Everyone has become a victim of ‘it’ once in their life, probably as early as applying for your first job (I can still remember mine vividly!).
‘It’ has most likely happened more than once throughout your career to get ‘that promotion’.
Chances are it might happen again because you have opened that door before!
It is an every-day-phenomenon that professionals and individuals alike are easily ready to undersell their qualifications, skills and experience. And a big chunk of their satisfaction level along the way, as underselling yourself is not really something anybody enjoys doing (at least that’s what I believe). It does not assist the process of building up healthy confidence levels and/or keeping focused on succeeding as a freelancer. Particularly not when you’re also trying to run a business you would like to last and when you are counting yourself to that circle of people on this planet who do actually like paying their bills.
We know that it is not right to let other people undersell your skills. We all know we should not support it. Sadly, we also know that it does happen all the time – and we know why (most of the time).
Yes, it’s hard when you’re just starting out or if you don’t have that many clients, especially in the world of Virtual Assistance, which still is a concept not fully comprehended by the outside world. And when people don’t have a clear understanding of something, unfortunately tend to underestimate/undervalue the work involved as they cannot comprehend what it takes to get the job done.
Then there is this species of client, who secretly start exploiting the work relationship slowly through the backdoor (Hello! Scope creep) and/or are threatening of going to a cheaper provider in the first place. Fair enough, we all like a bargain, and truth is, I’m a repeat offender of hunting bargains myself, but I do know though that bargains do not necessarily mean quality – and that’s where people start getting things mixed up.
If a client starts comparing or questioning you straight off, it is most likely the moment you should read the signs and move on, as it rarely gets better. Respect, remember? I’ve been there, I’ve explained and ‘defended’, but even if you find common ground initially, it will catch up with you down the track. There is a very fine line explaining your rates to somebody, who would like to understand and who listens, or somebody who is simply after a bargain or cheap trade-off. Chances are that if somebody ignores value over price, they most likely wouldn’t have brought the necessary ethics and mutual respect of a healthy business-relationship to the table anyway. Luckily, there are not too many of those around – and you’ll learn to scout them easily in the course of your work!
Let me be a bit more specific (now, so EVERYBODY can understand):
If you’d see an ad for a dentist who offers his services on a discount rate of $25 Dollars, chances are that your imagination would take you to very strange places, men with a dusty aprons and a toolbox at best. You’d probably turn on your heel and quickly try to forget about the horrific ‘Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ – unless you are VERY desperate…..
Would you ask for a discount at your local supermarket or at your favourite restaurant with great service and fantastic food provided? If so, you’re a very, very bad person and should go and hide in your dark corner.
A bargain is one thing but we need to understand the difference or relationship between quality and price:
If you want quality, you have to be prepared to pay a little more – very helpful, for instance, for the local plumber who’s supposed to do some ‘sewage control’ around your house! You’d like to be on the good side there….
If you’re going after the price, you’ll have to expect to get what you paid for, which is perfectly fine if you’re after party needs with a life span of one day. Or plastic flowers for the date you do not really want to stay long on. Or if you have too much money to spend, are slightly cuddling the border of insanity and enjoy paying more in the long run by having to correct bad results. OR: you are VERY desperate and have no money to spend but are accepting the consequences this decision might bring.
We’ve all been there and tried to cut corners somewhere in the course of our lives. We know that it rarely pays off. Or that it is ethical in some instances. Or beneficial to anybody involved. We all have cut ourselves short at one stage but it is life-saving as a service provider that you DO trust into your skills, experience and the quality you bring to the table.
There are, of course, exceptions such as pro-bono or lower rate projects for exposure, or simply because you’d like to help and believe in the cause at hand – in such cases, go for it!!! We believe in karma and giving for the greater good.
But always remember: it’s all about the choices we make. If you have to say ‘No’ in some cases, it might be to your own benefit: sometimes one door has to shut for a more prosperous one to open!