes that everyone knows are largely a waste of time, but we’re all asked to do them anyway.

So when it came to things like online certification training, travel vouchers, or filing reports, Karl was nearly always late (if he did them at all). He kept his voicemail full and you were lucky to get an email response from him within a week. Even crazier, he found a way to generally keep 9 – 5 working hours, while others with his position came in early and stayed late.

On the surface, Karl doesn’t sound like the ideal, superhuman employee we imagine we have to be to make it to the next level.

Which is why I was shocked when Karl was promoted two years early and put on the leadership fast track, while I got bland compliments and an offer for a lateral move.

It was a hard lesson for an overachiever like me.

I struggled with frustration and bitterness, believing the system wasn’t fair. But as I studied it more, I discovered the primary problem wasn’t the system.

The problem was that I didn’t understand the real rules of the game.

The smartest employees play by different rules

 

The first mental shift is to realize that not all requests from your boss are created equal.

What I learned from Karl, and others like him, is you can get away with a lot if you become a lynchpin at the things your boss really cares about. But becoming a lynchpin takes time and focus—you’re never going to get there if you’re overworked and mentally exhausted.

What I didn’t tell you about Karl was that he had been put in charge of a dysfunctional team that caused upper management a lot of headaches—and he completely turned that team around. Within a year, his team was being lauded as one of the most productive. And the people working for him loved him.

He was able to do this because he focused about 95% of his energy on finding and fixing the issues that were impacting team performance. It wasn’t straight forward or easy work. It wouldn’t be fair to say that Karl didn’t work hard.

But working hard wasn’t what got Karl promoted.

What mattered was that he made his bosses look good and he made their lives easier.   

Not only do we feel bad when we try to do it all—mentally, emotionally, and physically—but recent studies from the University of London show that multi-tasking can produce significant drops in your IQ. In men, the mental hit from multi-tasking turned them into the cognitive equivalent of an 8-year-old.

The lesson here? Always trying to make your boss happy in the short-term isn’t a smart strategy for promotion in the long-term.

Why you can’t lose sight of the bigger game

 

It’s easy to convince yourself that what your boss wants and what you want are two different things.

But you probably have more in common than you realize. Chances are you both want to make as big an impact as possible. And you both want results like yesterday.

To lose sight of those commonalities is to lose sight of the bigger game that’s being played … and that you and your boss are on the same team.

That means your number one goal should be to intimately understand what your boss cares about more than anything else. The tricky part is, your boss may not articulate her top priority.

Karl’s boss didn’t specifically tell him to turn things around—it just became apparent his team caused his boss a lot of stress.

So you may have to experiment a bit to figure out how you can accomplish more by doing less.

The best way to do that is to talk to your boss frankly about why a specific task should be eliminated, delayed, or given to someone else. This conversation needs to be about impact, not your own personal needs or preferences. This article has some great ideas on how to tell your boss no without getting fired.

The other option, which is a bit more risky, is to try ignoring requests.

Following in Karl’s lead, I tried this myself with tasks I felt confident weren’t very important. When I was right, nothing happened—no one even inquired about my missing assignment. When I was wrong, my boss reminded me and I quickly got the work done, often in a fraction of the time, because that’s all I had.

More importantly, there were no long term consequence to these experiments. The better I got at identifying (and delivering) the work my bosses really cared about, the more autonomy and responsibility I was given.

It’s time to take your work seriously

 

The good news is that you don’t have to satisfy your boss’ every whim or try to become superhuman to be successful.

The bad news is that you’re going to have to take a lot more responsibility—for your own career and the results you create.

Because you weren’t hired for your endurance, you were hired for your initiative and intelligence.

It’s time to use them.

You just have to muster the courage to stand up to the pressures that keep you overwhelmed and running in circles.

As scary as that sounds, it’s a big part of what it means to be a leader.

The benefit is that not only do you free up more time for higher impact work, but you demonstrate you’re thinking more strategically about the organization’s goals and performance—something you’ll need if you want to get promoted.

