Dear Puttylike reader, this is a classic Puttylike post. Meaning, it’s from the early days–from before I really found my voice or knew what I was doing. I’ve chosen to keep this post online for the benefit of Puttylike readers who have worked their way backward through the archives. And also to highlight the fact that everybody starts somewhere! xo, Emilie
A while back I began working one-on-one with multipotentialites, showing them how they could become professional multipotentialites by turning their insatiable curiosity into a business.
It started with my “real life” friends. I saw my most creative pals struggling to make ends meet, merely enduring unsatisfying day jobs. I saw such talent being wasted, and I thought, I have knowledge that can help them! I need to help them in any way I can. It became my mission.
It never even occurred to me to charge them. I mean, why would I charge people for something I love doing? This is information I’m totally jazzed about sharing! Also, isn’t offering my services for free to the people who really need me but can’t afford me, the best way to help?
Working for free was awesome… at first
During our coaching sessions, my friends lit up with excitement as I explained what was possible. We would go through their many interests, craft an overarching theme and mission statement, and talk about ways in which they could make money and best serve the world by doing all the things they loved.
I gave them direct, actionable steps. I told them precisely what to do to get their businesses off the ground. They left our sessions enlightened and inspired. They now had knowledge that could make a real difference in their lives!
But did my advice change their lives?
No. It did not.
And it’s not because it wasn’t good advice either.
It’s because they didn’t implement any of it.
Not one of my real life friends that I offered free coaching to took action. Not one.
This frustrated me to no end, not only because they had wasted my time, but because I had invested emotional energy in their cause! I believed in them and I knew they had it in them to absolutely crush it!
It was so painful to see my favourite people continue down the same path of discontentment, squandering their greatest gifts. It also made me feel powerless… and that is a really shitty feeling. I felt like I wasn’t making a difference at all.
The power of perceived value
What I realized is that by not charging, I was doing the exact opposite of what I had set out to do: I was not helping them. In fact, I was doing them an incredible disservice.
Lets compare these results to the results of my paying clients. Hell, lets compare these results to the pro bono work I did online with my contest winners!
Almost every single paying client and every one of my contest winners took immediate action. If they already had a website, they began seeing fast results in the way of traffic and growth. If they were just getting started, it was only a matter of weeks before they launched their own digital business.
And you know why? It’s because price communicates value. Also when you invest money into your future, you’re infinitely more likely to follow through.
But even my free coaching winners took action (some even re-hired me), because they knew that nearly 30 people had wanted these slots, but I had chosen them. They wanted to soak up as much information as they could in our 20 minutes. They also wanted to prove to me that I hadn’t made a mistake by choosing them.
How to get paid for doing what you love and feel good about it
1. Provide incredible value and know you’re providing incredible value
Determine what your passions are and find a way to use those passions to help people. What kind of benefit are you providing? Are you inspiring people with your ideas? Are you helping people make changes towards a healthier lifestyle? Are you moving people with your art?
I’ll never forget something Dan Andrews once said in his podcast: Don’t walk around saying “pick me! pick me!” Instead, be so good that you can’t be ignored.”
Work on building confidence. If you don’t believe in the value you provide, why should anyone else?
2. Clearly communicate your value
Be straightforward and honest (not modest, honest). Tell the world exactly what they can expect to gain from working with you. If you’re an artist, don’t just tell, show. Put together a portfolio of your work. Actually freelancers and consultants should be “showing” as well. Back up your talk with testimonials and case studies.
3. Charge market rates!
I know that when you’re doing what you love- when you’re teaching or writing or painting, it feels almost dirty asking for cash. You think, should I really be charging people for something I would happily do anyway?
Yes, you should.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that work needs to feel bad, that it needs to be hard and painful, and that what we’re being compensated for is the pain we endure. This is completely backwards. You should be compensated for the value you provide, and that’s it. If you deliver, you deliver. Only results matter.
Also, once you no longer need to worry about how you’ll pay your bills, it frees you up to create more amazing work. Getting paid is good for everyone.
Learning from my mistakes
Like so many of my blog posts, the idea for this article came to me when I realized I was doing things wrong. (It occurred to me during #failweek actually, which is appropriate).
I realized 2 things:
- I’ve been severely undervaluing my services. I’m charging way WAY below standard industry rates for my coaching, and in doing so I’m doing nobody any favours.
- I’ve been doing a terrible job of communicating the specific benefits of my service.
Well, enough of that! I provide immense value and both my rates and my message should reflect that. This knowledge changed my life. It took me from being a lost and confused multipotentialite with a zillion interests and no clue how to harness them, to someone living an awesome life based around variety, doing all the things I love on a regular basis! This stuff is hella useful.
Changes are afoot
I’ve decided that it’s time to make a few changes around here:
1. I’ve completely revamped my coaching page
2. I will be increasing my rates
If you’ve been thinking about squashing that voice inside that says: “How the hell can I bring my many interests together in a way that keeps me happy and makes money?!” then you should get in touch with me immediately.
I can’t say exactly when the prices will increase (depends how booked up I get), but it will be soon.
Are you charging enough for your work? If not, what’s holding you back?