I recently came across the term “act your wage.” Having never heard it before, I did some digging. Come to find out, it means, kind of as it implies, employees doing only the job they’re paid to do and nothing more. Even though I work for myself now and I’m in charge of what I make, the term still resonated with me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that entrepreneurs, too, can act their wage. In fact, there’s almost a need to. Here’s what I mean…

For many entrepreneurs, there’s an element of fear and/or scarcity that goes into our day-to-day. There’s that feeling of “if I lose this client” or “if I don’t close this deal” that plays into our finances. In turn, that becomes throwing in “extras” for those clients we’re dying to please and keep or discounting our prices to try and close that deal. In the end, though, we not only discount ourselves, we devalue everyone in our industry.

I propose that all entrepreneurs act our wage! 

  • Know your worth and charge it. If you question your rates or doubt you’re charging correctly, there’s any number of Facebook and LinkedIn groups for entrepreneurs, and most have threads where others will help you set yourself up properly.
  • Set your scope of work and honor it. A favor here and there for a client who treats you well, pays on time and such won’t kill anybody. But when a regular item gets added to your to do list, it’s time to add compensation for that work.
  • If work is requested outside of that scope, charge for it. Again, go back to the last two sentences of the bullet above.
  • If a client or potential client doesn’t want to pay what you charge, then they are not your client. Two of the best pieces of advice I got when going out on my own were (1) to never give a discount and (2) on the off chance that you do, make it a line item on every invoice so the client is reminded of it often. In the 12 years I’ve been in business, I’ve gone against #1 a total of three times. And I’ve been sorry every time. On each, I offered the discount to close the deal, and those clients have been the ones who disrespected my time and boundaries, questioned every move I made, and basically were just unbearable to deal with.

Being an entrepreneur can be a tough but rewarding gig. Don’t undercut yourself, and don’t allow others to do it, either. Act your wage! And know you’re worth it!