We see quotes like “Know your worth and then add tax” all the time.
What does this mean? Why does this matter?...How do you determine your value?
This is more than an IG quote, a notebook cover, a cell phone case or a flat lay caption. This is a real life issue. Especially in work (as entrepreneurs) and life, as you apply for jobs and even just navigate adulthood. People will forever sell you short, because they don’t care about your worth. It may sound harsh, but it’s not. It’s life.
We live in a gender pay gap society. Meaning you don’t need to add any extra fuel to the fire that is undervaluing your worth. Women are already at a deficit in both corporate and entrepreneurial America. If you don’t know your worth, nobody else is going to make it their mission to find it out for you, and then “price” you at such. Everybody wants a discount, everybody wants to save, and everybody is looking out for themselves, first. The truth is, people are banking on you not knowing your true value, whether they realize it or not. It’s cool though, because you can change that.
First things first -- it all stops today. Seriously. Go ahead and jump on this band wagon, and commit to the idea, because this is your new way of life. Today you find out your value, learn to clearly define and communicate that value, and from this day forward you answer to nothing less than what you are worth.
As women, we can tend to downplay a lot. Not wanting to “toot our own horn” or be caught in the “humble brag”. Growing up I was notorious for this. Not wanting to stand out anymore than I already did, as I was often one of few, if not the only African American female in my various space(s). I was determined to “let my work speak for itself”. Time after time I was left disappointed when my efforts seemed to fall short. I thought it was me, I thought I needed to work harder, but yet be quieter, making it look easy despite knowing that it was hard -- I thought there was some magic ratio where one day it would finally all click.
That day never came, but a boatload of lessons, guided me into the right direction:
I learned that on the path to discerning your value, you have to find your own voice. Not, how can you sound like what someone wants to hear. Or, how can you copy the most influential in your field. How can you value something that you can’t define? It’s more than just asking yourself; Who am I? What is my purpose? What is my why? These help, but you’ve got to travel a little further beneath the surface first.
You have to put into words who you are and why it matters. What is your unique skill set? What problems do you solve? How do you solve them differently? It’s not bragging to communicate how you serve others. In business (and in job hunting) you are trying to be of service, so communicate that way. Your focus is on demonstrating how you will have a positive impact. That’s not tooting any horns, that is stating facts.
Reset your Mindset
Secondly, I learned to stop calculating fear and doubt into my value. They have absolutely NOTHING at all to do with my earning potential. Why was it so hard for me to speak up? Why didn’t I want to tell people what to expect, who I am, or what I do?
Why? Because I was scared that “they” wouldn’t agree. I was allowing “them” to limit me. Doubt and fear diminish everything; joy, creativity, potential, money and more. You name it, and they practically wipe the slate clean. They creep into your language with phrases like, “I run a little xyz company”, or “I don’t have a degree but I’m good at abc”. This mindset undermines your value before you have a chance to show otherwise. Without taking control, doubt and fear will quickly communicate lack of confidence and lack of belief in your true value. Once you set that precedent, it’s hard to undo. So just skip it all together, get your mind right and eliminate fear and doubt.
After all is said and done, it comes down to two simple parts...
Define your value (in your own words)
Communicate that value (for your perspective audiences)
If you can define these two parts, then the hardest part is done. Why? Because these answers frame others perception of you, in a way that they need you -- the solution. It ‘s easier to price a well communicated need/solution, then to tell somebody “wait and see”.
It is far easier to go above and beyond, if you lay the proper foundation first. It gives your audience an idea of who you are, what you do and what to expect in a way that already resonates with them. It is the verbal/written form of a rapport building technique called mirroring. When done correctly, mirroring can build rapport and a strong connection with others. By carefully mimicking anothers body language, or other factors, you can subconsciously increase their level of comfort and trust with you.
The single most important gift you can give yourself is to know your worth. Regardless of external input, focus on you for the sake of you. You could be the sweetest peach in the world, and somebody would still prefer oranges. Be you, love you and know your value.