Women Business Owners: How Being "a Good Girl" Rips You Off
I'm going to say something that might shock you: being "a good girl" can seriously rip you off.
How can this be? Aren't we trained that the way to get what we want in life is to be "nice" and our patience will be rewarded?
Let's be honest. It still works that way in our personal lives but as a small business owner it can and usually does rip you off big time.
I'm not suggesting you be rude, pushy or obnoxious in business with people. Nothing can be worse. I'm suggesting you stop apologizing and stop making allowances for the fact that you're a woman in business.
As a marketing trainer for a very large seminar program I coached over 1,200 men and women in marketing during a five year span. I began tracking the startling differences between men and women when it comes to getting the word out and how they run those businesses. Most women dislike marketing and selling so much that they will do almost anything to avoid it. They will even lower their rates for their products and services way below the going rate to avoid it. Many women smile brightly and say, "I just wanted to be nice" but that decision to lower rates impoverishes her in the long run.
Women who own a service-oriented business charge less (much less) than most men with similar skills and experience. Over and over I've heard that lame explanation, "I just want to be nice." But it rips you off. Why? Because in the world of business when you don't charge the going rate for your services you are not thought of as "nice" instead you are thought of as "not as good." Something must be wrong or of course you would charge the prevailing rate for your time. And, when you are thought of as "not as good" there's a very good chance you will attract less than ideal clients and customers.
The truth is most of these women are so uncomfortable marketing and selling themselves they mistakenly believe if they charge a lot less they won't have to get the word out because people will be attracted by lower prices. What's even tougher to acknowledge is that often women are not even charging enough for their highly skilled services to cover basic business expenses and overheads.
But women who sell themselves short get caught in the squeeze when they go to pay their bills at the end of the month. After all, you can't say, "Gee, I'm really nice person and I charge about half of what I should to my clients and customers. Would you give me a discount?" Of course you're caught in the middle working harder than ever and still struggling.
Why do we do this as women?
″ We hate getting the word out and marketing and selling the idea of being "pushy" or "too strong" holds us back from telling others how good we truly are at what we do.
″ We come from a long tradition of being seen as "nice" for giving away our time and efforts. After all we're the ones more likely to volunteer in the community at the PTA, library, hospital or place of worship
″ We confuse business with philanthropy. Let's get it straight: business is about making money in exchange for goods or services we provide to our paying customers. Philanthropy is about non-profit organizations whose purpose is giving money and services away to others in need.
In my myth-shattering book "Testosterone-Free Marketing" the secrets regarding why we hold ourselves back and what to do about it are revealed. When you feel more confident and believe in your worth you will charge what's fair and in line with the marketplace rather than falling into the good girl trap that keeps you struggling.
One of the things I discuss in my book is having "a sense of entitlement." This means you believe at your very core that you deserve to enjoy successful and create money and prosperity with your business efforts. Many women instead believe it's more important and noble to "feel good" about what they do. They define feeling good as giving it away. I believe you can charge fairly for what you do AND feel good. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Consider if being "good" is ripping you off or holding you back. Increasing your confidence level and your marketing savvy can be the two biggest things you do to enjoy more success and prosperity this year.
About The Author
Denise Michaels, author of "Testosterone-Free Marketing: the Yin and Yang of Marketing for Women" can can be emailed most quickly at DeniseMM@helloworld.com She's a published author, speaker, coach and has over two decades of small business marketing experience. Her book can be purchased at her website by clicking on "Get the Book!"