Have you ever felt bad asking to get paid for your time? Are you THAT business owner that started out offering your time for free? Do people look at you for help and expect that you will do this because that is what YOU do?
Many business owners struggle with making the change over from hobbyist to entrepreneur. There are far too many women out there that are sewing at home for others, heading over to all their friends homes to file papers or sort their homes, and even offering business coaching without charging. But the reality is that they have their own families, they have their own errands to run and they have their own husbands wanting to have them home for dinner. It is great to be that go-to person but it is also great to be that success story and the one that other women connect with for inspiration.
As a business owner of 3 start-ups since I was 22, I have definitely hit this pothole a few times myself. I start something new and find myself obsessed and wanting share this with others. The problem is that as a self professed workaholic, I find myself up at 2 am working because I was on the phone for 2 hours with friends helping them solve their business issues.
Great that I want to help, but my ideas and time also have value. And why should I feel bad if I am spending 2 hours of my time helping your business make more money? It’s great to help people but keep in mind that everyone needs to learn things on their own and run their business their own way… or invest in the growth of their own company if they want to succeed.
Women are know as helpers and solvers … but it will be fantastic to be know as a the “go-to” business in your field because you can really show others by example!
Problem: “I started as a hobby by not charging my customers and don’t know how to switch over to getting paid”
You need to figure out if our business is a viable opportunity or a hobby. Most of us start out by trying our new and exciting idea, and seeing if others are interested in our services or product without charge. This is a fantastic tool to see if there is a market for you. The problem with this is that you are suddenly giving your time, services and product free of charge.
Solution: Be sure if this is the route your are taking that you have a date set for when you will charge, and you are tracking your cost of time/goods and you are following up with these ‘customers’ for a review or referral.
Problem: “I have not billed this customer before and do not know how to ask them now?”
Well it has been 3 days spent at your girlfriends house sorting her files, setting up her Facebook Business Page or consulting her on how to get more fans on Facebook or Twitter. You are running out of time for other jobs or tasks of your own and you are struggling with charging this friend.
Solution: You need to set your limits with friends if you value your time. It is great to drop a few tools to your friends on how to set things up, but if you are doing this for them as a ’customer’ then you should figure out your hourly rate. Decide on a list of tasks that you will do for this person in two hours and set a rate there will be no misunderstandings on what they are paying for or it’s value. Your friend will now walk away knowing what you helped them with and what to refer you to others for.
Problem: “I have no idea what to charge for my time?”
This is a new venture for you, a change in career and you have never charged for this before? You have no idea what to charge your customers and dont want to undercharge so you are holding off starting till you can figure out a cost?
Solution: Take a look at 5 competitors: One that is a start-up with less offerings than your own, 2 that have a similar, and 2 with more advanced. Compare their ‘product or service’ offerings and evaluate where you should be in your pricing. Another great tool in Craigslist for your area or your local classifieds.
Meghan Simington is the Co-Founder of mom inc MOVEMENT, busy mom of 2 little ones and never apologizes for making money!