Today’s topic was completely inspired by you all. I asked all of you who are a part of my audience what your biggest challenge is today as a stylist. Overwhelming charging your worth was a huge response. It seems like a lot of you who have taken my Bootcamp really struggled with charging your worth and knowing that you should be charging more. You know that your guests should be paying full price, you know that your time is more valuable than what you are getting for it, yet something inside is making it difficult for you to charge your worth. After the overwhelming response I realized this is something we absolutely need to talk about and together we will overcome the challenge. Now our industry to me is funny because we are so plagued by the innate need to offer discounts, I don’t understand why, I don’t know of any other industry where we almost feel like we are obligated to discount all the people who sit in our chair. There’s a lot of reasons why we do it. There’s emotional discounting, like you feel bad for the person, or you feel the guilt of well this client has been seeing me for 10 years so why should they pay full price. Excuse me. Even if you’ve been seeing the same dentist for 10 years don’t you think they charge you whatever the current going rate is, they aren’t charging you prices from the 80s. No matter how long you’ve been seeing them. We are the only industry that does that kind of crazy stuff, and we have to shut it down. Sometimes we discount out of fear, a lot of times people are scared of their own clients, which is not the type of clientele you want to be working with. Discounting out of fear is a very real thing. Stylists might also discount for lack of confidence or lack of education, we can overcome all these things, but if you don’t have that right mindset about charging your worth, none of it matters. I can give you a great skill set and some quick pro tips, but if your mind isn’t in the right place about it, it is all for nothing.
In this blog I am going to do two things. I’m going to explain why we as hairstylists choose to discount so often. There are 3 reasons why we do it and we’re going to cover all three of them. My ask of you, if to listen to the three reasons why we do it and self-diagnose yourself. You might be all three or maybe a couple of them or maybe just one. I want you to really get to the root of why you continue to discount versus charging your worth. Then we are going to run through an exercise that is going to help you overcome whatever it is your block is so that you can start confidently charging your price, feeling good at the end of the work day, and be able to say that you worked your butt off, but that it was worth it because you made exactly what you are worth.
Whenever I talk about money or discounting I always like to start by giving you the real talk and hard fast numbers, because I think this is where it all really comes to a head and where people have that “oh s***” moment of man I need to figure this out because its crushing my personal life, and not charging my worth is really affecting my take home pay. If you’re a stylist who works four days a week and you see three guests a day, that’s 12 guests a week total. If you discount just $5 a day you often think well that’s no big deal, you’d actually be losing $3,102 a year with that little $5 discount. Five dollars sounds like a whole lot more than five bucks now huh. Here’s another example. If you work four days a week and see three guests a day and you are discounting each $20, you are losing $12,480 a year. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to take a $12,000 pay cut this year. That won’t work for me or my family. I know that sounds extreme, but some of you who are reading this are discounting your clients by as much as $30-$50 a visit, because you are not charging your worth. We are talking about tens of thousands of dollars a year that you could be taking home to support yourself and your family that you are not putting in your own pocket because you’re not charging your worth. That is a big huge problem. I know some of the discounts you are giving are emotional discounts, or even situational discounts, but for some of you you’re not charging your worth because your baseline pricing hasn’t been raised in years, or you don’t know how to price yourself so you are undercharging and don’t even know why. In Thrivers Society one thing we talk about fairly early in the program is pricing yourself properly. One thing that drives me a little bit crazy is when I go into the hairstylist forums on Facebook and people are asking what people charge for certain services. That information is irrelevant. If I am here in California and I find out what someone in Kentucky is charging for their services that is irrelevant information. It’s irrelevant if that person has two years less experience then me, ten years more experience than me, sees more clients, sees less clients. There’re so many factors we have to think about. You can’t compare pricing like apples and oranges, that won’t work. It’s important that you use a foolproof system when you are determining prices. For some people you’re not necessarily emotionally discounting or situationally discounting, but it’s your price point that is totally inappropriate for what is should be are you’re literally losing tens of thousands of dollars a year.
I know for a lot of us the name of the game always feels like how do I work more and how do I get more clients. That’s actually not the game that most successful stylists are playing. Most successful stylists are playing the game of how do I make my chair more profitable on an hour by hour basis? It is when we can start confidently charging our worth that it really does take off.
