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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.
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 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.