How can I begin to figure out what my skills are worth to other people?
-- Tiffany, Miami, Fla.
1. Start Selling Them
The best way to gauge the market value of your skills is to put them on the market, then adjust your prices based on the response you get. It's a basic premise, but a lot of people are afraid to start, because they don't want to risk setting their prices wrong. If you go too low, increase prices with each new client. If too high, have a sale and see how it goes. Rinse, repeat.
2. Look at What Other People Are Earning
I keep tabs on what other people in my industry charge ... but closer tabs on the people a notch above where I currently am. I look at salary listings, speakers' fees and anything else I can find. And I keep tabs on what puts those people a level up -- what they've done and how they've reached that point. Put all that together and you get at least a ballpark of what you could charge.
3. Consider Your Value
It can be easy for your partner to feel left out when you're carrying on a passionate love affair with your work. Which is why it's so imperative to make your partner a priority. So schedule a regular date night -- weekly, monthly, whatever -- and don't miss it for anything.
4. Talk Value, Not Price
Never think about pricing strictly in terms of competition. Making price your strongest asset is risky and hard to sell. Think about the value your service can provide. How much time or money can you save people with what you offer? How can you help them enhance their own offerings and grow faster? People understand costs when they relate to their own bottom line rather than yours.
-- Vanessa Nornberg, Metal Mafia
5. The Market Determines Perceived Worth
Who you sell your skills to and where you position yourself will have a huge impact on your perceived worth. Think of it in terms of products: If you see a simple T-shirt at a discount retailer, you expect it to cost around $10. If you see a very similar T-shirt at a boutique, you may pay $100. To increase your value, position your skills in a boutique marketplace where people expect to pay more.
6. Remember: Supply and Demand
How many people provide the same skill-set? What kind of demand is out there for your service? Do some research and adjust your price according to the results.
7. Proof Is in Your Work
I have always believed that when you provide good work for people the rest will fall into place. If one person likes you they will tell 10 others about you. Focus on what you do best and don't try to be too broad with your skills. Take a few skills and make them awesome where you are the "expert" in that area.
8. Don't Sell Yourself Short
A huge problem that I see with a lot of young entrepreneurs is that they completely underestimate their value and their skills. Don't worry about what other people charge and take a look at how you value yourself. Think about how much your time is worth, what makes you different from everyone else, and the value you provide.
9. Factor in Your Costs
You should take what you were thinking of charging and double it. People don't often factor in expenses and costs they will have to cover in order to provide products or services to a customer. In addition you have creation, preparation and follow up time that you need to factor into your pricing accordingly. Finally don't forget the value of time and money you've invested in yourself as well.
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