What Are You Truly Worth?

What I Learned by Not Following the Best Business Advice I Ever Received

How much do you think you are worth? Not in a spiritual “we all have infinite value” way, but in a practical business sense. How much is your time and expertise worth in the marketplace?

What are you truly worth?

The simple answer to that question is this:

More than you think.

Starting My Business

For nearly two years, I meant to start a business. I toyed with the idea, kept saying I would, and even had a name picked out (Matt McWilliams Consulting…I know, super original). But weeks went by and still I hadn’t started it. Weeks turned into months and months turned into more than a year.

When I first came up with the idea to start a consulting business, I was riding high in my industry. I had just won the most prestigious award in my industry and I knew I had to capitalize on that. But I also had to overcome my own limiting beliefs. I didn’t value my time and expertise nearly enough.

I was literally one of the best at what I did professionally and I was still struggling with my own worth in the marketplace.

The Best Business Advice I’ve Ever Received

As I floated around the idea of starting my consulting business, I began asking for advice from friends and for my boss’ blessing. My boss gave his blessing and he also gave me the best business advice I’ve ever received.

He taught me how to price my services. He said to take whatever I thought I was worth as a consultant and double or triple it. Amazingly, a friend of mine told me the same thing.

Double or triple my self-evaluated worth…that was their advice. Today, many years later, I live by that advice. But, it didn’t start out like that.

When I got my first client, I could not bring myself to follow their advice. Instead of charging two or three times what I thought I was worth, I charged exactly what I thought my expertise and time were worth. I was considered one of the most knowledgeable people in my entire industry, yet I valued my advice at a fraction of what it was truly worth.

I allowed my own low self-worth to cost me thousands of dollars.

My True Value

A year after I completed my consulting with that first client, we had a follow up phone call. He told me that in the previous year, he had more than doubled his revenue, from $88,000 to $212,000. He gushed at how much I had helped him.

He paid me $3,000 and made $124,000 more in just one year. Today, his business continues to grow.

The entire time I consulted him, I questioned whether I was worth what he was paying me. I doubted my own abilities and my own worth. By the end of year three, I helped him make more than a 10,000% return.

I vowed then that I would never undervalue myself again.

You Are Worth More

You might be making the same mistake I made, whether you are a consultant, an entrepreneur charging for goods or services, or trying to move up the corporate ladder. You are undervaluing your time, your knowledge, and your worth.

You are worth more than you think. You are worth more than some people have told you. You are probably worth more than you are being paid or more than you are charging.

The solution is to step out of your comfort zone and declare your true worth. You are worth more. But it requires you to be bold and know your true value to others.

Don’t sell yourself short. Someone needs you…exactly you and what you offer. Not someone else. Not another consultant. Not another employee. Not another business or service. They need you. And you are worth more than you think.

Now go act like it.

Question: Have you ever sold yourself short? What were the consequences? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • It’s really hard putting yourself in the other person’s shoes to visualise the true value of the help you can give them. But as you so clearly lay out here, it’s well worth the effort.

    I’m glad your first projects worked out so well. It would be fascinating to know if the results could have been even better if your fees had been higher. If you had been charging your true value, it could have affected the self-belief of the business owners in question so that their expectations were set two or three notches above where they were at…..

    • I actually think it’s healthy to ask myself constantly, “Am I providing $X worth of value?” when I am working with a client. That doesn’t mean I am doubting myself anymore, rather I am keeping a check on myself to make sure I am delivering the goods.

  • Great article. So many people go through life limiting their value based on self doubt and criticism. If people knew what they were truly worth it would be a different world.

  • When I left my previous employer over 5 years ago they asked me to finish up a few projects as a contractor to be paid by the hour. I agreed. I had no idea what to ask for and I thought I was asking for way too much. After many months, my boss there finally told me I didn’t ask for enough and increased my rate by $25 a hour!

    • See? He knew you were worth more :)

      That is an AWESOME story Heidi!

      • The challenge for me since has been how to replicate that experience!

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