Why Aren’t Women Getting Paid What They’re Truly Worth? (Part 1)

Guest post by Allison Bliss with Guest Author Jo Ilfeld

 ( Part 1 of a two-part article )

equal payWomen earn less than men.  We know that.  And in the corporate world it’s explained with talk of discrimination and glass ceilings.  But what about those in the service industry where consultants, designers, trainers, coaches, or other professionals are setting their own pricing – why do women still earn less in this marketplace?

In my consulting to hundreds of business owners and CEOs this is what I have consistently found; Men charge whatever they want, women charge what they believe they’re worth (often not their true value).

 4 Issues Holding Women Back
[& the Solutions to Increase Your Earnings]

 1) Too Much Humility

The majority of the wise, capable, passionate women CEO’s, leaders or professionals I know, often exude an air of modesty that borders on lack of self-confidence or even self-worth.

Hopefully, we’re moving past the era where women believed that being humble was an attractive quality. While the overt bravado that many of our male counterparts exhibit is not an appealing characteristic, the balance between those two behaviors does win higher earnings. We call it confidence – knowing your capabilities and deep value so you can comfortably claim it to earn more.

 The Solution

You don’t need to brag to have an accurate assessment of your value and what you bring to the table to help your clients.  For those who feel awkward stating their own value, I recommend a book by Peggy Klaus called Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It.

It is also reaffirming to create a list for yourself of all the experience, accomplishments and value you bring to benefit your clients. Besides reinforcing your confidence, the list should supplement your promotional materials or sales discussions.

2) Over-Serving Others

My guest author, Coach Jo Ilfeld pointed out this fascinating perspective below . . .

As if quietly doing their jobs well wasn’t enough of a hindrance, many women in service professions (like healing professionals, coaches, consultants, trainers, etc.) feel that it’s their duty to help others and that it’s greedy or selfish to charge too much for their services.

Some professionals go even further and consistently discount their lowest prices to help clients they feel couldn’t afford them otherwise – even when it ends up being to the detriment of supporting themselves and their family.

By contrast, consider this: Have you ever met an auto mechanic who felt greedy charging $300 for a tune-up?

Don’t Cheat Your Business

As a professional you are selling the knowledge, expertise, solution or answers that took you decades of study, often costing thousands of dollars, vast time and experience to learn. By discounting that price, you are simply de-valuing your worth to your own business and to your profession at large.

I remember when I became part of the Director’s team while working in my film & television career, I charged less than many of my colleagues because I felt I wouldn’t be hired otherwise.

I got calls from the other Director’s teams whom I had learned from and so admired who rightfully called me out for “undercharging for our professional skill and value”.  I realized then that I was denigrating them as well as my own vast experience (value) – which made it far easier to raise my prices at the time.

Your job as a leader or business owner is to make your business thrive and succeed so you can help more people who need your services or solutions.

The Solution

Charge your full value to clients if you’re providing your full value to them. Don’t sell on price. Sell on value! If your price is too low in your marketplace, it undermines your value (or what your perceived value is in the market). Sure there are exceptions, but it’s critical to conduct competitive market research to find out what the market will bear and what competitors are charging so you have the full picture to determine your pricing. You don’t want to price your services out of your market, or be greedy or inflated in price, but don’t cheat your business earnings, either.

Once you have this comparative information, it will be far easier to make decisions. After all, Knowledge is Bliss!

After your pricing is fairly set, you can choose to donate your talents or profits to the charities and individuals of your choice.  Don’t make the mistake of turning your career into a philanthropic endeavor.

(Part 2 of this article looks at how to establish value to define pricing and overcoming beliefs that hold women back and tactics for making sales work.)


About the Authors:

Allison Bliss, Director, Allison Bliss Consulting

Allison runs a marketing & communications agency that delivers strategic business direction for mid-size enterprise and small companies on a growth track. Directing full-service marketing with top level teams of writers, designers, social media mavens, publicists, and the full gamut of services, Allison directs all projects to manage strategy, costs and time for companies who do not have an established marketing department but need to achieve business success. All pricing is on her site at: http://www.AllisonBliss.com.

Guest Author, Jo Ilfeld, PhD, Success Reboot

Jo is a leadership coach who specializes in working with corporate professionals and entrepreneurs to become confident, effective leaders with high-performing teams.  To learn more about Jo and download her free success kit, go to www.successreboot.com.

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