Ladies… we need to talk about this… we need to talk about women price shaming other women. Having been in business for 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of this, and the bottom line is it is simply not okay, not because it’s hurtful (that too of course), but more importantly because it absolutely undermines the healing and empowerment of women everywhere.
If you are a business owner, then you know that owning and running a business is a thing you pour your whole heart and soul into, and is a labor of love in following a calling that have chosen to give yourself to completely.
And if you are a business owner for any length of time, then you also know how it feels when someone attempts to guilt and shame you for what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how they think you should do it instead, to suit what they want to pay, instead of what you need to charge.
Many years ago I noticed something, while I would get both women and men contacting me for quotes, what I noticed is that when the person could not afford the quote or just felt it was more than they wanted to pay, it would only be the women who would attempt to guilt or shame me when my prices didn’t work for them. The men would usually just not write back, or just say flat out that it was out of their price range, or even gasp, but not write back something shaming.
It didn’t happen all that often, but enough times for me to grow and learn around that, to the point it wouldn’t phase me that much anymore. I learned to recognize that when that happened it was just someone lashing out around their own pain, and the pain of the limitations they are currently living in that they can’t see a way beyond yet. They are hurting, they feel trapped, and so they want me to hurt too.
They don’t think that is possible for them too: to honor THEIR own needs in their business, and to have more than enough for what they need. It doesn’t seem possible yet, because they’re living in scarcity mindset. And when people are in pain, they lash out. Some people lash out outwardly, and some people lash out inwardly, and the ones who write you trying to guilt and shame you for not taking care of their needs instead of the needs of your business, are in the latter camp.
Now I see it as someone in pain and I just let them say what they need to say and let it go. They are completely allowed to feel that way and I completely understand feeling that way, because I have felt it too. I understand.
Do NOT get me wrong here though, I work with pretty much all women, and all of them are absolutely wonderful, respectful, professional and full of integrity. And this is NOT to say men do not have their own issues, big time! The only reason I am noting that this is a problem in a big way amongst women is so that we can address and heal an unchecked pattern that is moving amongst us, derailing us from our mutual growth and empowerment.
Women have been pitted against eachother in this society forever, made to believe we need to be in competition with eachother instead of cooperation, made to think there is not room for us, and so we have no choice but to compete with eachother living under that lie.
Women have also been trained to completely disregard their needs, and especially their financial needs, and relationship with money. We have also watched other women shame and guilt eachother for not being better mothers, wives, partners, etc., all of our lives. So of COURSE we think it’s okay to tell another woman business owner that she should be doing things our way, instead of her way.
But that old pattern has totally got to go. And FAST.
Because the world needs more women with money, so that the balance of power in our world and economy can shift to a more whole and healthy model. And that will not happen as long as women are suppressed around having or wanting or needing or making money, by guilting and shaming them for doing so.
The reason this came up is because I recently got an email from a woman letting me know that she reached out to me for a quote for some design more than a year ago, and my quote was more than she could pay, and she was struggling, and that seeing my emails just reminded her that she reached out to someone who could have helped her (me) and I “chose not to help her” by honoring my pricing, and not giving her a special price that worked for her instead.
In actuality however, I did choose to help her, for the current rate of my pricing at that time and to honor every other client who was currently paying me that rate and did not get a special deal. And she chose not to work with me, because that amount of money did not work for her at that time.
However in her current version of reality, it is my responsibility to make my pricing match her need, and not my need to stay in business, and to thrive in business. In her model, if I were a good person, I would sacrifice my need, for her need. What she was implying is that I made myself more important than her (in an attempt to shame me), when in actuality, she has made her need more important than mine (her need for a cheaper price vs. my need to honor my prices) And the truth is: BOTH OF OUR NEEDS ARE IMPORTANT!
The truth is, she gets to find someone who fits her budget, and I get to find someone who fits mine. We are both free to create the desired results we want. And we do not need to shame eachother in any way, shape, or form to do so.
You can bet that she would probably not expect or do the same thing if she had been speaking to a man business owner. She may have gasped and said it was too much, but she would likely not have doubled back with the guilt and shame. Nor would she go to a gift shop, or the dentist, or a restaurant, and then shame those business owners when she saw something she could not afford. She would not go to the lobby of the hotel she wanted to stay at and shame the manager for not making the penthouse suite priced to match what she has in her wallet, she would not even think to do so.
So why do we do this to eachother? Why do we think this is okay with other women business owners? I’ll tell you why: because it’s what we expect of OURSELVES.
This woman who wrote me was just hurting because she probably still feels that SHE has to discount and slash her prices to make it work for other people, and that that makes her kind and good… while she continues to struggle, as other people get what THEY want from her. Not understanding why she feels so tired, and resentful, and taken advantage of for not having her needs met. Not understanding why she can’t seem to have what SHE wants too. Because she has not learned to define and hold the boundary of her own need and want. She expects other people to meet it without her having to ask for it and hold it, and it’s not working out too well.
And I get it. Because I spent sooooooooo many years doing that too. And I still struggle with it from time to time, because my training tells me that a good woman sacrifices all of herself for other peoples needs and wants.
When the truth is, if you honor your own needs and wants you EMPOWER other people to do that for them too. So they don’t have to be stuck in that exhausted, broke, resentful place. Probably not before they get pissed off and hate you first for a little bit, but as time passes the seed that was planted in them by you fully owning your needs, gives them silent permission to do the same.
But even if they don’t ever see that, or decide to do that for themselves (which is their choice and they are absolutely free to do so), you still can… and when you do, your right-fit people will come to you. Because you have not left open any other option. When you leave an option open for compromising yourself, you will definitely get takers on that offer. 😉 Because people want a bargain. Well, bargain shoppers want a bargain. And the great news is, there are LOTS of people who also love bargains and are totally game for bargaining! It’s a win win for those people, and what a gift that there are always other people who are right fits for wherever we are in life and whatever we want at that time.
I am not a bargain shopper, however, and that is my choice. And if that is your choice too, I encourage you to stick with yourself. You deserve to have what you want, just like those other people deserve to have what they want too. They don’t have to change for you, and you don’t have to change for them. You are both free. Free to create and design your own reality and business, your way.
So when you get people attempting to price shame or guilt you in your business, just remember with compassion that you know that pain, that you know the pain of feeling like you don’t have a choice, and use it as fuel to remind yourself you DO have a choice, and that you are choosing to thrive, and in doing so, you will be helping far more people than you ever could in attempting to compromise yourself and your vision.
And if you’d like some help with your business and money mindset, so you CAN charge what you’re worth and feel good about it, then I invite you to check out my Feast or Famine No More Course here and/or get my free Make More, Doing Less Guide.