How much money do you want to make? This is an important question to ask yourself because I know that a lot of times during the day you may find yourself saying, “I don’t get paid enough for this, I don’t want to do this because I am not making enough on this case.” Or you may feel like you want to make more money in general. You may feel like you’re under-earning, you’re working all the time, and you’re not being compensated for the time that you’re working, so it all starts to feel overwhelming.
I can tell you that under-earning leads to overwhelm. No matter what, if you are not earning enough money you are going to constantly feel overwhelmed. You’re always going to be trying to catch up. It’s important to acknowledge this, that’s the first step in healing it. The second step is to really put a number on it, how much money do you want to earn? A lot of times we say, “I want to earn more money,” or, “I don’t make enough money.” But if we don’t put a number on it, it is not concrete, it’s just an abstract idea.
What we have to do is, if we decide that we want to make more money, we need to put a number on it to determine how much money it is that you want to make. Something that I like to say is that you need a number that scares you because it will empower you and inspire you. No matter what number it is that you’re going to put on paper, it’s probably going to be you on the lower end of what you actually want.
You’re probably going to put down less money than you really want to earn or less money than you possibly could earn. I want you to take that number that you’re thinking in your head, whether it’s $100,000 a year or $500,000 a year or a million dollars a year, and I want you to double it and make that number your goal. In order to really make it a goal, you have to set benchmarks. You have to take that number and divide it by 12 to see how much you need to earn on a monthly basis, and then take that number and divide that by four to see how much you need to earn every single week so you can start tracking your progress.
Now, this feels scary at first. It feels scary to declare that you want to make more money. We sometimes even feel like it’s wrong or like it’s dirty. We feel like it’s greedy, especially for women, but you do great work, and doing great work and making a great living are not mutually exclusive. You do not have to pick one or the other, you can do both. The first step in doing that is to really decide how much money you want to make.
I know for me a light bulb went off a few years ago when I was doing a case type that I was severely undercharging on. I was sitting there and I had a newborn baby and I had put him to sleep, it was late at night, and I was working on this case, and I hated it. I just sat there cursing it, saying, “I hate this. I hate this case. Why did I take this case, the clients are so difficult.”
Then I said to myself, “I’m not getting paid enough for this.” At that moment when I said I’m not getting paid enough for this, a light bulb went on and I thought, “Okay wait. If I’m not getting paid enough for this, it’s my own fault. I’m the one who set the fee way too low.” At that moment I decided that if I was going to ever do that case type again I was going to charge more for it. I was going to raise my fees.
At this time I didn’t put a number on how much I wanted to earn, I just decided that I needed to take a harder look at every single one of my prices to determine if I was charging properly for the type of case that it was, for the high maintenance clients that might come along with it, and for the extra work that could be caused by situations that are outside of my control. I decided to get realistic and built all of that into my fee. Everything I knew that I could anticipate that was going to create more work was something I was going to charge for and I was going to adjust my fee to include.
I challenge you to do two things. One is to set a number that you want to earn and then figure out your benchmarks on how to get there. Number two is to look at all of the fees that you are charging right now because if you’re not earning enough, you’re probably undercharging on pretty much all of your cases. Take a look, case by case, to determine if you are charging the right fees.
You may feel resistance to this. You may feel like you don’t want to raise your prices, but I encourage you to really look at your fees in a holistic way and ask yourself, “How can I provide more value to my client? What value am I providing right now, and how can provide even more by raising my fee?”
I hope you take this advice to supercharge your life and supercharge your earnings by determining how much you want to make, and then making sure you get there through your benchmarks and through your case fees!