$174K in 6 Months: How One Mental Shift Made Me More Money Than Marketing Ever Did

$174K in 6 Months: How One Mental Shift Made Me More Money Than Marketing Ever Did

When I first started my business as a coach, I was incredibly optimistic.

After 16 years of service in the military, I was finally free to do things my way. No boss, no bureaucratic red tape to navigate. The only thing between me and serving my customers would be me.

I had no idea how true that statement would be. I’ll explain what I mean in a minute.

My first year I earned about $23K in revenue. Nothing special. Certainly Forbes wouldn’t be calling for an interview on how I did it.

But you know what? I was thrilled.

To create money, any money, out of nothing but my own hard work and ideas was amazing to me. If you’ve ever had any experience selling, even if just a lemonade stand or Girl Scout cookies as a kid, you might have an appreciation for how difficult it is to create that much money all by yourself.

The problem was that I’d also spent about $28K on various courses and programs, learning how to start a blog and an online business. Ouch.

“No problem!” I assured myself. I was confident I would make that money back over the years to come.

I did earn more, but not a lot more. In fact, over the next couple of years, I would fail to earn enough to pay myself regularly. I had high expenses due to education and outsourcing, and only meager profits. It hurt both my bank account and my ego.

What made it all the worse was that my clients kept telling me how great my coaching was, how I had made a real impact on their lives and careers. I had one glowing testimonial after another.

I kept asking myself: what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I make this work?

When good marketing produces bad results

 

I’m embarrassed to admit that I continued to pour yet more money down the drain on conferences, online marketing courses, and various contractors over those years, thinking the answer to my problems was my lack of knowledge or skill. Every time I made more, I spent more. My frustration grew.

It wasn’t until I hired a coach myself that it all became clear: my prices were too low to ever get my business to the place I wanted to reach. I didn’t have an information problem, I had a mindset problem.

To put it another way, you can be a master of marketing, but if you don’t master your “inner game,” you’ll continually struggle to achieve your business goals.

And that’s true at every level of business.

The simplest definition of money mindset is how you think about money. It’s how adept you are at pricing your products and services, your willingness to charge what they’re worth, and how capable you believe yourself to be when it comes to creating both revenue and value for your clients and customers.

Like many entrepreneurs, I’d assumed the hard part was finding people to pay me. I focused on blogging and marketing to make sure there were plenty of people coming in the door.

But if you haven’t figured out how to charge for your services appropriately, more people coming in the door just means exhaustion.

The classic solution to this overwork issue, if you follow the online marketing gurus, is to turn to passive income streams. You have this idea that you’ll coach during the day and magically make money while you sleep.

But marketing, good marketing, takes time. A lot of time.

I knew things had taken a seriously wrong turn when I began to resent the coaching calls on my calendar, because they kept me from all the work I needed to do to create online sales funnels. That’s right, my core business felt like a distraction from my marketing, rather than the other way around.

How screwed up is that?

Overworked

The secret to my (mind-blowing) success

 

Several years ago I was taking a long walk with a friend, and he challenged me to generate six figures in revenue that year. I said I wasn’t interested.

“I don’t need that much money,” I told him.

“But wouldn’t it be nice to have it,” he asked incredulously.

“I guess. But I don’t need it,” I protested.

This was the first sign that my money mindset issues ran deep. You see, a part of me thought it was wrong to make more money than you needed. So perhaps it was no real surprise that as long as I didn’t need money, I didn’t make money.

Admittedly, there was also a part of me that thought a goal like that wasn’t within my reach. I was scared to try because I was scared to fail.

Once I gave myself permission to earn more, I had to tackle my scarcity mindset. This meant intentionally taking fewer clients, so I could serve those I did sign more deeply and powerfully. I set a capacity of never taking more than 6 clients at a time.

This set me up for the scariest proposition of all, because to earn more with fewer clients, there was really only one option: I had to raise my prices. Significantly.

