Getting paid what you are worth.
That phrase can sometimes sound and feel as mythical as a unicorn and as unattainable as a spontaneous road trip to the moon. But if you are one of the many creatives, authors, or business folks who feel like their work and time is undervalued, let me assure you; you are not alone.
The following points are some reasons that you are not getting paid what you are worth, and how you can turn those missteps around.
Reasons You May be Underpricing Your Work
You Feel Like a Rookie: “But I haven’t been in business/writing that long…” is a self-deprecating excuse that has left the lips of many artists or entrepreneurs. The bottom line is that, unless you have emblazoned “I’m a newbie” across the front page of your website or LinkedIn page, most people aren’t going to know how fresh-out-of-the-gate you are. Produce only superb work consistently and “own” the fact you are great at what you do.
You Aren’t Putting Your Best Face Forward (and You Know It): Conducting yourself like a pro is key to business success in any career path. But authors and artists also need to know that we live in a very visual online world and how you present yourself online is the same as the “first impressions” rule when meeting someone face-to-face.
Invest time, money and expertise in a website and social profiles that don’t look like the neighborhood teen created them. Then, always put forth your best effort like you’ve been in business for years and no one will be the wiser. Behind the scenes, you may still be learning the “hows” and “whats” of running a business, but you are still offering value in your area of expertise. Focus on the skills you have to solve people’s problems or create work that will make their heart sing, and worry less about the minutes, days or months you’ve been running a business.
When in Rome…: Perhaps in the early days of business planning, you were advised to price your work, “in alignment with the market.” That means; if Joe is selling an item that is similar to yours for $40, then you should too. What many creatives fail to take into account with this line of thinking is what we call the You Factor. The You Factor is the uniqueness and magic that only you bring into your work and business. You Factor has value since no one can duplicate it. You are uniquely you, and no one can successfully copy that. Keep that in mind when asking for what you are worth and adjust your pricing accordingly.
You Haven’t Asked for it: The TV show American Pickers is hugely popular and for a good reason. Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz are pickers who have created a very prosperous business from essentially going door-to-door buying antiques, and exquisite “barn finds.” They are also excellent businessmen who know the value of forming relationships. They are routinely transparent when negotiating prices and have been known to give more than the asking price if the owner is unaware of the value. It’s not uncommon for either picker to respond to a seller’s ask of $100 with something along the lines of; “I think you’re a little light. Let me give you $200 for it.”
The reality is that people will pay what you ask. Period.
Getting Paid What You Are Worth
Learn from the Success of Others: A twenty-five-year veteran of the piano instruction profession and current President of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT), Noreen Wenjen has spent the last two decades of her successful career recognizing the importance of creating a nurturing environment for music students. In her new book, Two-Year Waitlist: An Entrepreneurial Guide for Music Teachers, Wenjen shares her tried-and-true method of using marketing, technology, and business know-how to grow a two-year wait list for a successful independent music studio.
“When potential clients as me what my rates for piano lessons are, I point out that I am not just offering them a ‘session.’ I’m providing an intensive musical program that is so much more than weekly lessons. It’s all about how you market yourself and how you highlight how valued added your business is.”
So if you are feeling like you are underpricing your products, creations or services, then it’s time to raise those rates! The customers who genuinely love and appreciate your art will pay what you ask because they value not only your skills but also the relationship they’ve built with you. Trust and integrity are priceless skills to possess as well.
Noreen Wenjen has spent the last two decades of her successful career recognizing the importance of creating a nurturing environment for music students. With two filled-to-capacity piano instruction studios to her credit and a vast knowledge of marketing gleaned from working at two Fortune 500 companies, Wenjen is sharing her proven business tactics with other music teachers who are committed to establishing a successful music studio with longevity.
In her new book, Two-Year Waitlist: An Entrepreneurial Guide for Music Teachers, Wenjen shares her proven method of using marketing, technology, and business know-how to grow a two-year wait list for a successful independent music studio. From identifying the value of a music teacher and connecting with students to taxes, fees and running a music school like a business, she shares knowledge and experience to educate other professional music teachers on how they can create an empire that will have students lining up for their expertise.
“Noreen Wenjen has created an invaluable guide for the private piano teacher. Her years of success in this field have enabled her to write a book that is both comprehensive and wise. An absolute must for piano teachers.”
– Dr. Stewart Gordon, Professor of Keyboard Studies at the Thorton School of Music, University of Southern California
Learn more about the book and author HERE.