When your employer signs your paycheck or your client pays your invoice, how do you imagine they feel? Are they excited to compensate you for the incredible value and benefits you brought? Or, do they look through every hour spent and effort expended and question whether your contribution to their business was worth the cost?
In building your brand value – personal, product, or business – you must strive to clearly communicate how you contribute to the vision, values, and bottom line of the person or company you are asking to compensate you. The value you promote needs to be perceived as compelling to that target audience in a way that makes you stand apart from anyone else who could do similar services, perhaps even at less financial cost. Otherwise, your employer’s or client’s perception of your value can result in your fees and costs continually being questioned.
As an individual, you want your employer, client, or business partner to value your worth similarly. If you provide a service for a fee, for instance, your clients should see the value, experience the impact, and consider your fee appropriate and reasonable. Otherwise, you risk being lined up in a commodity sale – where you bid on price/costs, and your value appears equal to your competitors.
To ensure your customer or employer feels good about compensating you for your services, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I living consistently with my values? Regardless of whether your work fulfills your life’s passion or not, are you showing up with authenticity and integrity? You might be pursuing a career as an actor and working in retail to support your dreams. Are you delivering an experience to the customers you help that you are proud of? Are you online for every shift? If not, ask yourself whether your values support you being half-hearted in the job, even if it’s not your passion.
- Would I hire me? How would you feel if you hired someone just like you and paid him or her a wage for a service? If you don’t think you’d be excited about that possibility, then change what you need to in order to be the best value someone can hire.
- Am I being lazy or resistant? Often, if we feel we are not in the right position or job, we will underperform in order to maintain a perceived sense of control or dignity. This serves no one. If you accept a job or contract, you owe it to yourself to deliver your highest value to that client or employer. If you are holding back, then it is no wonder someone is questioning your fees.
Our careers are ever evolving and maturing. As we grow our network and professional relationships, it’s more important than ever that we show up authentically and with commitment. When someone is compensating you for services, they should feel they got their money’s worth, at a minimum.