Now what I want to do is go back and take a look at the three reasons why we don’t charge our worth. Everybody who is reading this will resonate with at least one of these backstories and for some of you you’ll resonate with all three of them. When we take a look at our life and we take a look at the lack of confidence or that piece that’s holding us back from charging our worth one of these three reasons why will be the reason why we don’t do it. The sooner you can get in touch with why you don’t charge your worth they sooner you can overcome it. Let’s cover all three reasons and remember what I said about your goal to decide which of the three reasons is the one that’s holding you back.
Reason Number One: Your money story.
Reason number one is because of your money story. We all have a money story. It was created based on the world that we were living in when we were kids. From the time that you were very young you became aware of the fact that if you wanted something money had to be exchanged to make it happen. So, from the very first time you went to the store and bought a candy bar and handed over the money someone handed you your candy you got the idea of money makes the world go round.
For some of us we got the idea of budgets and those sorts of things when we asked mom for a new pair of shoes and her response was that those shoes were too expensive and we can’t do that.
All of those little instances start to build a money story for us. It happens and there is nothing we can do about it, it’s just happening in the world around us. All those childhood experiences build up to create the money story we tell ourselves as adults and all of us have a completely different money story.
One of the money stories might be that you just didn’t grow up having money and that your family wasn’t well-off so you assume everybody else is on a tight budget. That is definitely how I grew up as a kid. We didn’t have a lot of extra money, and when I did ask for certain things the response, I would get back was that money was tight and we can’t afford it. That plays a big part of my money story because I assumed, we live in a world where money is tight. Another one might be that you grew up totally rich and had everything you wanted, but you were very well aware of the fact that you were a have and there was also have nots. So maybe you had some friends or you could see other people in the world who weren’t living the same life as you and you became very well aware that not everybody has money and you started judging people that way. So, then what happens as an adult is you carry that into the salon with you, and somebody comes in and you make some sort of assumption about them like oh they probably don’t have a lot of money and this is a big splurge for them. That is such a judgement, because you have no idea what that person’s financial position is. We make those judgements of people not understanding what’s really going on with them. So, all those childhood experiences really start to build up a money story that we project onto other people that is not true.
A personal story of mine that I’ve shared before is when I went out on a day to treat myself, which for me is typically a spa day. I went out to treat myself for a facial and I had set a budget. I had even told my husband I was going to spend some money on some facial products and that I was really excited about it. I went it to get the facial and I was so excited to spend the money. At the end of the visit the esthetician was literally like I have some products that I could recommend, but they are on the higher price point, so instead I can recommend some generic ones you can buy at the store. I was so offended by this, and she actually ruined my time because I wanted to spend the money that day, and she instead made it awkward and weird for me and I didn’t do it. She blew it, and she actually ended up offending me because of her money story. We have to stop projecting our beliefs onto other people. You can’t do that.
Reason Number Two: You aren’t confident in your skills.
Number two is going to be that you aren’t confident in your skills. One of my favorite quotes I’ve heard my whole life is that “Confidence comes when you know you’ve already put in the work,” meaning if I’ve taken a bunch of classes on something, if I’ve done a lot of education, if I’m very well practiced in something, I’m confident and I don’t second guess myself. I know that I know what I am talking about, so it doesn’t make me nervous to talk about it because I’ve already put in the work. We become unconfident in our skills when we’re not sure that we know what we’re doing. When people say, I want to have good consultations, but I’m not confident it’s just because you don’t know how to have good consultations yet. So, the idea then is just to become proficient in consultations because then it’s like autopilot and you don’t even have to think that hard. Or when somebody comes in for a color correction and you get that nervous feelings in your gut thinking oh, I hope this goes well, and you don’t even know how much to charge because you are nervous. It is things like this that prevent you from charging your worth. If you knew how to do it and someone came in and you thought it was an easy fix then you’re confident.
Confidence comes through experience, so if you’re lacking that confidence all you need is more experience. You need to seek out more education. You need to find the resources you need so that in the back of your mind you know you got this. Then you won’t start second guessing how much you can charge for things.
Reason Number Three: You’re scared that your clients don’t see your worth.
