If there’s any belief I find problematic, it’s the idea that you should expect to ‘pay your dues.’
What this typically means is you should do shit work for shit pay and be happy for the opportunity, dammit, and then magically one day people will decide to pay you what you’re worth. Ahahahaha.
Now, I’m not suggesting you should expect top dollar and immediate success. But I also don’t think that refusing to work for cut rate is the entitlement issue that people seem to think.
Now, pricing strategy is an art in and of itself, but I just want to mention one thing in particular I think you should take into account: Your resentment rate.
The Resentment Rate
The resentment rate is the rate of pay at which point you start to feel incredible resentment vis a vis how much work you do for the money.
That’s the basics. It’s a bit more complex, though. For instance, my resentment rate goes higher for clients who are unreliable. On the other hand, I have been known to cut my rate extensively to cut a person I believe in a break. There are some things I sincerely don’t like doing, but, hypothetically, if you paid me three times my rate I might be convinced. But what I’m getting at is that the resentment rate isn’t just the money; it’s also what you’re doing and how you’re appreciated.
If you have no idea what your resentment rate is, you’ll have to take some time to figure it out. When was the last time you were resentful doing something for someone else? What were the circumstances? How were you treated? Did you enjoy the work?
The resentment rate is only a rule of thumb. That doesn’t mean that if you figure out your resentment rate is $25/hr, and someone offers you $30 to dig ditches you would necessarily take it. You went into business for yourself as a way to be more fulfilled, however you define that. Chasing the almighty dollar probably doesn’t fit that bill. If it did, I would still be hauling hoses on a well-site somewhere.
Whatever You Do…
If there’s one thing I sincerely hope you take away here, it’s that you realize your resentment rate and never, ever cross it. Crossing it poisons almost every aspect of your life; you’ll carry that frustrated, trapped and resentful feeling home with you, and it will make everything seem more hopeless than before.
I’ve been in pretty dire financial straits in my time, but crossing the resentment rate never worked out for me. It never led to advancement or opportunity. It didn’t even stimulate me to find something better; I was too angry and demoralized to do so. It made my life miserable, and I stayed broke.
Need help defining your resentment rate?
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What’s your experience with feeling resentful? How does it affect you, and how do you deal with it?