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My Number One Piece of Business Advice (Non-Business Owners This Applies To You Too!)

September 9, 2016

I’ve always been told that I come off as a pretty intense person. I’m a deeply passionate human who also happens to be incredibly vocal. The combo leads to some pretty intense vibes or as my third-grade teacher preferred, bossy.

There have been times in my life when I’ve been ashamed of this trait or suppressed my urge to speak my mind, but even though it isn’t always the most admirable quality, it has absolutely been an asset in business.

I’m often asked how I quickly grew The Healthy Maven from a hobby to a business. How I was able to bring in a 6-figure salary in an industry that just barely exists.

My answer is always the same:

Know your value.

My best business advice for newbie entrepreneurs

When I first quit my full-time job to run THM, I didn’t go into it full-force. I leveraged the skills I had built from The Healthy Maven to land a part-time gig managing social for a healthy food start-up. Eventually I took on freelance food photography opportunities to bring in more income before transitioning fully into a sponsorship-focused model as my numbers grew.

I see this all the time in business where people think they will start earning money once they reach a certain level. That once you reach 100k page views or 50k subscribers that suddenly the money will come flowing in.

Spoiler alert: it won’t.

The best lesson I’ve learned from being a bossy business lady is to know your value NOW. What can you offer NOW? What is your value worth to others and how can you leverage it to build a business?

And please don’t tell me you don’t have value. We all offer some kind of value. We all have unique experiences that makes us marginally more intelligent than the next person. It’s in this gap that you find your value.

Getting clear on what your value is will also make running a business infinitely clearer. Perhaps most importantly, it will make the ever so important lesson of “saying no” easier.

My best business advice for newbie entrepreneursMy intensity- or my bossiness– has made me very good at saying no. And I think this has contributed largely to the success of The Healthy Maven. I know my value and I won’t work for anything less than it. I also see the value in my readers (you guys!) and I would never want to compromise this relationship. This means saying no far more often then I say yes.

It pains me when I hear fellow business-owners (oftentimes women) chattering with others about what they should charge. I totally get it for gaging market baselines, but so many of them are afraid to ask for the number they feel they deserve. Their fear is that by asking they will lose the opportunity.

But here’s the real kicker, if you spend all your time working for less than what your worth, you will never have the time to grow your business. Especially if there is only one of you and to my knowledge, only 24 hours in a day.

As with any piece of advice, it comes with a caveat. I didn’t just decide what to charge and what my value was out of thin air. I put in the work. If you expect to graduate and demand a 6-figure salary on the way home from convocation, then you are in for a rude awakening. Same goes for newbie freelancers. You’re gonna have to hustle and sometimes (not all the time!) you’re going to have to work longer and harder for less than what you believe you’re worth. But what comes out of this is experience, and experience increases your value.

Value doesn’t just mean money. Value also means respect. It means respecting your time, your relationships and your freedom. It means helping out a friend when they’re in need, and saying no because you don’t owe anyone anything. It means taking pride in your accomplishments and knowing when to take a step back to let others shine.

It means understanding your value and not being afraid to demand that it be respected.

Be bossy, be proud and be totally badass.

You are worth it.

My best business advice for newbie entrepreneurs

What business advice would you add? What is YOUR value?

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  • Reply
    Danielle
    September 9, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I love this post and is fortunately something that has really be emphasized by both mentors and my boss – but is still easy to forget! I am looking into doing more communications consulting on the side outside of work – I started just doing some social media and e-news for clients – but am growing it now from there.

