We all have those days in our business when our self-confidence is a little shaky. But what if that’s happening on a regular basis? How could it affect your business growth? And what can you do to overcome those feelings of unworthiness that might keep you from upleveling?
The struggle with self-worth in business
First of all, why might you feel unworthy in business? Often it’s tied to a belief that we have to achieve something to be worthy, but this is not true at all. Worthiness is the belief that you are loveable and valuable just because you are. It’s not attached to any specific result nor any physical or intellectual attribute. Just by being alive, you’re worthy already! There are no prerequisites. You are enough, just as you are. Every person is worthy no matter what, and with focus and aligned action, anyone can achieve what they want to.
We’re constantly getting thousands of messages in our daily lives that can lead to us feeling unworthy. Through social media, colleagues and contemporaries that we see in business and even from our own minds. Because we give meaning to those messages. Unfortunately, most of the time, we give them a meaning that doesn’t serve us and stops us from making progress towards what we really want.
Let’s talk about how to recognise some of the signs that feeling unworthy could be stopping you from getting the results you want in your business
Procrastinating on key business tasks
If you notice yourself constantly putting things off in your business, this could indicate that your self-esteem needs a little work. And we’re not talking about the smaller (but still important!) tasks like doing your bookkeeping or fixing that broken link on your website. This is about procrastinating on the activities that you know will bring key results for your business.
Feeling uncomfortable with visibility
As an introvert, I totally get the feeling of being uncomfortable with the visibility that comes with promoting your business. There are so many ways you can do this, and it’s important to find the method that suits you best. But you need to communicate your message and make sure that people know exactly how you can help them. Otherwise, they’ll never get the chance to become your clients!
Never asking for the sale
That leads nicely into avoiding “asking for the sale.” You know, when you’re speaking to potential clients, and you don’t proactively ask if they are interested in working with you? I’m not saying you need to sell, sell, sell all the time, but sometimes we need to be clear about asking people if they’re ready to move to the next stage with us.
Striving for perfection
Perfectionism can lead to overcomplicating things in your business and keeping you stuck. It goes without saying that we have certain standards, and we are professionals. But there is a difference between having those high standards and being a perfectionist, which can just be a mask for that feeling of not being “good enough.”
Lack of boundaries
Are you always available for your clients, reacting to whatever they ask for in the moment rather than working within your established processes? Working in this way may well give you the boost of feeling “needed” by your client, but not sticking to your boundaries or never creating them in the first place is another red flag that you’re feeling unworthy in your business and can lead to you feeling resentful, overworked and frustrated.
If you need more help with this specific issue, you might like to read my posts on a process for setting boundaries with new clients and how to establish boundaries with existing clients without feeling guilty.
Pricing and positioning off-target
This can show up in a few different ways in your business. Perhaps you’ve chosen a more accessible price point and target market instead of positioning yourself as a high-end provider. You might be charging for the time you put in rather than the value you’re providing, meaning that to double your fees, you have to work twice as much as you are right now.
Or maybe it’s a straightforward case of undercharging and overdelivering for your clients. These are all signs that feeling unworthy is clouding the decisions you make in your business.
Let me ask you a question...
From the red flags I’ve mentioned above, you can see that what we’re talking about here is any sort of self-sabotaging action. Things that prevent you from achieving the results in your business that deep down, you know you could create.
So let me ask you something. If I told you that I have five people interested in working with you right away who are ready to pay you three times your current fees, how would you react? Would you feel like it wasn’t possible? Or do you think you’d feel guilty? Would you be afraid you were ripping your clients off?
Really consider that for a moment – this is so important. Be honest with yourself. Would you be happy, confident and ready to accept those clients right away? Or would you be uncomfortable and stressed out, feeling nervous that those clients won’t get the results that they should?
Results are not a 100% game
Something I see so often in female business owners is that they don’t increase their prices because they are afraid that clients won’t get the results they’re paying for. But we need to look at this from another perspective. If you’re a coach or service provider, it’s so important that you communicate to your client the deliverables of your offer or the transformation they will undergo as a result of working with you.
If you are a well-established business owner with a track record of helping dozens of clients, you already have a system in place to do that. Even if you don’t realise it, or it’s not formally documented, for every client, you go through a process to help them achieve a specific result. And despite the steps being the same each time, it’s inevitable that some clients will get better results than others.
When we start working together, one of the first things I tell my clients is that this is not a 100% game. What do I mean by that? Of course, I’m giving 100% into the process, but equally, I expect my clients to put their 100% in as well. It’s a 200% game.
However, if you are experiencing some of those feelings of unworthiness that we’ve talked about so far, you may end up feeling that you and only you are responsible for your clients getting what they want from your work with them. And this can really be a problem because to keep yourself safe, you’ll stay stuck at a certain level in your business.
You are not solely responsible for your clients’ results. You have a process in place that means you can deliver your 100%, but without your clients being equally committed to achieving their desired transformation and putting in their share of the effort, it just won’t work.
Don’t “charge what you’re worth”
I mentioned misaligned pricing and positioning above, which is one of the more damaging consequences of a lack of self-worth in business. Many female business owners think that the price they charge correlates with their value. This is not the case. I often hear people advising business owners to “charge what you’re worth.” I have to admit, I used to be one of those people due to some well-meaning advice from a previous mentor.
We cannot charge what we are worth. Each of us is priceless. What we can do is charge according to the value that we’re delivering, or even better, taking into account the value that our client is receiving. But I want to specify here that those can be very different numbers.
You get to choose your clients - choose wisely
From your perspective, your service might be worth 5k. But let’s look at it from your clients’ point of view. Clara might value those results at 10k, while from Lisa’s perspective, exactly the same service is worth 15k.
One of the advantages of being a business owner is that we decide who we’d like to work with. So if we are working in a smart way, we’ll make sure to have lots of “Lisas” as our clients, and we’ll be charging with integrity because Lisa values our services at that 15k rate. She has free will to hire us or not; that’s her choice.
But if you’re struggling with the false belief that you’re not worthy, you may self-sabotage both your success and your opportunity to build wealth. You might have lots of excuses why you can’t raise your prices. “I just want to do one more certification or enroll in another 2k course.” But once the program or the certification is complete, you’ll find yourself still procrastinating; only now you’re even more frustrated and confused than before you enrolled in that new course.
How can you boost your self-worth?
So what can you do to feel worthy in your business? The easiest way to start is to remind yourself every single day that you are worthy.
Another thing that helps boost your self-worth is to know yourself really well, both your strengths and weaknesses. Then accept yourself completely as you are. Knowing that no matter how good or bad you are at anything and everything, you are worthy. You don’t have to prove your worth.
Finally, I would like to share a change in perspective that might help you move forward if you’re struggling with feelings of unworthiness in your business. Instead of paying attention to yourself and how you’re feeling, focus on your client and the value they will gain from your services.
So now, let me ask you again. If I told you that I have five people interested in working with you right now who are ready to pay you three times your current fees, how would you feel? I would love to hear your responses.