Many professionals and business owners find it extremely difficult to assign value to themselves and their brands. For some reason, in many peoples’ minds, discussing money “cheapens” relationships.

I recently observed a conversation between several Facebook friends who are business owners. The conversation started when a friend with a growing business, already boasting celebrity clientele, posted that she didn’t enjoy assigning value to her services and wished to only focus on her craft. One of her friends then stated that she also hated charging people, and wanted to focus on building real relationships, not just those based on money.

Whether you’re a business professional or a business owner, your brand has value. If you do not assign a value to it, someone else will, and I guarantee that it will be much less than the amount that you bring to the table.

How to set your value and stick with it

  1. Review your expenses (including the cost of your own time—time is money), and ensure that your margins are in line with your industry.
  2. If what you offer is revenue generating, keep in mind the average ROI that a company/person will receive by working with you. When I started a marketing firm in 2006, I realized I was seriously undercharging when clients were making, as a result of my services, sometimes more than twenty times what they were paying me.
  3. Determine what the competition charges, and charge more. Whether you’re entertaining job offers or assigning value to your business’ services, if you are offering at least as much as your competition, you do not want to compete in price. Those who will hire/work with/ buy from you based strictly on low prices are not brand loyal.
  4. Have an honest inner or team dialogue about your MNA (minimum not angry) fee. This is extremely important for solopreneurs and professionals in careers. Make sure that you are charging enough so that you do not feel upset or taken advantage of.
  5. Believe in your pricing. If you charge $500 for manicures, and know that they are worth it because you use real diamond shavings, then you need to be able to quote your pricing without flinching. If someone asks you in person, by phone, email, or social media, you should feel very comfortable quoting your pricing without apology or long explanation.
  6. Be willing to turn away opportunities/business that does not value your brand as you do. Once you set a price, opportunities will come along that test your commitment. While negotiating a lower price with special concessions that add up to your fee is fine, taking less simply because someone doesn’t have the budget is not.
  7. Be consistent in all branding. If you are charging a premium, all print, web, and social media branding should be polished and in alignment with your fee.

Knowing your value and discussing fees does not cheapen relationships or take away from your craft. In the end, a mutual respect for money will only strengthen your brand. Be sure.


Crystal Washington is a social media marketing strategist, speaker, co-founder of Socialtunities—a social media instruction brand that trains Gen Ys-Boomers on the strategic use of social media, and the author ofThe Social Media WHY: A Busy Professional’s Practical Guide to Using Social Media Including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Blogs for Business. She is hired by corporations and associations around the globe to provide keynotes, workshops, and webinars.