Category Archives: Entrepreneurial Asking

Price It Right

You may have started your business for a whole variety of reasons:  flexibility, passion for your mission, totally by accident. But you stay in business for only one:  it makes money. If you don’t make money, you’re out of business. And the key to making money is having the right pricing model.

PriceTag????How do you know you’re pricing properly? First, you need to understand your costs. All of your costs. You need to know how much it’s costing you to do business, so that you know when you are making a profit.

Once you’ve got a handle on your costs, you’ll need to settle on a pricing strategy. Will you price by the project or by the hour? Will you price high or low relative to your competition? Will you price your products separately or bundle them together, or both? Will you mark up (add on a fixed percentage of profit to your costs) each of your products or services at the same rate?

Answering these questions may require you to do some research. What are your competitors charging? Are they charging by the project or by the hour? What are my potential clients willing to pay for these services? If I enter the market at a lower price, will I be perceived as having lower quality? Before finalizing your pricing structure and strategy, it is well worth having as much data as you can about the competition, and, more importantly, about your clients.

Don’t sell yourself or your business short by overlooking the importance of well-thought-out pricing. You’ll end up frustrated and resenting your clients–and that’s never good.



Crank Up Your Courage In An Hour

If you are tired of resenting your clients, or feeling like some kind of a sham for asking for what you’re worth, I hope you’ll join me for 5 Ways to Crank Up Your Courage to Ask for–and Get–What You’re Worth. During our hour together, we’ll cover:

1. Getting Clear on What You Really Want
2. Understanding What You’re Really Worth
3. Identifying What You’re Really Afraid Of
4. 3 Key Strategies You Can Use Right Now
5. How to Build Your Confidence to Get Your True Value…Every Time!

It’s the quickest way to start banishing your asking-for-money fears, and to grab a whole pile of tools to give you the confidence get your business growing.

Book it now…

Simplify Your Life! No Really…Simplify Your Life!

We hear it every day.

“Buy this product/blueprint/system/whatever, and simplify your life!”

Now really, how can buying and having more stuff make your life simpler and easier? I hear it from women all the time, “I have everything I’ve ever wanted, but…

“I don’t have time to enjoy it.”

“I’m more stressed out than ever.”

“I’m still not happy.”

What I’ve discovered is the common misconception that we need more—things, tools, gadgets—to make our lives less complicated. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

I suggest that the road to simplicity is lined with what we cast off or stop doing. And I’d love to see the biggest pile be those items/concepts that enable us to “work more efficiently”. Have you noticed that “work more efficiently” just means “work more”?

Anything that makes your life simpler should pass the following test:

  1. What is my initial gut reaction?
  2. Does it allow me to do more of what I want to do vs. just do more?
  3. Can I afford it? Not only in terms of money, but in terms of time, efficiency and stress?

If the latest gadget, service, consultant, whatever doesn’t pass all three tests—it’s not worth it!

Here’s a way to start simplifying your life TODAY.

Cross one item off your to-do list.

Go ahead, right now. Just cross something off and not think of it again. You can do it. You probably already have at least one item on there that you know you’ll never do anyway. So rather than subject yourself to the daily guilty of carrying it over, get rid of it!

Do this once a week (or once a month, if that’s more comfortable for you), and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much simpler your life becomes. Without buying one more thing.


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A Financial Advisor, A Rabbi and A Women’s Advocate Walk Into A Bar…

Last week I had my annual meeting with my financial advisor. He’s a great guy, really knows his stuff. And believe it or not was a philosophy teacher in his former life. After we go over my numbers (which are doing well, by the way), his new girlfriend, a rabbi, joins us. And the conversation gets interesting.

The philosopher-advisor posits:

I recently read a statement by an economist who suggested that, if we are paid based on our value, then women are obviously providing 78% of the value a man is providing in the same work. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with this statement, but you do have to consider that women take time off to have children, etc.

I rebutted that in countries where parental leave policies are more equal than they are here in the U.S., the time-off argument is much less of an issue. I also stated that many studies have shown that women are much better at multi-tasking at men, so time-in-office shouldn’t be an argument for higher pay. The rabbi quietly agreed. Since this was the first time we had met, I imagine I might have been scaring her a bit with my vehemence.

Advisor-philosopher replied, “OK, but I still don’t think that makes up for a 22% shortfall in equity.”

“You’re right.” I replied. “It’s because most women either don’t know what they’re worth, or they’re afraid to ask for it.”

“Absolutely!” said the rabbi. The three of us then launched into an animated discussion of how to empower women with the data to know what they’re worth and the confidence to ask for it. That’s a story for another day.

Speaking of stories…NPR’s “All Things Considered” had one on just this topic yesterday. Check it out…

Let the No’s Go

Professional woman saying no to an ask
What do you do when someone opts out?

Many professional women in my life have been asking the same question over the last couple of weeks:

What if someone unsubscribes from my list?

The tone of their questions is usually full of fear, like, “Oh my gosh. Some teeny percentage of my list of contacts has decided not to get info from me anymore!” Now I know we all treat each of our contacts with the utmost respect and love, and deliver seriously great service. We feel close to each one of our contacts, like our list is one big family. If one of our contacts opts out of our list, it’s like we’ve lost one of our own.

