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When a lawyer cried after I said she should increase her rates
I grew up in Queens, New York and still consider myself to be a New Yorker.
I used to walk to and from school, either with the kids who lived near my apartment building or with my sister.
One morning, before leaving for school, my dad gave me $1 to buy a bagel for breakfast (back when bagels were $1).
I felt like I was a millionaire. A whole bagel for myself. And I could order it just the way I wanted. No poppy seeds. No stinky onions or chives. No weird cream cheese flavors like strawberry or blueberry. MY own bagel, just the way I liked it.
The bagel shop was a block from school, and a 10 minute walk from my apartment.
I left my house, skipping and chatting fast, the way 8 year olds do, on a mission to get my bagel.
When I got to the bagel shop, I proudly ordered my plain bagel, toasted, with cream cheese (yes, this is still my go-to order today). The nice man took my order, and I waited in the shop, while talking to my friends.
I went to the cash register to pay and put my little 8 year old hand into my front jeans pocket, ready to hand over my $1 in exchange for my bagel.
Except, I couldn’t find the dollar in my jeans pocket.
I searched the right side. Then I searched the left side. No money there. I looked in my back pockets, no luck. My friend told me to check my book bag, I searched. No money there either.
Did I skip so hard that it fell out of my pocket? Did I get so excited that I dropped the dollar when my dad went to hand it to me? Where did the dollar go?
I did the only thing I knew to do - I started crying.
How irresponsible of me, to lose a dollar, like it was a penny? My parents were right, I didn’t value money.
The bagel shop owner looked at me, handed me some napkins, said it was ok, and came out from behind the cash register, and gave me my bagel anyway.
This made me cry more. I felt guilty. I was taking something for free. AND I lost the dollar.
If you’re still reading this, then you want to listen to today’s podcast episode.
Money trauma is REAL. Immigrant or not, let me tell you, money and how you treat money, what you charge your clients, if you discount your invoices, ALL of that is VERY real and is driving how you run your business.
Don’t believe me?
To this day, after that bagel experience, I carry 4 different credit cards on me AND cash. Why? Because I NEVER want to feel that feeling again, of being unable to pay for something, and now I’m holding up the line or someone else has to cover my share.
A few years ago, on a consult call with a well-established law firm owner, I asked this attorney: What do you charge? She told me she charges $250 an hour. I was shocked. I told her she had to increase her rates by at least $100, immediately. Her response was not jumping for joy, thinking about the ways she would spend her additional revenue. Rather, she started crying into her shirt. She didn’t feel her expertise was worth $350/hour. 10 years practicing, with big law experience, graduating from an Ivy League, and she didn’t think she was worth it.
No, I didn’t work with this client. This was wayyyyy deeper, and wayyyyy out of my expertise.
If you’ve been on the fence about increasing your rates, or you feel scared that you will lose clients, or you keep hitting the same revenue number, year after year, but you can’t seem to break past it, LISTEN to this episode.
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