Sick of Being Underpaid for Your Consulting Services? (Part 2)

consultant on her laptopAs I mentioned in the previous post, getting paid $500 for $5000 worth of work stinks, especially when you’re a consultant or business owner with years of professional experience and top-notch expertise. In the end though, it’s really up to you to command what you’re worth.

So if you’re a consultant who who’s ready to move from a freelancer mindset to business owner mindset, and command the kind of fees that come with that, here are three more strategies to help you get it done (see four others in my first Get Paid More post.)

Tighten up your contracts

OK, so this is the not so fun, nitty gritty details that can make or break you. If you have children, you know this trick well. Before you walk into the candy store, you break it down for the kids. They walk, they use indoor voice, they stay close to you and they get to spend a pre-determined amount of money of an item of their choosing. Most of the time it works like a charm as long as you share those expectations. Keep them locked up tight in your mind and all hell breaks loose. Guess what? It’s the same thing with your clients. They need and want to know the terms of working with you because they don’t want any surprises. You don’t want them either. Surprises slow down the flow of money. So spell out the rules of engagement clearly and specifically in your contracts. Also, I’m not a lawyer. Hire a good one to help you with this.

Produce less, promote more

So several years ago everyone and their brother’s cousin was telling you that content is king. Have you been a content machine for the last year? Five years? STOP. Take a break. Because chances are you’re sitting on an unrealized goldmine of content. Instead of creating more, take what you have and promote the hell out of it. And I don’t mean just tweet it a kajillion ways from Sunday or send it to your list. Pick up the phone. Get out of your office and pass it around. If you’ve got a piece of content you’re proud of — go promote for the next year and see what happens.

Tell a better story

Saved the best for last — you story. Telling a better story starts on the inside. It starts with the story you’re telling yourself about who you are and about what is possible (or not) for you and your business. Practice making this story better and better everyday. You’ll see how shifting that story makes the story you tell to complete strangers better too. Forget about what everyone else in your field is saying and doing. Get in touch with what you value and believe, and speak up about it. Talk about your specific highs and lows. Do YOU and you’ll be infinitely more energized, passionate, persuasive and successful than you can imagine.

The Connect & Convert Strategy

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Over the last two years, I’ve systematically focused on implementing each of these, and I’ve been working with my clients to do the same.

One client is an email marketing strategist who has quadrupled revenue, while maintaining manageable hours. Another owns a yoga business and is getting longer-term commitments. Another is talking with a high level executive at a $430 million business about a deal that could explode her business. Yet another owns a graphic design firm and feels more confident about commanding higher fees because she’s communicating her value and adjusting her pricing model.

jewelry shopping on Barbados beach during family vacation

Seaside shopping in Barbados with the kids

Personally, I’ve been able to make in six months this year what I made in 12 last year. I’ve taken three family vacations, without worrying (much) about income. I’m spending Mondays and Fridays this summer with my kids. I’m not bragging. I’m sharing because I know it can be done and I know it takes focus and persistence to create those kinds of results. And it’s never perfect. I still get clients who ask me to lower my rates. I still get people who want to “pick my brain” for free. I still have to chase down payments sometimes.

But it’s happening less and less, and it all comes back to consciously leading your business and your life.

You don’t have to implement all these strategies at once. Work on them one at time and I promise, you can stop short-changing your personal life. You can work with clients you know value your services because they happily pay you well and pay you fast. You can 2x, 3x, 10x your business over the next year. Demand it, plan it and work on it everyday.

What are you doing or not doing in your business right now that’s keeping you overworked and underpaid and how will you change it? Share in the comments.

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