You Can’t Give Your Whole Business Away for Free

I recently started a series of daily self care practices. Not necessarily new year’s resolutions, but things I wanted to literally practice daily.

My morning routine now consists of Morning Pages — an exercise from Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way, three handwritten pages of journaling without any particular prompt — and a three card tarot reading recorded in the Writual Planner. And in the evening, I wash and moisturize my face before bed (yes, this is new, at age 33).

The journaling and tarot reading first thing in the morning help me listen to my thoughts, identify areas I need to work through, and sometimes just help me make lists. And today I got a huge DUH message after three solid weeks of this daily practice. I’m sharing it with you in this post — it’s a much-needed piece of the puzzle for entrepreneurs who struggle with pricing and the desire to give as much as possible.

You’ve got the creating-the-thing part down, and love it, but the actual business-y stuff brings up the imposter syndrome and tells you that you need an MBA or a full-time business advisor in order to grow your passionate, heart-centered business.

You don’t. But you do need to make sure your self concept is aligned with your business goals. (Also, you need business goals).

I quit my full-time marketing job and became self-employed in the summer of 2020, and as I developed a ramshackle set of freelance offers into an actual business over the last year and a half, money has continued to be a sticky point in my brain.

The confidence is there. The offers are good. The social media posts are eye catching.

But income goals? Pricing? Asking people for money? [[Internal screaming]]

I want to help people pursue their passions without burning out.

Scratch that: I want to help people pursue their passions without burning out. I am doing that, through my coaching, membership, blog, podcast, emails, and social media. Every day, I reach someone who needs a reminder that their dreams matter.

But I also need to pay myself a living wage for the work that I do making this impact. And that’s the sticky part.

The temptation to keep prices low to be as accessible as possible is a noble intention. But it’s also self-sabotage. And you can’t just martyr yourself for your cause, because then your cause dies and you can’t afford health insurance.

So here’s what I pulled from the deck today when I asked my tarot cards about my pricing. I specifically pulled a card to represent my perception of my pricing, others’ perception of my pricing, and the action to take to reconcile the difference.

My perception: The Lovers. Aw! I see my pricing as a beautiful, harmonious reflection of value. The value of impact I provide to my clients, and the value of my time and labor. Alas, we know there is a hiccup coming.

Others’ perception: Reversed five of wands. I laughed out loud at this one. The image of the five of wands is five people with giant sticks having a fight. Having too many offers in order to try and have something for every client at every budget is confusing. I fight with myself over my pricing and expect others to fight me too.

Every business person I know has had this issue.

The fear that your price is too high, that people can’t afford it, or that your time and expertise isn’t worth that much. Whether you create jewelry, write resumes, coach writers, or anything in between — this “I’m not worth that much” thinking is a foothold for imposter syndrome. And it’s a disservice to both YOU and your CLIENT when you assume people cannot afford your prices, like you don’t trust them to know whether or not they can afford something or if your services would help them enough to be worth the price.

Action: Reversed Magician. The Magician is a card about balancing all elements and being consciously aware of your power and manifestations. The reversal indicates untapped talents and improper balance — even manipulation. When you aren’t clear on what you’re offering, or you don’t feel confident in your prices, YOUR perception of yourself is incoherent, and the client can tell. You don’t trust yourself and your prices? Neither will the person in front of you that you are called to help — but can’t, because you’re just pulling stuff out of your messy backpack of offers looking for the one that fits.

Step into your power. No one does your business like you do. And your particular balance of gifts, talents, and experience will connect with people who wouldn’t connect with someone doing it a different way. Embrace that. Trust it!

Now, on the note of wanting to be accessible and offer things for free or low cost: You can still do this. I offer tons of free education on social media, the Run Like Hell Toward Happy podcast, and in my email newsletter with a new pep talk each week. I create free courses and eBooks, because I want to offer free stuff. It feels good to me, and I get to help even more people that way.

But when it comes to your labor, energy, and life’s work — you can’t give it all away. And that’s okay. It’s good, actually. Being in charge of your own thriving wage is a giant fuck-you to the powers that be in our society.

Get clear on your offers, your pricing, and the way you truly impact the world, and you’ll approach these money mindsets in a totally new way. If it feels like you’re in a fight with a bunch of sticks, it’s time to get clarity. (Also, if you need a little help, book a free clarity call with me and we can chat).

Speaking of free!

My free eBook, Achieve Your Dreams Without Burnout, is full of burnout busting thought exercises, journaling prompts, and time management tips to help you create a true balance between work, life, play, and rest. Grab your copy now and you’ll start receiving my value packed pep talks to start off each week next Monday!

Get your copy now!

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