You Can’t Price Yourself When You Have No Self-Worth

During our recent class, Make More Money and Discover Your Worth with Sue Bryce and Tiffany Angeles, Sue said something about pricing yourself that really shook me to my core.

As she spoke about how difficult it was for her to define her value as a photographer in the beginning, she said, “I had so much guilt and shame around receiving money, that I couldn’t price myself.”

As a freelancer myself, this really articulated a deep feeling that I’ve had from time to time, but was never really able to place a clear label on.


When you’re a freelancer or service provider of any kind, there comes an inevitable point during the beginning stages of starting your business, where you need to define what you’re worth.

Whether that means setting your hourly rate or setting a rough price range that’s more project-based for your various different service offerings, pricing yourself is never easy.

I’d run through all of these existential questions in my head.

What if I’m leaving money on the table?

What if I’m charging way too much?

Can I actually charge the same prices as all these other experienced freelancers?

What happens most often with people who are new to freelancing or selling their services, is that they price themselves similarly to what they see out in the marketplace. This is exactly what I did my first time freelancing, too. We do this because well, it seems pretty logical on the surface.

But as Sue explains in more detail during her class, it’s this exact thought process that leads so many service providers to suffer with painfully low rates, not enough work, or even going out of business as quickly as they got started. Watch below.

Never Price Yourself at Market Value: Go Higher

I had to learn this pricing lesson the hard way.

The first time I tried to start a freelance business, I priced myself to be competitive with all of the other writers and marketers on sites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour. However, as conversations picked up with potential clients on these platforms, I started to notice a trend with how all of these pricing negotiations were going: these clients were all looking for a deal.

They were the bargain hunters. What I didn’t realize at the time, is that by pricing myself at market value for my services, I was unintentionally attracting the bargain hunters.

These are precisely the types of clients you should avoid if you want to build a brand and create a business that can grow with you for the years to come.

Instead of focusing your client negotiations around the value you’re going to deliver, by starting at a market value price point, you make your services – whether it’s shooting portraits, writing blog posts, designing infographics, or otherwise – a complete commodity.

Commodities aren’t respected the same way that premium goods & services are.

Instead of being a valuable service-provider, you’re now viewed as simply a means to an end for your clients. A way for them to get your finished product. Sue talks a lot more about this concept of how to set prices based on the value you create for your clients in her class.

Watch Make More Money and Discover Your Worth for much more on how to charge prices that help you thrive, not just survive.


Ryan Robinson FOLLOW >

Content marketing consultant to the world's top experts and growing startups. Online educator at where I share business advice and teach entrepreneurs how to start a blog and other side businesses. Check out my post on the best business ideas, read about how I validated a business idea in just 30 days, get my recommendations for the best business books, and check out my favorite motivational quotes.