Sweet, sweet aunt Hilda. She always means so well: has the butterscotch candies stocked and is ready to teach you needlepoint whenever you ask. But you tell her you’re running a business, and suddenly she becomes an expert on how you should do it– and FYI you’re doing it wrong. Your prices are too high. No one wants a CEO with tattoos so you should cover them up. People USED to do it this way, so you’ll probably fail if you try a different thing.
The problem with all this well-meaning advice? SHE DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT IT, bless her.
Neither does your boyfriend. Or your neighbor peeking over the fence (literally, hi Wilson, mind ya biz).
9 times out of 10, you’ll ask your inner circle for feedback on your business and they’ll tell you your prices are too high and that no one will ever buy from you (the other 1 out of 10 is my own mother, who casually tells us to raise our prices like, every other week. I think she just wants us to keep buying tiny baby clothes we can all coo over, but that’s neither here nor there).
It’s not that they want you to fail, exactly. What your inner circle is really telling you when they give misguided advice is that they don’t understand what you’re doing and want you to play it safe so they’ll feel safer too. Which is why it is so so so deeply and vitally crucial that when your boyfriend or mom or favorite coworker tell you that your prices are too high and no one will buy, you SMILE POLITELY AND IGNORE THEM.
We LOVE getting feedback on our business plan and tweaking our direction, but I’d rather discuss the Muslim Brotherhood with our racist uncle on Thanksgiving than hear his thoughts on why we should never charge over $100 for a photoshoot.
People you SHOULD take advice from:
-Mentors in your industry who are living the kind of life and running the kind of business you want
-The market in general, as you tweak your offerings and pricing and listen closely to what it’s telling you
-The people who are paying your bills (aka your clients), when you ask for feedback
-Us, duh (unless you think our advice is bullshit, in which case, DO YOU– we’ll still be happy when you succeed)
As for everyone else with an opinion about how you should do it? In the immortal words of Mariah Carey, “I don’t know her!”
They start in the cradle, these narratives about money: everyone grows up with their very own money story, rooted in the things our parents told us about finances, implicitly or explicitly, deeply based on our own unexplored fears, and most often with a verrrrry tenuous relationship to reality. You have enough working through your own money stories to do to worry about other peoples’ too. Women, I’m looking at you specifically: we tend to default to a place of fear rather than of abundance. We’re subtly taught that we should play small, play nice, play quietly. The quicker we can abandon that lame-ass script the better– including absorbing other people’s fear surrounding money.
It would be so damn easy to wake up tomorrow feeling shaky as hell, get scared, lower your prices drastically, and lose all momentum. Do you have to slowly build to certain price ranges? Of course. But the market will polish and perfect you as you go– and you have to let that process happen. And remember that just because your parents, boyfriend, or even YOU wouldn’t pay your prices, doesn’t mean they aren’t thoughtful and perfect for the market you’re working in.
And all of that means we 100%, no questions asked, thank you but no thank you, cannot let our inner circle dictate the terms for our business. It’s not that aunt Hilda doesn’t want the best for you– on the contrary, she wants you to be safe. Which is why you have to nod in a friendly if wild-eyed manner, thank her for her advice, and ignore it forever.
Because this is YOUR circus– go boldly tame your own lions.
PS. Are you struggling with finding the right words to take your business to the next level? Does writing a sales page, a client email, or a contract freak yo’ shit out? Have we got something for you– and we’re announcing it here on March 4. Stay tuned, toots.