Business Challenge: Asking for Money

I write a blog about money, so you would think I’d be very comfortable asking for it, but I’m not. I love working for myself – except the money part. I love writing and helping clients. I even enjoy putting together proposals for potential clients, until I get to the final line: cost. I don’t even like billing people after the work is done! What is wrong with me? I know my skills are valuable. I need to pay my bills. I want to save for our future. So, what is my aversion to asking for money?

We (especially women) are told growing up that it’s not polite to talk about money. Then you start a business, and you have to.

This week, I had a request from a client to put together a proposal to do more work for him on a retainer basis. I had the proposal done in less than hour, but the cost line stayed blank for 24 hours. I have an hourly rate. I had an idea of how many hours per month he would need. It should be simple math then, right? No!

I internalize things too much. I think about the company’s other business expenses. I think about their kids or their need to make money for their family. I wonder if I sound greedy (i.e. “Does she really think she’s worth $x per hour?”). I worry about them saying no. I think how badly I want clients on retainer, rather than just for one-off projects. Then I am tempted to discount my rate to increase the chances they will say “yes.” But, if I discount my fees just to get work I won’t make enough money to pay my bills, let alone grow my business.

Asking for money is an ongoing challenge for me, but I’m still new to this. I did a webinar with Daily Worth Founder Amanda Steinberg on Monday, and she stressed the importance of service-based businesses charging what their services are worth and not selling themselves short. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I know I need to follow her advice. Wish me luck!

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