How much do you think you are worth? I don’t mean that in an ethereal, overly spiritual way. I mean it in a practical business sense. How much is your time and expertise worth? The short answer is: Generally, you are worth more than you think.

What are you worth - Value
Don’t sell yourself short. Someone needs you. Exactly you. You are worth more than you think. (Click to Tweet)

When I started my consulting business, I was employed full-time. I had been meaning to start it a year and a half earlier. At that time I was riding high in my industry. I had just been named the top affiliate manager in the world and I wanted to capitalize on that, but I had to overcome my own lack of self-worth and my own feeling that my expertise wasn’t valuable.

The best business advice I’ve ever received 

I received the best business advice I ever received from two friends of mine, my current boss at the time and a former boss. Both told me separately to go for it…to start a business on the side (my boss at the time also asked me to please not quit). But they also told me to take whatever I thought I was worth as a consultant…and double or triple it.

But, when I got my first client a year and a half later…he called me and asked me to help him with his business…I charged half of what I should have charged. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a lot of money for me at the time, but I could have doubled it.

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

My true value

Ironically, about one year after I finished with that first client, he mentioned how in the past year, he had literally doubled his revenue, from $100,000 to more than $200,000.

He paid me $3,000 and made an extra $100,000+. That is some incredible math on his end.

The entire time I was consulting him, I questioned whether I was worth $3,000 for two days work. But I helped him make 33 times that much.

I’m not suggesting I should have overcharged him, but this moment made me realize that I was undervaluing myself all along.

You are worth more

Odds are, you are doing the same thing. You are undervaluing your knowledge, your time, your worth.

You are worth more than you think. You are worth more than some people have told you. (In my case, it was only others who saw what I was truly worth)

So step up, step out of your comfort zone, and declare your true worth. You are worth more.

Don’t sell yourself short. Someone needs you. Exactly you. Not another consultant. Not another employee. Not another business. Not another spouse. They need you. And you are worth more than you think.

Now…go act like it.

How have you sold yourself short?

21 thoughts on “The Best Business Advice I’ve Ever Received | What Are You Worth?

  1. Let's Grow Leaders says:

    Powerful story. Great lesson. I have a good friend who wrestles with this. I encouraged him to try to double it once. They smiled and wrote him a check. Know your value.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Nice! Great advice. Admittedly, it helps to be in a good financial position so that “No, that’s too high” isn’t a life-ending thing.

  2. Kirbie Earley says:

    Boy does this speak to me. I’m struggling now with the “what to charge” issue myself. I will definitely keep this in mind! Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Ultimately, you can bring value at any price. Think about what GE would pay if your single piece of advice would make them $100M.

  3. Zech Newman says:

    Very true Matt. It is especially hard when you are trying something new like when you started consulting. I’m just starting to write and public speak so all is free at this time. I can already tell that it is going to be hard to transition to being paid and being paid my worth. keep up the good work.

    1. Lily Kreitinger says:

      Zech, good luck on that journey. I’ll be following that same path shortly! I have found some great tools to help me prepare for it, like attending the Launch Conference and I have read The Millionaire Messenger. Great information there on how to share your message and make a living doing it!

      1. Zech Newman says:

        Thanks Lily. I will check it out. I’m going to attend the SCORE conference next year. Good luck on your journey as well.

      2. Zech Newman says:

        Thanks Matt and Lily I will buy it today.

    2. Tom Dixon says:

      It is hard to get paid speaking gigs – having those be free is okay in my book. However, can you use them to get additional clients or sell products? That is what I’ve had more success doing than in getting paid for the speaking.

  4. Lily Kreitinger says:

    In the culture of abundance, where everyone is giving away all they know for “free”, it’s very hard to set a price for what you do. This is extremely difficult for me, but I’m learning that if what I have to share is going to help my client make a certain amount of money, I should charge accordingly. Would I pay someone $2000 for a conference ticket that will help me build my business and help me receive $40,000 in revenue? Sure thing! Would I pay someone $150 an hour to design a presentation that will help me close the sale on one of my products and make 10,000 times more? Sure thing! If I can state the value I bring to the table, they will be more than happy to pay me, I am sure.

  5. Jon Stolpe says:

    This is a great story. Honestly, I’m not sure how to answer your question. I probably do undervalue myself. Thanks for making me think this afternoon.

    1. Lily Kreitinger says:

      You’re welcome, says Matt. That will be $300.

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        $250 since he is a former guest poster. You can make checks out to…

      2. Lily Kreitinger says:

        I was afraid of this. I’ve received so much McWilliams wisdom that one day I’ll find a hefty bill in the mail.

  6. Tom Dixon says:

    I’ve charged too little up to this point for my expertise. As I’ve increased my coaching rates I’ve found both the quality and engagement of the coaching relationship to increase. I still don’t charge enough, but I’m getting there.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      If you can justify doubling it, do so. Then overdeliver on that and consider raising them more. Do it.

  7. Jana Botkin says:

    Matt, I believe you are directly addressing those who bring experience, expertise, wisdom and information (i.e. consulting) Selling a product such as custom art, a completely non-essential item albeit a life enhancer, seems to not fit into this conversation.

    And you are exactly right about others being able to see more clearly what you are worth!

  8. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    What a great post brother. Maybe because I identify with it so much. I am constantly selling myself short, wondering if I have any knowledge or expertise that anyone would pay for.

    I’m struggling through it. This post is a good kick in the pants forward! Thanks!

  9. Heidi Bender says:

    When I left my previous employer several years ago, they asked me to continue doing some work for them on an as needed basis. I was blown away by how much more I could make per hour as a contractor. They asked me to name my hourly price. I didn’t know what I was doing. Several months in, the boss encouraged me to increase my rate. I had undervalued myself. It didn’t seem like it at first since the contractor hourly rate that I had chosen was 3 times more than when I was a full time employee.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Now THAT is a cool boss 🙂

      Well done Heidi!

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