Hey fabulous clinicians,
It’s been a while since we spoke about setting your fees in private practice.
And I’ll admit – last time I wrote about this subject, it was a total rant – so today, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of how to decide what to charge…. and why you’re probably not charging enough.
Here’s the punchline:
Your fee says more about you than just how much money you ask for per hour or per session.
Your fee is about your positioning.
Your fee is a statement: “This is what I’m worth. Invest your time and energy in me accordingly”.
Your fee is directly related to how much value people see in your and your services. Which means it is also related to how much people are going to respect you and your expertise.
Here’s how it works:
We all know that people don’t value free and cheap. Sure, they might take you up on your offer… But people don’t invest their time and effort in something when they haven’t got any skin in the game.
Case in point: How much free or cheap stuff have you actually taken the time to implement after you’ve consumed it? How does that compare to an expensive course you’ve bought – I bet you found the time, right?
Let’s talk about “free and cheap” in the context of being a clinician:
In my experience, when I priced myself at the “please will SOMEONE just work with me because I’m really affordable” rate, my expertise as a clinician was questioned.
My opinion was second-guessed by others, and my advice often went ignored.
The issue was that my rate didn’t reflect the way I was trying to position myself in my market.
In my practice, Purple Co, we help people get their lives back. I help people get back to work following injury, illness, and trauma. We’re talking about people that have been through really severe, horrible stuff in their life and they want a solution to the problem: “I need to earn an income to look after myself for the rest of my life. How?”
This is serious stuff. This is life-changing stuff. The service we offer isn’t just “rehabilitation and return to work services”. For the people willing to invest, we are offering transformation.
A low hourly rate does not symbolise transformation to anyone. It does not symbolise the true value of you and what you do.
So what happened for me when I decided to increase my rate, and align it with the positioning I wanted to achieve in my market?
Well, first of all, I felt sick, because increasing your fees is actually a terrifying experience.
Then, something funny happened.
People started taking me more seriously.
People started to invest their time and effort in me. They did the work they needed to do to actually get the results.
Still, there is a big mind-shift involved in taking yourself from being the Kmart of your industry to being more like Prada, and we need to address it.
Side note: please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying to throw away your sliding fee, or to price yourself higher when you’re happy to offer your services at a lower rate or even pro-bono sometimes.
I’m talking about what to do when your fee is not high enough to give you a fulfilling career, business and lifestyle.
Because if you’re not feeling fulfilled, we need to do something about that. If you’re feeling overworked and overwhelmed, we need to talk about helping you get paid what you’re worth.
And you’re worth more than you think you are.
Refer to that bit earlier where I said – you help people get their lives back.
That’s kind of a big deal.
So let’s talk about what will happen for you, if you’re thinking about increasing your fee:
First of all, a whole bunch of weird feelings will pop up for you.
- One of them is abject terror. Then fear. And self-doubt.
Shortly, some some unhelpful thoughts will join the party too:
- “Oh my god, no one would pay X amount for me”
- “How am I ever going to get clients with a rate like that?”
- “I’m not worth more than X”
And… often an unconscious thought that we’re rarely aware of:
- “What if it works out…. and I can’t handle it?”
Objectively, there is nothing to stop you from raising your fee, right now. You just tell people – “hey, this is my fee, starting from this day.”
But reality is not that simple.
Reality IS going to throw all of those invisible mindset and self-worth barriers right in your face when you want to do something that should be simple, but symbolically holds a lot of weight, like increasing your fees.
And it’s probably your sense of self-worth that is holding you back from charging the rate you’d like to charge and finally freeing yourself from the high-volume, low-fee work that is slowly sucking your soul away (or is it just me who feels like that?)
Hmmm.. what unhelpful thoughts have come up for you, if you’ve ever considered charging more than you currently do?
How are they getting in your way?
Is anything objectively stopping you from charging a higher rate, right now?
If the answer is no, and you’re still stuck, check out the 2-day, live masterclass we’re running in October in San Francisco. Why not share a room with a bunch of fabulous clinicians who are ready to bust through some self-limiting barriers once and for all? Also, mojitos. More info about the masterclass here.
I’d love for you to comment below- if you have raised your fee, how did you go about it?
Here’s to your success,