My sense is this might hit some nerves and be controversial to some, but it’s an interesting topic to me so I’m just going to throw this out there:
People have a lot of ambivalence, guilt and negative associations around money. There are so many hot buttons it touches on including issues of self-worth and confidence, conformity, peer pressure, social class, even religion and spirituality.
We need it, but feel somewhat shameful about that.
We need it, but feel guilty charging well (or even properly).
Some people are ashamed if they have too little.
Others feel guilty if they have too much.
Some think those who have a lot of it are inherently evil or came about it dishonestly.
Then there are those in the world who have so little personal self-esteem and wholeness that they gauge their worth (and the worth of others) based on how much of it they have.
I’m human. I’m not immune to some of these pitfalls. I sometimes feel guilty charging. I sometimes play down instead of helping people rise to the occasion and take responsibility for themselves and their circumstances. That doesn’t help, it only keeps people playing small.
What’s the alternative? We become monks or go live in a yurt and divest ourselves from needing or wanting money or enjoying any material pleasures so no one can say we are bad or evil or selfish?
We see how poverty affects people and communities in the world in all its manifestations: violence, crime, disease, addiction, unwanted children, suffering, exploitation, limited life options and choices… any number of things.
In this world, we need money to live. We need money to thrive. To have choice. Heck, just to take good care of ourselves, our loved ones and give our kids options and opportunities in life.
With money, we can do more good in the world and help more people because we have more resources, opportunities and abundance available to us.
With more money, we can share more.
With more money, there is more ease and less struggle. This leaves you room for more high-minded thoughts and endeavors that can actually change the lives of others.
It’s difficult (if not impossible) to do those things when you are living a hard-scrabble life just trying to survive and scratch out an existence. There’s nothing left for anyone or anything else.
And you certainly are not helping clients if you are struggling financially because that struggle keeps you distracted, preoccupied, unfocused and (let’s be honest), unhappy in a lot of ways.
Back in the day, I used to be more involved with artistic types of people. You’ve heard the term starving artist, I’m sure. They always had grand ideas, but never the money to execute or sustain. The things they did start would inevitably fail and fizzle in short order because they wanted everything to be free and felt guilty charging. So many of them literally feel they are being sell-outs if they charge or earn a good living from their art, that it’s only art if they suffer and live an impoverished life.
And I’ll tell you what I always told them:
The BEST thing you can do for these people and ideas and the art you love so much is TO CHARGE PROPERLY and make money. You will not be around long enough to have any impact or do any good and keep something going if you don’t bring in the money.
If you want to create something that lasts, that’s going to stick around for a good long while for people to enjoy and benefit from, you’ve got to charge and make money and be profitable. With more money, you can live an even more interesting life, have even more valuable, interesting, mind-expanding experiences and personal growth that you can bring to your art and share with others.
Money is not a dirty word. Money is a tool.
I have so many questions on this topic:
What kind of feelings do you have around money and charging and earning well? Is guilt around money something that’s been a problem for you? What other kinds of feelings and emotions do you have around money?
If you are stuck in poverty-mindset, what kind of clients do you think you are attracting? What do you think holds you back from earning and/or charging better? Do you lack the conversation skills to command the kind of fees you’d like to charge?
What kinds of things do you need money for? How do you see having more money and earning better improving your life, your family’s life and the lives of your clients and others?