Why when you go into business alone, ‘cost ‘ can be the hardest word

How cost can stop you in your tracks

It can’t just be me, can it? Generally speaking in life I’m pretty vocal. On politics, fairly opinionated. On subjects that I love (the kids, ballet, cooking) you can’t really stop me.
And when talking about writing, marketing or small business, the words flow beautifully.
But put me on the spot and ask me what I charge for ‘x’ and it all changes. I am stumped by cost. ‘’Er… can I send you a quote’’? ‘’Well.. it depends’’ ‘’Let’s just say £x’’.
Read: Transparency on the U.K. gender pay gap

And then begins the headache of quoting.

I do believe that in my industry, as a professional writer and marketing consultant, it’s quite hard to quote. And perhaps this is the same for many sole traders who used to earn a salary and now must devise their own costs.
Or maybe, this issue is because I’m a woman. This is not something I really want to contemplate; however, I have spotted more of a charging-reticence among my female business acquaintances than among the male ones – who seem on the whole perfectly comfortable and confident with their charging structure.
Read: Five top tips on overcoming loneliness as a Sole Trader

So how do we put a value on our work as a consultant or freelancer?Tweet this

work on your business

It’s not just a simple as paying for time

Base it on resources and outgoings? Well for me, that’s just a notepad and pen, a computer and a brain. Base it on time? Well yes that’s part of it, but not the whole story. After all, if I can work quickly, the client is getting a better service but for less money than they would pay a slower writer.
Base it on experience? Undoubtedly this should play a role. If a writer or any professional has experienced life, different aspects of business, worked at a senior level and has a high level of academic achievement, all this may enrich the quality of work that is produced.
Base it on quality and creativity? Of course, in my industry, writing skills and styles vary hugely. Copy can be factual, accurate and well researched. But it could also be dry and boring. It should be conceptual, creative, high impact and engaging.
And finally, should the cost be based on outcomes? When a company buys ‘words’ it’s certainly to inform, but it’s usually to sell. To draw attention, promote goods and services and get more business, clients and customers. So, if a few words that take an hour to write turn into a lucrative piece of business; the investment in the writer is well worthwhile.  So, the cost becomes an investment in the outcome, not just the service itself.
No wonder this is so tricky.
The other factor that makes quoting difficult for me personally (and I have again spotted this more among female business owners), is that I enjoy writing so much. I’m sure that there’s a whole underpaid workforce in many industries, who undervalue and under-price what they do, simply because they enjoy it.
Read: Time is money, but how much is yours worth?

Finding the confidence

As much as it’s about understanding on what basis to charge, it’s about confidence. The confidence in understanding the value of what’s produced. To believe in yourself and that clients trust in you. To state a price and stand by it.Tweet this So, for anyone else who finds themselves in my position, where ‘quoting’ seems to be the hardest word, here’s my five top tips;
1. Research what other people in your industry are charging and get a sample of their work/service offering if you can and compare yours
2. Ask some very close trusted clients for their honest feedback on your pricing – this can be a very revealing exercise
3. Carry out a survey asking what people would pay, with some defined pay bands for your type of service
4. Charge premium rates for express, more challenging or added value services
5. When you send a quote, place it in a professional quote/proposal template that reinforces the rationale behind your costs, the benefits of using your service and client testimonials.
I’m finally starting to take my own advice. To other cost-ditherers, good luck!

To develop your self-confidence now  Contact 3Plus now!

3Plus, Career, Culture, Executive Search and Recruitment, Financial Fitness, I, Enrepreneur, Negotiating salary and benefits: value your work, Personal & Professional Development

Leave a Reply

Upcoming events
Returner Roll Up – Learn how to identify your transferable skills
2017-07-25 @ 10.00am - 11.00am
From the comfort of your home, ,
Returner Roll-Up
2017-07-11 @ 10.00am - 11.00am
From the comfort of your home, ,
Returner Roll Up – Online Job Search
2017-07-18 @ 10.00am - 11.00am
From the comfort of your home, ,
Download and listen free podcasts
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

The importance of Hard Talk
Free Download

Taking Care of your COW
Free Download

How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace
Free Download

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info