I have watched the unions in turmoil as they battle for the wages of their members, but when we are self-employed how can we decide what pay we should have? The fact is that when you are self-employed your customers will judge your value and will only pay what they consider you are worth. If it takes you ten hours to make a rustic chair, when you fail to sell it for £200 and have to take £100, then you are worth £10 per hour. If you can make a living at that, that is fine, but you have to understand how you can increase that value.
It drives me crackers when people start small businesses and tell me that their competitive advantage is that because they work alone they can be cheap! So, do you think Beethoven would do you a cheap symphony because he works alone? Would Raymond Blanc do you some cheap catering for your daughter’s wedding because he works alone? You can bet they wouldn’t. So what makes you different? You might say that the two gentlemen I have just mentioned are famous so that is the first thing, start building your personal brand, but then again they are famous for the quality of what they produce. So is what you are doing the very best? When you compare yourself to your larger competitors, are you as slick, professional and as well presented as they are? If you are, you should be charging at least as much as they do if not more – remember you are a finite resource and hopefully an expert in what you do. If you are not getting that sort of money, it is either because you are not as good as you could be or worse you lack the self-confidence to charge what you are genuinely worth. Get your offer right, make your product or service the best, and then have the courage to charge the correct price.