    It is so, so easy to charge less just to get more business in essence! But it’s true, in the long run that isn’t really going to help. As much as I know I’m still relatively new to the “consulting” business, I also don’t want to devalue my skills. Thanks for this reminder! 🙂
    Danielle recently posted…27 running mantras & quotes to motivate your next run or race

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      September 9, 2016 at 10:42 am

      of course, lovely! And definitely keep me posted on how it’s going. I am always here to help. You’ve been so helpful to me!!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    September 9, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Love this Davida! You have grown THM into such a great business and all your hard work has paid off. I am working on growing my blog and learning it takes a lot of time, passion, and commitment. It is all worth it though! I am learning when to say no to things that don’t align with my vision or don’t pay. I don’t have the time to be working for others for free right now, especially if I am not passionate about it. Thanks for being such a great influence!
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains recently posted…Cast Iron Skillet Crispy Potato Wedges

  • Reply
    Em @ Love A Latte
    September 9, 2016 at 10:04 am

    You are totally badass!
    Em @ Love A Latte recently posted…Nap Time is My Time: Getting Back In Shape

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen
    September 9, 2016 at 10:46 am

    This post honestly couldn’t have come at a better time. “know your value” — Something I’m still working on but am getting more confident in learning it as well. Thank you alwayysssss for sharing. Ugh, okay… when can I come to Toronto? 😀

  • Reply
    Jill @ RunEatSnap
    September 9, 2016 at 11:03 am

    You are very inspirational! I have a hard time even knowing WHAT to charge for services. Definitely something I need to get better at as I hope to head more into the entrepreneurial route soon! Question – how did you find freelance photography gigs? I would love to do something like that on the side as I try to start my own business. Thanks!
    Jill @ RunEatSnap recently posted…Reach Your Running Goals With the Right Mindset {Guest Post}

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      September 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Sometimes brands approached me and other times it was through networking. I would highly recommend getting active in your entrepreneurial community because people are always looking for photographers!

      • Reply
        Jill
        September 11, 2016 at 6:57 pm

        Thanks Davida!

  • Reply
    Macy @ Paleo Crumbs
    September 9, 2016 at 11:19 am

    This post is beyond AWESOME, Davida!

  • Reply
    dixya @food, pleasure, and health
    September 9, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    while right now i dont do much sponsored content, i would no idea where to even begin…expect a freakout email from me 😛
    dixya @food, pleasure, and health recently posted…5 Things I Learned From A Cooking Class

  • Reply
    Polly
    September 10, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I have been reading your blog for a couple years now and it’s amazing how much it has grown! I’m still learning a lot about blogging and have been approached by a few brands. It’s unbelievable how some brands expect bloggers to promote their products without compensating with money or offering their product for free. Of course I had to reject those opportunities. Although I’m still a new blogger, I feel that my time and value is worth something and I would hate to promote a product that I’m not even familiar with. Anyway, keep up the great work with your blog!
    Polly recently posted…5 Ways to Find Balance Between Work and Life

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      September 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Aw thank you, Polly! I’m thrilled to hear you are learning this lesson yourself. It is not an easy one but gets easier with time! Keep it up!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    September 11, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Such a great post Davida and super inspiring. Knowing your worth is so important and something we all need to remember especially when we go into business 🙂
    I am sure it is something I will explore and learn myself over the next few years 🙂
    Lauren recently posted…Tips To Stay Balanced When You Have a Full Season of Life

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    September 16, 2016 at 11:21 am

    LOVE your carreer advice and business wisdom, and I just plainly love you Davida! 😉
    You are spot on: I have a problem with knowing the value I represent and how much others should or would be willing to pay for it, and I still struggle with being self-confident of knowing my worth. I have a feeling this is something that is a work in progress that will grow stronger with the hours of work and numbers of experience I put in it. Thanks for your encouraging words!!
    Stella @ Stellicious Life recently posted…Blueberry Cheesecake (Gluten and Refined Sugar-free)

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      September 19, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Best way to become confident? Fake it! I’m a huge proponent of fake it till you make it. Suddenly what you’ve been faking becomes your reality!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West
    September 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I love this Davida! I think oftentimes, as women especially, we shy away from the money talk — but to be a successful business owner — you’ve got to be confident. Congrats on all your continued success! 🙂
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…Favorite things: Work make-up, pure white, tanks and good reading

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