Working in a client-centered field, my primary concern is generally the well being and satisfaction of the individuals I work with. I want to make sure that their needs are met, that they are happy with the services they receive, and that they will continue to return in the future. I try to be reasonable, fair, and understanding in all of our dealings, taking into account the human side of my work. At the end of the day though, I have to remember that I am running a business and that I have to take care of myself and my needs. I have to take care of myself financially so that I can continue to keep my doors open and provide the same level of services my clients are used to receiving.
I have to remind myself:
This is not only my passion, but my profession, my company, my livelihood.
When figuring out how much I’m going to charge my clients, how much I want to pay my employees, how much I’m willing to pay in rent, I have to take a moment for reflection.
What is my bottom line? What do I need to be paid? Am I making a profit? Do I want to be able to take a vacation this year? How many hours am I willing to work to make this happen? What work can someone else do? How many hours am I actually working and what am I getting paid for?
After asking that crucial series of questions, I can start to develop my rates and policies. I start to value myself and my services more and feel more justified in all of my practices. It is easy to get caught up in worrying what everyone else thinks and lose track of what is important to you.
STOP! Take a second a value yourself! YOU are a leader, a professional, and a critical part of your clients’ lives. You cannot do what is best for them if you aren’t doing the best for yourself.
If valuing yourself and your services more means raising rates, charging for missed lessons, hiring an employee to take on part of your load, paying yourself more, or anything else, DO IT! Do what it takes to make your work work for you.