Last week, my family was dealt a serious financial blow. In the wake of that blow, it seemed like the only/best option for us was to have me re-enter the workforce of “normal” jobs full-time. After talking to a dear friend, I had the realization that this is a load of crap! WHY should I have to put aside the work I do, which I am really good at, to go do something else to support my family? WHY NOT just remember that I am a business too and that if I EVER want to succeed, I must be able to make a living doing this work.
I think part of the problem is that I’ve allowed myself to get hung up on the service aspect. I very much consider myself a service person. I serve mothers and families. I serve my community. In my mind, that equals little or no pay. I feel guilty charging what I charge, even though it rarely covers my costs and even more rarely makes any money I can bring to my family. For me, this is multi-faceted. If I’m serving my community, how can I charge a fair wage? Doesn’t that negate the very idea of serving? Furthermore (again, *for me*), I feel strongly that my services should be as affordable as possible, because I desire to serve all families, regardless of income. I know, intimately, what it is like to have very little or no money. I know that lower-income families tend to need the kind of care I have to offer more than those in the higher income brackets because they don’t have as many resources to pull from. BUT, how does keeping myself in that space actually allow me to serve those families, especially if I can no longer do this work at all because I’m forced to do a different job? Who am I serving in that instance?? NO ONE!
Here is my plan:
1. Re-train my thoughts about my service-oriented business. First and foremost, I must recognize that my work is indeed a business. As such, I must remember and think to myself..would I walk into Wal-Mart and negotiate for a better price? Would I expect the employees to do my shopping for me, for free? Does the coffee shop feel bad that they’re charging xx for their cup of coffee? NO! They recognize that they must charge a particular price to not only pay for their materials and time, but to also make enough of a profit to stay in business!
2. Re-organize my business to reflect this change in thinking. I have to admit, I’m not quite sure what this will look like yet.
3. Set up and advertise the various other services I am also capable of doing. I have done a fairly poor job of advertising anything beyond my basic doula service. I have so much more to offer and it’s time to shout it from the roof tops!
4. Know my own value. While I have said multiple times (to myself and others) that I DO know I’m valuable, I think perhaps I’m not quite there yet. I can say the words, but do I really feel it? I work really hard for my families and I do a LOT for them. It’s okay to say that I’m good at what I do, because I am. This is hard for me. A wise mentor once told me “value what you do and charge accordingly.” (starting to see a theme here)
5. Set goals. I actually did this for the first time at the start of the year and have been pleasantly surprised how well it worked. And that goal was more like a verbal intention of what I thought sounded good. What could I do with concrete goals written down and looked at on a regular basis??!
6. Invest in my business. This may mean investing money or time or energy or ??, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to make growing my business a priority, which will serve the dual purpose of getting me closer to my ultimate goal.
Watch out world, this lady’s about to take off! 🙂