November 25, 2020

Female Founders. Are we valuing ourselves highly enough?

Female founder - at work - business photo - Uckfield Sussex

Is our lack of value in ourselves holding us back in business? Female founders regularly share their worries about showing up and charging their worth.

Equal Pay Day has now passed for 2020: are we valuing ourselves highly enough? It's the day in the year when women effectively start to work for free, given the gender pay gap.

Did you know that the pay gap between men and women becomes even more acute over the age of forty? It feels counter-intuitive doesn’t it, as that’s precisely the age we women are really hitting our stride.  But a 2019 government report found that the gap leaps from 2% to 11% once people git the big 4-0. The fact is that women who take time out to have children don’t really ever catch up. Perhaps that’s why so many of us branch out and ‘go it alone’, setting up our own businesses.

What it means is that we have to be extra feisty about knowing and stating our value.  

And that can be hard. Meghan Markle said: “I think the biggest part of being a girl boss in the office, at home or anywhere you go is just knowing your value.” I think she’s spot on. But I’ve also seen time and again how my brilliantly determined and inspired clients manage to overcome natural doubts about their self-worth.  And these are never more obvious than on a photo shoot!  

The trick, when we’re feeling unsure, is to remember that what we’re trying to achieve is bigger than ourselves. It’s about mindset and values. If you believe in your business, and know it’s good, then you also know you should share it.  I find that a clever way to side-step the paralysing fear that comes with growing a business.

It’s a fear both of not achieving what you’ve set out to achieve, but also of taking the steps required to get you there.  So, whenever my journey feels hard, difficult or scary, I take a step back and focus on my overarching goal, and remember that’s what it’s about. It’s not actually about me at all.  What drives me is the dream of empowering my clients to achieve their own objectives using great brand photography which brings their businesses to life. 

One client, Alyson, is motivated by a desire to share a love of craft with others. Alyson’s company is called Beading Brilliant, and she creates gorgeous craft kits for kids. And they’re designed to be sustainable – she wants to fill people’s homes with things that aren’t throw-away, that can last. Alyson’s belief in that gives her the focus she needs to push forward and assert her own value.  This is an important part of the process once you have booked a personal brand shoot. I work closely with my clients as they work through a bespoke workbook which helps them dig deep on their mission, their values and their why. This is the magic I bring to live in my shoots.

Another client, Deana, is a yoga instructor and therapist who works with midlife women to help them move through menopause and into their best years. For Deana, it’s the joy of seeing women liberated by taking control of their situation which inspires her. Both of these amazing clients are so good at keeping their primary objective in focus that they don’t doubt their own value.    

It’s all about playing to your strengths. Experienced business woman Alison Grade, who wrote The Freelance Bible, says: “Think of it like dating. You’re looking for customers who value you, and the services that you offer.”   

So, with your value firmly fixed in your mind: how do you work out what to charge? I see a lot of people – predominantly women - under-charging for their work. Again, back to Alison Grade. She says: “When the client asks you how much the job will cost, if you don’t hear a sharp intake of breath then you’ve probably left some value on the table.” 

I can’t tell you what to charge your own clients, but I can tell you what my clients tell me when they look at their professional brand photos. They feel like they deserve to be taken seriously. And when you start to take yourself seriously, that’s when your clients will too.  

I’d love to chat with you about your business and your goals and how brand photography can help. Get in touch.