That forced me to re-evaluate the true value of what I was already doing and how I could raise the bar. I listened more carefully to the dreams and fears of my potential clients, and then got creative with what I felt was the perfect, VIP solution to help them.

The results were beyond my wildest expectation.

I went from paying myself pitiful wages to billing over $174K so far this year. In full transparency, I offer the majority of my clients payment plans, so not all of that revenue has been deposited into my bank account yet. I’ve never had a client fail to pay what they agreed to, so I feel comfortable reporting that as revenue, but as per this article, I also believe it’s important to be as transparent as possible about what these numbers actually represent.

Even better, I was able to accomplish those results by taking clients who inspire and amaze me, while also making time for the important things in life like family, friends, and my health. These rather simple changes have made an enormous impact.

For one thing, I’ve become a lot more confident in my ability to find and sign clients whenever I need to. The scarcity mindset is gone. That means I am detached from the outcome of any one potential client–I never pressure anyone to sign with me and there’s never any desperation to my pitches.

As my prices have gone up, the number of people wanting to work with me has gone up too. This was completely counter intuitive, until I realized that low prices unconsciously signaled to my clients that my services must not be worthwhile. Let’s face it, if you’re really offering to transform someone’s life or business, who expects to get that at a bargain?

Moreover, those low prices encourage people to sign up for work they aren’t totally committed to and thus never fully get the benefit from. You don’t want to sell to someone who’s still kicking the tires, so to speak. It results in a “poor” experience for everyone.

What I discovered is that changing your mindset about money changes your mindset about everything: about what you do, your capacity to deeply serve your clients, the lifestyle your business can enable, and the amount of satisfaction you enjoy in your business.

A successful business requires courage

 

No one sets out to create an unsustainable business.

People know they’ll have to work hard to get a new business off the ground, but they tell themselves that eventually they’ll hit a tipping point and everything will get easier.

But that’s not what happens when your prices are too low. At some point you realize you can’t keep taking on new clients without sacrificing the quality of your work (and your lifestyle). While I see the benefit of selling information products to increase your reach and revenue, calling their creation and marketing “passive” is a cruel joke.

That’s not to say online marketing isn’t something you should invest in. Just don’t kid yourself.

Effective online marketing is incredibly time intensive. But in my experience, so is mediocre online marketing, which is all you can expect if you’re trying to squeeze your efforts around your client based business.

So if you’re a coach, consultant, or freelancer, hear this: the fastest way to grow your business is to raise your prices.

There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it of course.

There’s a limit to what you can charge for certain products and services for specific clientele. The question you should be asking yourself: how do you know when you’ve hit the price ceiling for your services and what could you tweak to raise that ceiling once you hit it?  

There are 3 reasons you probably have trouble answering that question:

  1. you don’t fully understand the needs and desires of your clients
  2. you don’t understand the full breadth and value of services you can provide
  3. you have assumptions about what customers will and won’t pay, assumptions you’ve probably never tested

These stories we make up about how much people are willing to pay for our services are the #1 reason so many entrepreneurs are overworked and underpaid.

Does it take courage to override those voices in your head that say you can’t charge more? Sure.

But you know what, hiring you probably requires some courage on the part of your client too. If you want your potential clients to overcome their skepticism and potential disappointment, you need to be willing to do the same.

Make hiring you the scariest and most committed thing either of you have ever done.

Then make it worth it.

Why I Decided to Teach My 8-Year-Old Daughter How to Curse

Why I Decided to Teach My 8-Year-Old Daughter How to Curse

Like any good parents, my husband and I spent our child’s early years carefully watching what we said in her presence.

We created kid-friendly playlists so we didn’t accidentally broadcast explicit lyrics. I taught myself to blurt words like “Fudge!” whenever I stubbed a toe.

And if a visiting childless friend made the mistake of speaking the way we used to when we were all in college, my husband and I eyed each other and nervously laughed, hoping the offense had gone unnoticed by our pure and otherwise untainted daughter.