Number three is you’re scared that your clients don’t see your worth. This one is actually a weird one for a lot of people. A lot of people may think no that not really the reason for me, but it actually is for most people. A lot of times we don’t charge our worth because we’re scared that our clients will leave us. Saying it that way I bet resonates with more of you. We have this fear of thinking raising prices means losing clients. The reality is if you raise prices, yeah you might lose clients, but those who love you and those who see your value are going to stick around and they’re going to pay. When we look at that reality, we have to kind of backtrack and tell ourselves if you are bringing the value to the table, even if you do raise your prices by 10 bucks, that your clients should value you enough to stick around. If you set yourself up for success and you know your own worth, and you know you’re proving your worth to your clients they will stay. As long as you’re showing up 100% with that confidence every single time they’re not going to leave. You don’t have to be worried about it if you charge them full price it’s not going to be worth it. If a $5 price increase is a make it or break it for your clientele, we’ve got bigger problems on our hands.
We have to let go of one of those three things, two of those three things, all of those three things if we are ever going to be able to charge our worth. Take a moment right now and reflect back on the three things I talked about which was your money story, the fact you’re not confident in your skills, or you’re scared your clients don’t see your true worth. Think for a moment on which of those three things might be the block that’s holding you back, and then let’s move on to the work that’s going to help you to overcome no matter which one it is.
I’m going to give you 5 mindset exercises that are going to help you to overcome this. Like I said earlier, the only way to start charging your worth is to have a positive mindset about your value. I’m going to give you some things that I want you to think about, they’re going to help you to get your mind right about charging your worth.
Number One: Stop labeling yourself as the person who does it cheaper.
I want you to stop labeling yourself as the person who does it cheaper. When you aren’t charging your worth or when you’re discounting or you are like oh, she can’t pay this, so I’m going to make it less you are labeling yourself as the person who does it cheaper. In my Thrivers Society program I was coaching a stylist who was working through a price increase. She had told me she was a little horrified because one of her clients told her that she tells all her friends about her because she’s a really great stylist at a really affordable value. The stylists heart sank, because she knew she had a pricing issue, but she didn’t realize it had become part of her identity as a stylist until her client told her that. This affirmed to the stylist that she was in the right place, making the right decision to increase her prices. When you are underpriced your clients will judge you for this, and for most of us we don’t want to label yourself as the discount stylist. When you are not charging your worth, you are. I live in California, and there is a certain number I want to pay for a haircut, and if you’re charging less then what I want to pay I assume you’re not as talented as I’d want you to be. You underpriced yourself to me and I would say no thank you. When you undervalue yourself, you’re actually limiting your reach in a way. The more you can raise your prices you’re going to start working with this higher-level clientele who sometimes are more loyal. They’re going to send you higher quality referrals, and you are going to find that there are a lot of benefits to working with a clientele who is willing to pay more. So, I want you to commit that you’re not going to label yourself as the stylist who does it cheaper.
Number Two: Be sure all your efforts are working to attract the right clients who want to get what they pay for.
I want you to be sure that all of your efforts are working to attract the right clients who want to get what they pay for. Something we talk about in Thrivers Society is finding your target market, and creating a brand that will attract that target market. I think a big misconception for stylists is that they don’t care who their clients are or what cut and color they want, they just want butts in their chair. That is not true. There are certain clients that would sit in my chair and I’d walk out and be like no, is this really what I have to do right now. You know what I am talking about, when a client walks in and wants a certain cut or color, and inside you are thinking oh gosh do I really have to spend the next 90 minutes doing this. I don’t want any of those people in my chair, and the more you can start attracting the right clientele, the more you can start charging your worth. That way you are attracting all the right people who want to get what they pay for and they are down to spend your full value if you can give them what they want. They won’t question your price for a moment, but that doesn’t happen until you start attracting the right kind of clientele. Does it mean you might have to lose some of the clients who are in your chair right now? Totally. But it would be worth it to gain a high value clientele who was willing to pay your worth. You have to remember we are business owners first and that has to come first. So, I want you to start working on that target market and branding so you can attract that clientele who is down to pay full price.
Number Three: I want you to educate yourself to the point where you’re beyond confident in your skill set.
I want you to take a moment right now and think to yourself when are the situations where I don’t feel confident, that I start to undervalue myself and I stopped charging my worth. I want you to think about is it color corrections, is it when you do colors, is it when you do haircuts. What are the situations where you start to question yourself and if you had more education you would stop doing that? Would you be more confident and be like, no I offer the best haircuts around you you’re going to pay top dollar for it. What would need to happen to get you to a place of confidence where you know everyone is going to pay you full price because I know what I’m doing and I’m doing it better than anyone else around here. We need to get you to that place because when that’s the mental game you are playing you will not be discounting.
