Price vs value. We work with a lot of small business owners – entrepreneurs who have made the commitment both financially and emotionally to jump into turning their passion into a full-time career or venture.

And we often hear:

How can I compete with the people who undercharge?
How can I make an income to support my family when dabblers are creating an undervalued industry?

We see it everywhere, from home renovations, to plumbing companies, personal trainers and photographers, graphic designers, web developers – even our own industry.

And we can only offer these suggestions.

1. Don’t lower your price to meet the expectations of people who will buy based on price. Remember that your product is a specialty product, regardless of what it is. Unless you sell toilet paper, not everyone SHOULD be able to afford you. And there is no way you should be willing to work for less than you are worth.

2. Educate. Use every medium possible to share with consumers WHY you are valuable, why your product should be valued, and what to look for when deciding value.

3. Decide on your niche and stick with it. Don’t get lost in the trap of taking every single opportunity offered. You know what you’re good at. You know what you want to be doing. Always have that in your mind when considering opportunities.

4. Check your ego. This one’s hard – because you love your business. But always elevate – don’t ever stoop. If you see a sideways attack, don’t be reactive. Be solid with your messaging, proactively address potential problems, and stay positive. ALWAYS. Your actions will eventually rise above the others.

5. Wait it out. Keep your nose to the grind. Have a plan, stick with it, and don’t waver. Dabblers ALWAYS disappear because they have no real stake in the game. Consistency is key.

6. Conversely, be ready to adapt. If you are doing everything mentioned above, and you’re losing every sale, then you actually MAY be overpriced.

There’s nothing easy about being self-employed. Your boss is probably a slave driver and forgets to eat because deadlines need to be met. But congratulations on getting this far – it’s a rare breed to be willing to try to make a living without a security net. Now go pour another cup of coffee and get back to work!