Of course we also vowed to never invite that person over again until our daughter was safely tucked away at college (somehow the irony escaped us).

So when my daughter came home from school one day with a glint in her eye and the news that she had learned some “bad words,” we were prepared for the worst.

Daughter: I learned the S-word today.
Me: Oh yeah? What is it?
Daughter: Stupid!
Me: Uhhhhhh….
Daughter: I learned the other S-word too!
Me: Let’s hear it.
Daughter (leaning in for a whisper): Sexy

My husband’s thinking was, “Whew! We dodged a bullet there!”

Initially, I felt the same way. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something had gone horribly wrong. And I had to fix it.

What did you just say?!

My childhood, as best I can remember it, was quite different. My father had this wild idea that every word has a flavor and one of the joys in life is putting words together the same way you would a feast. There is no such thing as a bad word, he would tell me, just badly chosen words.

That kind of hippy philosophy served me fine as a kid, but as a parent? It felt risky.

I mean, I can barely trust my daughter not to fart, loudly, in public places without a lot of giggling. Can she really be trusted to not shock polite society, armed with a list of naughty words? Can any kid resist something so, well, irresistible?

Yes, I believe they can. In fact, I believe they must.

It occurred to me that if I am prepared to teach my daughter someday about the necessity of condoms or the dangers of drinking until you are absolutely convinced you need to share your thoughts with the world via a bullhorn, well, I could survive a talk about a few lousy words.

So I sat my daughter down to give her an education she’d never forget.

An asshole is a body part no more nefarious than an elbow, I explained. And while you may shock fewer people by substituting “jerk” for the more common usage of the word “asshole,” you don’t spare anyone’s feelings.

But if I’m being completely honest, I told her, nothing will soothe a stubbed toe or a broken heart as much as letting loose a torrent of these “bad” words … just preferably while by yourself.

Wait, but why?

I know some may think I’m crazy. It’s one thing to teach a child what the words technically mean, but it’s quite another to teach her how to throw around these bad boys with conviction.

But there are few things I’m as passionate about as giving my daughter a voice—her voice—along with the authority and autonomy to use it.

In the end, this is an issue of control. I’m not really referring to parental control so much as the control that society tries to place upon us “for our own good.”

I don’t think it’s an accident that one of the supposed bad words my daughter learned was sexy. Society has served up sexy as a role model for younger and younger girls (witness what’s happened to Halloween costumes), while simultaneously punishing them just a few years later with another S-word: slut.

It’s not the knowledge of these words that will ultimately taint my daughter but her ignorance.

Because as long as these words remain a mystery, I allow other people to determine their meaning and impact for her. As long as I insist on protecting her from her own presumed linguistic rebelliousness, the more I communicate that I don’t trust her to be the responsible, thoughtful child I know her to be.

And if I can’t trust her to control her own words, how in the world can I expect her to one day control her own life?

The issue is not whether we should teach our kids about curse words. Like it or not, they’re going to hear them and ultimately use them. I think we owe them an ounce of guidance before they go off to college to exercise their new found right to make fools of themselves.

The question is: how do we know when they’re ready, not just for dirty words, but for the dirty realities of life? Isn’t that what we’re really worried about?

I’d be lying if I said a part of me wasn’t scared about getting a call from an angry parent demanding, “Do you know what your daughter just told my daughter?” I waited a while to write this, because like any parent, I didn’t know if my intuition would prove wise or worthy of my own reality show.

I’m proud to say that my daughter can curse with the best of them, but she doesn’t. Except for the one day when her feelings were badly hurt by some girl drama that I have conveniently wiped from my own childhood memories.

On that day, she walked up to her room and closed the door. I wisely resisted the urge to make sure the windows were shut or to listen at the door, ready to correct any grammatical mistakes. (Because, to be fair, if there’s anything worse than compulsive cursing, it has to be grammatically incorrect compulsive cursing.)

Instead, I waited downstairs, sipping my tea, until she reemerged and smiled.

“I feel better now,” she told me.

And so do I.