Number Four: I want you to fully understand and truly believe in your personal value.
I know for a lot of you you’re like no that’s the missing piece, is that I just don’t value myself enough, I don’t value my skill set. I’m going to ask you some questions that I want you to answer very honestly and I think that’s going to help.
Question Number 1: How long did it take you to become proficient at what you do? Now even if you are the newest stylist on the block, you went through months of schooling just to get to where you are today. Months and months of practice. How many times have you opened and closed those shears, how many times have you practiced formulation? I want you think about how much time, energy and effort you’ve invested to get up to this point. For some of you it’s 20 years you’ve invested to get up to this point, why are you going to undercharge yourself now. Now this was a lifetime commitment for you, you have to start charging your worth for that.
Question Number 2: What did it cost you to get here? This is going to be a big one for a lot of you, because I don’t want you to think of it just monetarily, but what did you sacrifice? I know when I was building my clientele, I missed one of my own daughter’s birthday parties. That was a huge sacrifice for me, but I did it because I knew in the long run it would allow me to throw her the best birthday parties on the planet, but it was a sacrifice. I want you to think about all the Saturdays you worked when you would rather have been watching the soccer games with your family or going to the backyard BBQ. Think about all the nights you worked, the money you had to pay to go to school. Think about all the sacrifices you’ve made, what has that cost you.
Question Number 3: I want you to rate yourself in terms of how good you were when you first started in the beauty industry. I mean day one cosmetology school, when you didn’t know about anything. When hair color seemed crazy and like you’d never understand it, when you held your first pair of sheers in your hand and thought it was amazing. When you were having that geek out moment, I want you to rate your skill in that moment as stylist on a scale of 1-10 and then rate yourself now. Now some of you are going to rate you then as 1 or 3 and will rate yourself now maybe a 7. If you’re really confident you rated yourself maybe a solid 3 then and a 10 now. Isn’t a 7 still better than a 3? Of course, it is. You’ve come a long way and you need to charge for that. You need to be confident in the fact that you’re growing and you’re improving and your clients are paying for where you are now, they’re not paying for the stylist who was at her first day of beauty school. They’re paying for the stylists that you are now the accomplished person who has worked to build a clientele and you have got to charge your value for that.
Question Number 4: What new information have you learned and applied to your business within the last 12 months? What classes have you taken? What education have you learned, what new techniques are you applying? Are you formulating better? What education have you applied to your business that you can put a value on now? If you haven’t taken a single class in a year, you have to. You have to keep your skills sharp in this industry. I don’t care how experienced you are, even if you have been behind the chair 20 or 30 years. The techniques that were hot 30 years ago aren’t what’s happening now. You have to take education annually, if you’re going to keep up with it. Now if you take an education annually you should feel pretty confident in your skill set and you should be charging your worth based on that. You really need to think about what classes you’ve taken and the value of that knowledge.
Question Number 5: Think about the experience you provide your guests. My guess is that most of you reading this would say you put most of your heart and soul into the experience when you have a client sitting in your chair. If you don’t, you have you have to troubleshoot why that isn’t happening. For most of you, you put a lot of emotional energy into that visit, along with a lot of physical energy. There is a price to pay for that, and don’t undercut or undercharge yourself for everything you are investing into this career. That’s your life on line, your body on the line, your mental well-being on the line, and there is a value to pay for that, quit under charging for that.
Number Five: Stop telling yourself your clients will leave if you charge them full price.
I want you to stop telling yourself that your clients will leave you if you started charging them full price. No, they will not. Your good clients, will happily pay you full price and then some. They will buy the retail and do all things, you have to start charging your worth. But until you believe in yourself enough, to not stutter when you are going to say your price at the end of the visit, to not look down at your feet and whisper under your breath and say hey you know what well just do 20 off that, not to sit and at the computer and manipulate the final bill so what you spit out feels smoother rolling off your tongue, until you can stop doing all those goofy things we do, you will always be undercutting yourself. You will always leave the salon at the end of the day feeling exhausted, feeling overworked, feeling overwhelmed, and wishing life was different. I promise you that. I want you to get over all of these hurdles that we have in our life that make us want to undercharge ourselves, that make us undervalue ourselves. Today is the day I want you to start charging your worth.
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