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Sunday, April 14, 2024

“I Doubled My Income in a Year” – How To Actually Charge Your Worth as a Female Business Owner

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Contributor Ellen Mackenzie on her top four tips to actually charge what you’re worth, and how to level up your confidence at the same time!

The number one question that pops up in my inbox from aspiring entrepreneurs is this: “How much should I charge?”

We are no stranger to hard work, yet women continue to devalue themselves when it comes to starting their own business and charging for their services. 

The stats don’t lie – women are behind in every sense in the business world. Despite making up nearly 47% of the labour force – only 8.1% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs.

For generations, the role of women in society has been limited. I always remember my mum saying when she was 16 she only really had three career options in front of her- a receptionist, a nurse or a teacher. While we’ve made incredible progress in giving more opportunity to women, we still carry thousands of years of historical inequality on our shoulders. And damn girl, the weight of that is HEAVY!

This is one of my favourite examples I read about recently in a book called Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez: For more than a hundred years, a tenth-century Viking skeleton known as the ‘Birka Warrior’ was assumed to be male because it was buried alongside a full set of weapons and two sacrificed horses. Only a man could be such a highly acclaimed warrior buried with such prestigious artefacts, right? But there was one very obvious flaw in their theory – a clear as day women’s pelvis. 

Apparently weapons trump clear biological evidence and it was easier to believe the story of bones getting muddles in the burial than this warrior possibly being a woman. It wasn’t until 2017 DNA testing confirmed the remains did indeed belong to a woman and finally after 100 years, no one could argue against it anymore.

While we see more and more women stepping into their power, society still carries expectations for women and what they can and can’t do. This box we are stereotyped into directly impacts our confidence and self worth. 

It’s taken me two years of running my own business full time to finally level up my confidence. My income this year has nearly doubled and I credit that hugely to raising my prices and backing myself.

It’s my hope women in the online entrepreneurship world will only encourage the next generation to speak up louder and be even bolder in their decisions. But if you’re struggling right now, here are my four top tips to take away:

Stop ALL negative self talk

The way you talk to yourself matters and what might seem to be just a few sly comments, or even a humorous joke about your appearance have an impact. Does a friend ever compliment your appearance and you respond with something along the lines of, “Oh no I don’t, I haven’t even brushed my hair today, I look terrible”? Or maybe your partner throws you a compliment and all you say is, “No this skirt makes me look huge!”. Or sometimes we even throw ourselves under the bus to make a friend feel better, “I wish I could look as good as you, I could never pull that outfit off”?

These might seem like small passing comments, but you can’t believe in yourself and reach ultimate confidence with those little thoughts in your head. Stop talking down to yourself in any context or scenario. 

Understand your value and don’t charge for time

In Rachel Rodgers book We Should All Be Millionaires, she talks about the concept of value based pricing. Instead of charging for the hours you work (e.g. trading time for money), think about the value you bring. For example, as a social media manager I don’t just simply post on instagram and spend a couple of hours a week on each account. I’m fostering an incredibly valuable relationship with the brand’s audience that will last long after my contract. I’m also giving the business owner time to get back to other parts of their business when I take away that stress of trying to keep up with social media. They no longer need to spend hours studying the Instagram algorithm trying to DIY it, instead they have an expert working for them. I’m also providing research and demographics into what products perform well and what their customer base engages with the most. All of these things bring a lot to the table and can help the business increase their profits. My job is about so much more than writing a caption and hitting publish.

Know your worth and then add tax

This is a saying I’ve seen floating around online a lot but so often we question our prices and don’t actually do that math. While $800 might seem like a lot to charge someone, it’s not once you take out your tax, software subscriptions, home office expenses, petrol to drive to locations and all those little things – they add up! It’s as simple as sitting down and crunching the numbers – and this is coming from someone who’s terrible at maths. If I can do it, you can too ladies.

You are needed here

Women in positions of power do good. We need that equality and that influence in all industries of our society. Believing with all your heart that your place and work is important is a huge part in building your confidence and being able to charge your worth. Here are just a few examples because the proof truly is in the pudding, as they say:

  • One study looked at startups founded and cofounded by women and discovered they actually performed better over time, generating 10% more in cumulative revenue over a five-year period: $730,000 compared with $662,000.  
  • Businesses with female CFOs on average show a 6% increase in profits – and an 8% increase in stock return – compared to men, and they bring their companies an additional $1.8USD trillion in cumulative profits. 
  • Businesses with diverse leadership teams are more innovative (and more financially successful) than those without.
  • When the global pandemic hit, Women-led countries handled the it better than those with men in positions of power, according to one study.

Ladies, we’ve come a long way in the past 100 years since the Birka Warrior remains were first discovered. But never forget there’s more work to do. Keep pushing forward and charging a prime dollar for each step.

Ellen Mackenzie is a former journalist who launched her own digital marketing agency in 2019. She has worked with hundreds of clients and students all around the world and has been featured in Stuff, Thrive, Hello Giggles and the Vanessa Lau podcast. You can follow her journey on Instagram @ellenmackenziee or check out her website here

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