My good friend and mentor, Nancy Marmolejo over at Viva Visibility, blogged about this very issue a couple of weeks ago:  I Survived a List Purge (You Can Too).  This is what got me thinking about this topic.

Then, I started hearing from a whole bunch of women entrepreneurs:

“I had one person unsubscribe!”

“One of my contacts said they were not interested.”

“What do I do if someone opts out?”

Like Nancy, I say, “Let ’em go!” Focus on those who have made the conscious decision to stay on your list. You will likely never really know why the one person left your list, so don’t waste energy on tracking them down, finding out why they left, and what you can do to get them back. Use that same energy to thank those who have decided to stay, or offer them some bonus piece of information, or just say hi.

I’d love to hear how you, and the professional women you know, feel when one of your contacts opts out. Do you take it personally? Or do you re-focus on the vast majority of your “family” that’s still at home?

March Forth!

Today is March 4th. Which is a homonym for March Forth! Let me make an argument for doing just that.

Awhile back I met a friend and colleague for lunch. We were going to continue a previous discussion about how we might work together. I thought I was so prepared. I had outlined a really cool workshop we could deliver together. Target audiences, key messages, logistics, the whole shebang.

She read it through, put down my masterpiece, and said, “That’s it?” I was crestfallen. This woman and I have literally been talking for years about how we could work together to empower women to change their world.

“That’s it?” I was crushed. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“This is good. But I was thinking we could create a whole program—not just a workshop.”

Anyone (or any fish) can think big!

Oh…she wanted more! She was thinking big; I was thinking small. We spent the next half hour brainstorming what a program might look like, and who our ideal clients would be. We were both excited about our prospects, and had clear next steps to research our market. We are now putting the finishing touches on our program description, and getting it ready to present to potential partners. And I’ve discovered that any program can be broken down into smaller workshops or other products, which doubles our revenue possibilities!

This experience really challenged me to look at my goals and objectives, and my plans for my life and my business. Was I thinking too small about everything? Possibly. But my brain was beginning to hurt. I couldn’t handle thinking bigger about every aspect of my business and my life. But I could deal with a little mind expansion in one area at a time. So, I’m focusing my efforts on this new program (more about this in future post), and on creating a few really powerful ways to work with professional women that fit easily into their lives, schedules and budgets.

Yes, thinking big created a bit more work on my end. But thinking big also created a lot more opportunities—not only for my clients to get mentoring and solutions that work for them, their budgets and their schedules—but for me too. More opportunities to work with women who want to transform their lives and their world by asking for (and getting) the money they deserve; more opportunities to diversify and expand my business. Everybody wins.

Is there an area of your life or your business that you’re thinking too small about?

Today is also National Grammar Day. One way to celebrate is by watching this…

You Don’t Need Money to Support Yourself

You can't (and shouldn't) go it alone

Got your attention, didn’t I?

Of course you need money to support yourself (and anyone else who is depending on you). However you don’t need money to support your Self.

Many of us who ask for money on a regular basis can feel alone:  the solopreneur starting her company, the consultant wanting to grow her business, the nonprofit development director wanting to increase donations. Even I have days when I have not talked to another living being for eight hours. And that’s not good.

We all need support around us. The best kind of support doesn’t have a vested interest in keeping you where you are, but has a true desire to see you where you want to be. I was talking with a colleague this morning, and I offered to share a document I was working on. She sounded surprised that I would do such a thing, especially when we are in the same business. Isn’t that helping the competition?

Nope. It’s empowering others to be successful, and that’s what a true support system is all about. There are lots of ways you can gather support around you. Here are a few of my faves:

  1. Identify the one (or more, if you’re lucky) place where you get unconditional love. It might be your mom’s house, or on the couch with your dog, or online with your best friend who lives hundreds of miles away. The key word here is unconditional. Toot your own horn once in a while, even if it’s just to say, “I got through the day without spilling coffee all over myself”.
  2. Realize that workspace is important. Make sure your desk and/or office feels supportive. Are the colors annoying you? Is your chair uncomfortable? Do you need a better solution for storing papers? Your physical space should also give you unconditional love
  3. Connect with others who are like you. Bounce ideas around, test marketing messages, celebrates successes, ask for advice. Some people call these mastermind groups, business-building clubs, or networking circles. The good news is that it doesn’t matter what you call it, and you don’t even have to do it in person. You can do it on Facebook, Yahoo! Groups, or Ning. Check out the How to Ask for Money Ning Network as an example.

Invest some time and effort in supporting your Self, and soon you’ll be asking for, and receiving, more than enough money to support yourself!

If you’ve found other ideas that have worked for you, post them in the comments section. We can build our own little support system right here…

Do You Need a Super Bowl Ad?

Following our discussion of the words we use to ask for money…

Some of your discomfort around asking for money may come out of the words you’re using. Being less than direct can make you feel like you’re trying to put one over on the person on the other side of the table. You may also be afraid that the words you’re using make you sound (or feel) like a sleazy salesperson.

