March 09 2021 – Jamie Blahun
We are living in a day where it has never been easier to start a small business from home. That is great news for me. And it might be great news for you too. The opportunities are honestly endless!
If you have an idea and you want to generate an income for yourself/your family, there is no good reason you can’t join the ocean of people doing just that.
I am just one small fish in that big ol’ sea BUT in almost 5 years I have most definitely learned some very important lessons about being a startup online and I think this principle is worthy of being my first ever blog post.
Deciding what you are worth.
It may not seem like it at first, especially in the beginning when compromise for the sake of sales is often a big temptation, but this will become a huge part of defining your business and building your foundation so let’s start there.
1. You are not a yard sale (unless of course you actually are lol).
But you are not a yard sale. What I mean is - decide quickly that you are not in the barter business.
YOU set your price and unless YOU change that price- that is the price. I say this because it’s one of the first things I had to decide to trust myself in. And it was really hard to do but it was key.
I had only sold a couple things (was over the top excited/a bit shocked/mostly excited) when somebody asked me if I would do one of my signs for her for $55 instead of my $60 price tag. Gulp. Okay so your first thought, like mine, might be “seriously-it’s only $5- heck yeah I’ll do it!”
I realized right then that I was in a watershed moment.
When you are starting out the temptation will be to gain customers.
Just to get customers and sales. To validate yourself. The last thing you want to do is do anything that will risk losing even one. Especially over a measly 5 bucks! But believe it or not, that was a big big moment for me. It would have been so easy to say sure, it’s only five dollars for Pete’s sake and I need to think about gaining a customer and not losing one over such a small amount.
But if you are going to gain a customer, you’re going to have to train a customer.
What I mean is, just like in life we teach people how to treat us by what we accept and don’t accept, so we teach our customers/clients what we are and what we are not.
I am not a yard sale.
And trust me I love me a good yard sale! I love to barter and deal! But I wanted to build a business.
I thought long and hard (maybe too long and hard?) but suffice to say it was not a quick decision to land on a price for this $60 sign.
I felt nervous about even landing on it. For some reason - maybe for many reasons- but it is hard to put a value on our creations/services. It just is. But we must do it and when we do it we need to believe in our decisions. I want to insert here that we obviously have to do research and homework on our product or service so we know we are in the ballpark and staying competitive in our space.
But then we put a price on it. And we trust ourselves.
I had considered all things and I believed $60 was fair.
Fair for me and fair for my customer. I always consider both things in business and in life. Win/win.
Did I want that customer when I was just just starting out?? Ummm yeah I did! But little did I know at the time that that little old five dollar bill would be the very thing I built a principle for our entire small business around and to this day it still stands.
I decide my worth.
YOU decide your worth. If you have a quality good or service, believe in yourself enough to stand by it.
If nobody is wanting your service or product do some honest reevaluating to see why it’s not selling.
Is it the quality of your product, price point, lack of promotion or effective photos- what is it? You figure out what it is but YOU decide on what your time and effort is worth to you. For me I decided that if that sign did not sell or was not worth people paying $60 for then it wasn’t worth my time and effort to make. Period. And more importantly, I was not willing to barter. So I said no. I’m not sure if I’ve gotten across what a big deal this was for me yet, but trust me it was big! I was new, there was competition all over the place (as this potential customer so graciously reminded me), I was not exactly confident yet, $55 was nothing to sneeze at!
But I said no. Graciously and politely of course (always graciously) but I still said no. I said, “I totally understand and respect your right to go to *so and so* and save that $5 but I have carefully and fairly priced my items and I’m going to stay firm on the $60.” Y’all!! I can’t tell you how scared and empowered I felt all rolled into one big “yeah baby!” It was not about the $5 (obviously), it was about me deciding what kind of business I wanted to be. Did I lose that sale? Yup I did. And even though I had a tweek of a “bummer” feeling, I mostly felt proud of myself. And that is where your mental check list needs to begin. What kind of business am I going to create? One that I define or that others define? One that I am overwhelmed by all the competition out there in an ocean of online/small businesses, or am I going to focus on what I bring to the table and learn and grow and work hard to be worth that $ amount I am asking regardless of what others are doing? I think by now you know what I did.
Once you value yourself properly then it is time to take the next step and show the world what you’ve got!