Reasons why your business should embrace social media
It's Thanksgiving Time - Or, I Wish It Was Thanksgiving Time!

Are YOU Being Set Up By Your "Mentor/Coach" to Fail?

Guest post by Lena L. West, Social Media Strategist

Lena_west_closecropAt first, this might sound elementary. I mean, it's basic common sense, I think; but then again, common sense, isn't all that common.

But, what I've realized is that in the name of empowering women business owners, some coaches, marketing consultants, etc., have been telling women, "Charge whatever you want, people will pay for it. If you're not charging the highest price, then you don't think you're worth it."

Well, that last statement is true if you have the experience and the results -- and you still aren't charging what you're worth, but there's a bumper crop of women business owners who are coming out of these coaching mills programs with a serious disconnect between how much they can charge and what they can do for you.

Case in point, we're in the process of hiring a LOT more Social Media Concierges based on some planned business growth I've alluded to in a previous post, and I recently had a conversation with someone whose rate was $50/hour.

I asked her if she had ever used HootSuite before. She said, no.

I asked her if she was familiar with WordPress. She said, no.

I asked her if she had links to Twitterstreams, Facebook pages, etc. for client projects. She said, no.

I asked her if she had client references to attest to the work she said she could do. She said, no.

At this point, I asked her what she DID have experience with and she said newsletters and scheduling people's calendars.

Ok, so that's not SOCIAL MEDIA.

I tried to explain to her that it was going to be awfully hard for her to charge $50/hour for work she's never performed before and she said that Ms. Popular Mentor Coach told her she could charge just as much as she wants.Wow. You don't say?

Here's the thing: and I don't say this to make anyone feel badly, but if you're still "green", you need to charge "green" rates until you get more experience and anyone who's trying to "empower" you by telling you to "charge whatever you want" is setting you up to fail. Period.


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Lena L. West

@eatthecupcake (WHY OH WHY don't people comment with their real names???):

Yes, she got the courage, that's great. But she got the courage to sell something that's NEVER going to sell. It's the anti-thesis to getting people to sell. It's like sending someone to a gunfight with a knife; you're setting them up to lose. So, yes, she may have BOAT LOADS of confidence, but without something of value to sell (SKILLS!!!), she's not going to sell a damn thing and eventually she's going to lose every shred of confidence she has. If I were a betting person, I'd bet the farm on it.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


I agree that some mentors may unintentionally set people up for potential failure; the flip side of this story is that this person actually found a mentor that gave her the courage to go out there and "sell it". Even "it" is not polished it's a start. Your response to her was a very valuable lesson. She will get was she puts in.



Glad the topic worked for you! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Phillis Benson


Great post and comments! Thanks for the words. P.



Thanks for the props.

And, thanks for reading and commenting!

Rachel Del Grosso

"Here's the thing: and I don't say this to make anyone feel badly, but if you're still "green", you need to charge "green" rates until you get more experience and anyone who's trying to "empower" you by telling you to "charge whatever you want" is setting you up to fail. Period."

wise, wise words. and very true.



Hmmm.some of what you said, I agree with (charging project rates) and some I didn't (pricing based on what other people are charging and not "being able" to explain the difference to potential clients). There's a REASON that someone can charge $7 for an eyebrow wax and them someone like Ramy Gafni can charge $100+ (or whatever he charges...I know it's not $7) for it. What Ramy charges has nothing to do with what others charge, but has everything to do with the clientele he serves and the results he gets. But, I do believe that we're both on the same page -- charge what's reasonable based on your skill/ability to deliver/experience.

@Barbara, I agree, the "charge what you're worth" approach to pricing skews things a bit. I mean what does "worth" mean? And, how much is a person "worth"? And, yes *sometimes* you're better off slightly raising rates...sometimes :) other times, people's rates need to and justifiably be raised a LOT.

@Crystal, Wow, I'm glad that someone who offers these services sees what's I'm seeing. We should talk - reach out to me!

@Sandy, I don't know if it's luck...because I can tell you that the person with whom I spoke didn't have ONE client. That says a lot to me. If I were her, I would have gone straight back to Ms. Popular Mentor Coach and asked her, "I did what you said, and I have no clients...what's up with that?" Awww, thanks for following me for all this time and thanks for the extra holler. That speaking engagement was one of my favorites!

Thanks to you all for reading and commenting!


Often within a specific market, even if you do have the experience, you end up pricing yourself out of your market. I may be WORTH $100 per hour, but I have a hard time persuading my prospects of that when my much less skilled competition is charging $25 per hour. My prospects are not likely to understand the differences in experience and methods, even if they are explained to them. Charging more is rarely the answer, and is NEVER a pat answer for success. We simply moved to a per-task rate schedule instead of a per-hour rate schedule, and got completely around the per hour problems. Now our clients know what it will cost them, and the better I work, the more I make.

Barbara Saunders

There's another serious problem with the framework of charging "what you are worth." It confuses business owners about the nature of profitable business models.

Sometimes, if you're making $25 per hour, you're better off raising your rates to $35 per hour and then hiring workers to deliver more hours rather than trying to become "premium" provider at $50 per hour, and remaining in the grind yourself.

Crystal Parrett

As a VA who specializes in social media/online marketing, I couldn't agree more. I'm in the process of adding some team members, and I'm amazed at some of the people who are offering social media services at high rates but don't even know really what social media is. I know when I started out and was still learning (ok, with social media you never really stop learning, but you know what I mean), my rates were much lower than they are a few years later. And they should have been! Thank you for this post, it really hit home as I continue to hunt for those other VA's that really know social media (I know you're out there somewhere!).

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