Women in Business: Why they Under-Charge

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It’s an epidemic: Business women are charging too little for their products and services, and as a result, they’re over-working themselves just to keep up.

Sound familiar? Do you find yourself working extra hours or making financial sacrifices in order to maintain margins? Or do you drop your prices, only to attract the kinds of customers you don’t want? Give away your product just to say you’ve made X amount in sales this month? 

If you want to charge what you're worth (as you should), you need to be seeking out and attracting your ideal clients. Click To Tweet

These are the people who will naturally see the value in what you’re offering, and who will be happy to pay you well. They are the people who will believe they’re getting a great deal because they appreciate what they’re receiving far more than the money they’re using to buy it. 

Embrace this mindset, and you won’t bat an eyelash at charging full price for the value you’re offering. 

Here are some of the most common reasons women undercharge: 

  • Misplaced Gratitude:  It is important to express gratitude every day, but this point is a bit different. It’s about women taking that gratefulness to a level that damages their businesses. Because women haven’t been in the business world, in force, for very long, there’s a tendency to get there and think Wow, I made it. I’m so thankful to everyone who has supported me. Now I have to do whatever it takes to stay here. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking leads to poor decision-making. Be grateful for support. Be grateful for your talents and skills. And then use them to create value so you can charge what you’re worth! 
  • Pride:  Of course, every female entrepreneur should be proud of her accomplishments. Owning a business is hard work, and keeping that business relevant and active is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever accomplish. However, like gratitude, pride can be taken too far. It can convince you that making sales (for other people to see) is more important than earning a living for yourself. It can also convince you that failure—even the kind that steers your business in the right direction—is always a bad thing. Beware of pride, particularly when you think of dropping your price to satisfy it. 
  • Low Self-Worth.  When competing in business, you’ve got to understand that you have something unlike anyone else, and that your reason for being in business is not only unique, but something of great value. Women have a tendency to think they’re not good enough to jump in the ring with their competitors, and therefore they rely on lower prices to “compete,” when in reality, they’re losing. Or, they never really learn to believe that they deserve success, and so they subconsciously set themselves up for failure (with small margins).  
  • Altruism:  Women put others first; it’s just what we do, and it’s a result of how we’re made and how we’re raised. It’s true that giving brings great joy, and seeing others happy makes us happy, too. However, you can’t let that bubble over into your business dealings. Focus on the type of giving that comes with over-delivering, rather than giving away your products and services for next-to-nothing. 
  • Underestimating Value:  Why are you in business? What changes do you want to make and whose lives do you want to improve? What problem do you want to solve, and what kind of impressions do you want to make whilst doing it? When you are clear on WHY you’re in business, then you’re more likely to see the value you’re offering (and so will your target market). Get a good handle on just how much you’ve got, so you can convey that value…and charge for it, too. 

The more I work with women entrepreneurs, the more I can see that we’re getting better at this. But we’ve got to stop expressing our insecurities with price slashing.  All this does is relieve symptoms…short-term. The long-term solution, however, is to find the people who will see the value in your brand and gladly pay you what you’re worth. Not sure how to find those people? Or how to convey clear messages about that value? You can get answers to those questions and much more in the Fempire Academy, where women support each other whilst learning how to make money doing what they love. Consider joining today! 

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14 Comments

  1. Barbara

    Very interesting. Some of it is about those layers of conditioning we women need to peel off. Then there’s acknowledging that there’s intrinsic value in the experiences we’ve individually had; and that even though there are many people that are further down the path than us, there are so many further behind as well, and those are the beautiful souls we can support! I have to remind myself this, often!

    Reply
    • Anna Gratte

      Such great words of wisdom, Barbara. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      Yes I hear you Barbara. I have worked with so many women over the years that undercharge initially and one of the best things they do, to help them believe in themselves faster, is to surround themselves with like-minded women that have their back.
      If they can’t find a sisterhood then they find a coach to believe in them.
      It’s powerful stuff. I know having my own coach makes a huge difference in breaking conditioning. Mx

      Reply
    • Emily Collaton

      Women are so inspirational and strong more than they give themselves credit for

      Reply
  2. elle

    This is such good advice and putting into practice is more difficult than expected! Barbara is right on the money about conditioning! I always want to be fair but have my worth taken seriously, it is a difficult balance to achieve especially when you are online and working with people in different regions where the income values vary significantly!

    Reply
    • Anna Gratte

      That’s a good point, Elle. I had never considered the differences in income, but don’t sell yourself short! As Marnie says, “Focus on the type of giving that comes with over-delivering, rather than giving away your products and services for next-to-nothing.”❤️

      Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      Yes it is easy to say “charge what you’re worth” but it is a very different reality when dealing with the variables of business and your own negative self talk…Mx

      Reply
  3. Kate Hawker

    Now this is a hard one especially in a relatively new business. I can resonate with all the above points and find it a constant struggle to keep my prices firm. I used to discount for “mates rates” a lot and repeat customers – then I started increasing my prices and they still booked – I felt relief and stupidity for previously selling myself (and my time) short.

    Reply
    • Anna Gratte

      You go, Kate! It’s so important to charge what you are worth.

      Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      I’m glad you pushed yourself to put up your prices Kate! The best evidence is proof that people will pay…well done! Mx

      Reply
  4. Lesley Petersen

    I often get asked (mainly by male clients) to ‘sharpen the pencil’ on my pricing. A sage piece of advice I learned early in my business from my sales trainer/mentor is to never discount. Rather, if I am asked to reduce my price, I instead talk about what aspect or component of the contract work I will take out, therefore changing the price but not undermining the value I offer. I hope that makes sense!

    Reply
    • Anna Gratte

      Thank you for sharing, Lesley. That’s a great way to go about it! It’s so important that you don’t undermine yourself or your offer.?

      Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      It does Lesley! Discounting is a race to the bottom. Great strategy removing value. I often use a value add approach (if removing value is difficult), not more time or work but something that has high perceived value but low time commitment, like an online course or book or report or something like that. Much better for business. 🙂 Mx

      Reply

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