Flashback to 2012.
It was a cold, January day but my cheeks were warm with excitement and a touch of anxiety.
It was the day I met my first ever counseling client in my brand-spanking-new private practice.
I was so stoked to start seeing clients…start helping people feel better…and start bringing home some bacon for my husband and (also new) 3 month old baby girl.
That first client consult went smoother than expected…I was so nervous I’d mess it up by saying the wrong thing or by getting too personal too fast.
But as luck would have it, this client was a dream…a perfect fit…someone I really wanted to work with.
And she really wanted to work with me! Yes!
As our session came to a close, there was only one more item of business to cover before we could start working together…
Oh, yes…the dreaded money conversation.
I froze…I didn’t want to bring it up…I was so scared that my client would get up and storm out of the room when I told her my hourly rate was (gulp) $125.
And I needed this client. After going without a paycheck for several months, I had to close this deal.
I was such a scaredy cat that my client had to ask about the financial piece before I could bring myself to mention it.
“How much do you charge?”
My palms started to sweat and I felt like throwing up.
What if she couldn’t afford my rate?
I’d surely lose her as a client.
What if it would create a financial hardship for her to see me?
That certainly wouldn’t help her mental health.
The “what if” questions consumed me…so did the fear of rejection and a “lost sale”.
Before I could really think about what I was doing, I blurted out, “Seventy-five dollars a session.”
She didn’t bat an eye. She smiled and said, “Great! When can we start?”
That was not the reaction I expected!
Clearly, I falsely assumed that money was a problem…that she wouldn’t value my service…that she wouldn’t think I’m worth $125/session.
But she didn’t do that at all.
She didn’t devalue me- I devalued myself.
And because of that, I undercut my rate and cost myself $75/hour.
I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
While I felt happy and proud to get my first client, I was so disappointed in myself for lowering my rate out of fear.
I knew I was worth more than that but now that the rate was set, I couldn’t undo it…
…and that made me feel resentful about working with that client…
…even though I really liked her.
That experience taught me an important lesson:
Set your rates with confidence and stick to them.
And you need to do the same.
It’s not your place to judge who can afford what…and you have no business making assumptions about what other people value.
I did my money a disservice by discounting my rate when it wasn’t necessary…the client didn’t ask me to do that and I shouldn’t have so readily volunteered.
Out of respect for yourself and your money, always be in the habit of charging your worth.
Charging your worth means that you set your rates at an amount that accurately reflects the value you believe you offer through the service you provide.
Does setting your rates give you sweaty palms and butterflies?
Does telling clients what you charge make you want to hide under the covers?
I can help. Hop on the wait list for my Money Therapy Online Program– A Year of Weekly Therapy Sessions for You + Your Money to Build a Love Affair that Lasts a Lifetime.
Enrollment opens in April 2020. Get on the wait list to get the exclusive details first.