This fear may actually arise from a lack of self-confidence or self-esteem, and be exacerbated by your discomfort with the words you’re using. Belief in your own value, coupled with deep-down passion about what you’re asking for, allows your own light of confidence to shine through. A clear definition of the value you bring (or the value your organization provides, or the value of your start-up’s idea) is the critical anchor of your request for money.

This logo is a trademark of the National Football League

Let’s use a couple of Super Bowl ads to make this point:’s commercial showed that their service is so valuable they could even help a Beaver Violinist get a job.

Snickers showed their candy bar is valuable enough that it could turn a muddy, football-playing Betty White back into the young male “one of the guys”, and the tagline “You’re not you when you’re hungry” reinforced their message.

Now, if you had enough money to do your own ad, you probably wouldn’t be concerned about building your “ask-for-money” skills. For the rest of you…

Conquer the Fear of Appearing Sleazy by listing the major reason your business idea/cause/consulting practice is important to you. Use your own words–don’t try to take on someone else’s style or phrasing. If the language does not ring true for you, change it. The person on the other side of the table will always sense when you are uncomfortable, and it will make them uncomfortable as well.

Take the time now to get your major reason clear, in your own language, and in your own style. These will become the basis for all of your communications–web pages, social media, email newsletters, brochures, business plans, etc. Make yourself comfortable, and your audiences will be comfortable too.

What Are You Asking For?

Now, those of you that know me well may have read the title of this post with a New Yawk accent, and a slightly obnoxious attitude. Like, “Whaddya askin’ for?” And expecting it to be followed closely by, “Who wants to know?” You would be wrong.

I simply mean to get you to think about exactly what you are asking for. Especially when you’re asking for money.

Pile of dollar bills
Don't you really want to ask for this?

There are lots of words for money. Here in the US, we sometimes call it “moolah”, “Benjamins”, “bucks”, and “greenbacks”. We also know that when we hear those words, the speaker is referring to a pile of paper legal tender. Too often, we are way less clear when we are actually asking for some of the stuff.

We ask for “support”. We ask for “resources”. We ask for “assistance”. If we’re being slightly less nebulous, we ask for “funding”. Or we ask for “investment”. When was the last time you actually used the word “money” when you were asking for money?

Much of this obliqueness (is that even a word?) comes from our fears and discomfort around money. We’re not supposed to talk about money. We’re not supposed to ask other people about their money. We’re not supposed to volunteer how much money we make or have in our bank accounts. Why do we have these fears? Too many hypotheses to put into this post. Suffice it to say that most of us have some fear or discomfort around talking about money.

Well, here’s a new hypothesis for you. How about asking for exactly what you want?

I just heard all of you gasp.

What, you don’t want to ask that investor to actually write a check? You don’t want to tell the potential donor you need her to give you money? You’re uncomfortable asking a client to pay you dollars commensurate with the value you provide?

Pile of old computers
How do you feel when you think you're asking for money, and you get stuff like this?

Look at the flip side. Should you be frustrated when the investor wants to trade stock in her company for stock in yours? Would you happy if the potential donor gave you her nasty old office furniture instead of cash? Does your work suffer if you’re secretly thinking, “they aren’t paying me enough”?

Be clear about what you want. It makes it much easier for people to give it to you.

If you’re still uncomfortable using words like money, cash, dollars, income, revenue and profit, you might want to check out my special report: 10 Biggest Fears Professional Women Have Around Asking for Money…and How to Conquer Them! You can get it by filling out the form on the right.

Or, get yourself the newly-released How to Ask for Money Quickstart Program. Three powerful tools to help you overcome your fears, embrace your leadership qualities and ask for—and get—the money you deserve.

Solid Advice on Asking…From “American Idol”?

As much as it may pain me to admit it here, I watch “American Idol“. I enjoy living vicariously through the candidates (the ones who get through to Hollywood, of course!), and listening to the comments from the judgeAmerican Idols. Every so often there is a great nugget that can be used by the vast majority of us who will never be in the Top 12 (or 14, or 150…).

Last night, two such nuggets came from my (usually) least favorite judge, Kara DioGuardi. First, she was commenting on the former-Barney-kid-turned-dominatrix who sang an En Vogue song, Erica Rhodes. What she liked about the performance was that this woman was completely and totally herself. Erica fully embraced and embodied her desire to be viewed as a true grown-up, not just a grown-up Barney kid. Oh yeah, and she could sing. The point is, the skill took a back seat the fact that Erica fully believed in herself.

Kara’s second important statement of the evening was directed at Christian Spear. This 16-year-old is an 8-year cancer survivor, who blew through Etta James’s, “All I Could Do Was Cry”. After the other members of the judging panel sang the praises of Christian’s skill, Kara said (something like), “You performed utterly without fear. Your confidence is amazing in a person of your age.”

Erica and Christian had less than a minute to get their points across to the judging panel. If Kara can pick up on their inner confidence (and, presumably, other contestants’ lack of confidence) in that short a time, don’t you think that your prospects can get the same vibe from you? The point?

Skills are noticed second to confidence level and the performer’s belief in herself. Does your belief in yourself match up to your skills?