Embracing Your Value: Respecting Yourself as Much as Others
As a female, I was taught to put myself last. I often find myself apologizing for simply existing. By the way... so do many of my fellow females. We are notorious for overusing the word "sorry" when we need to speak, ask questions, voice our needs, or just needing to walk past someone. We literally apologize for taking up space. We are taught that everyone else takes priority. We are encouraged to speak up for others, but not really for ourselves.
I am 42 years old and I am finally coming to terms with the need to value myself as much as I value others. Of course, this does not mean being selfish, rude, unethical, or unfair. It just means that I treat myself with the same respect that I give to others.
I am a hard worker. I have been working as a small business owning interior decorator/designer for 15 years. I started my first design related business in 2004. I started my first design related job (working as a showroom designer for a high-end furniture company) back in 2000. That is 19 years of real life, industry experience. That has value.
I am consistently focusing on ways to grow, learn, perfect my systems, and service my clients with excellence. I invest in continuing education, industry related software, and cultivating strong vendor relationships in order to offer clients both quality and excellence. I am extremely loyal and I always try to be fair. I treat others with integrity and hold to my word. I am a fierce advocate for my clients and I thrive on problem solving. I genuinely put my heart and soul into every design project. I do my best to go above and beyond to nurture relationships. When I am met with a new hurdle or new facet of this growing industry, I do everything in my power to master it (whether it be through education, research, or collaborating with other experts). This also has value.
As I have continued to cultivate relationships within this wonderful industry, I have learned more and more about the industry standard for billing as an experienced professional. What my peers and mentors have taught me is that I have been under valuing myself, my experience, and my services. For this reason, I am going to increase my hourly fee to a rate that is fair to both myself and others. This increase is based on current industry rates gathered from multiple sources. My increased rate will be applied to all new projects. This rate increase will not be applied to current (active) projects. As a business owner who values integrity, holding true to my word, and transparency, I will honor all contractual pricing for current projects. So if you are an existing (active) client, then there will be no change. However, all new projects will be billed at my increased rate.
To my past and current clients who have trusted me and allowed me to do what I love, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would not be where I am today without you. Thank you for your willingness to grow with me. To my future clients, I look forward to working with you to create beautiful, functional spaces that reflect your style. To my trade partners/contractors/vendors, thank you for helping me deliver my designs with excellence. I value your time, expertise, and skillset. I am grateful that you also value mine.
It can be both scary and exciting to embrace your worth, both professionally and personally. I am always rooting and encouraging others to embrace theirs. I celebrate their victories, encourage them through challenges, and root for their successes. Now it's time that I do the same for me. Look out 2020... The Funky Debutante is ready to take this brand to the next level! Thank you for partnering with me on this beautiful journey. I am forever grateful.
To my fellow females out there... are you embracing your value? What is the industry standard for your field of work and years of experience? Are you being paid a competitive and appropriate rate? If the answer is yes, then good for you. You are one step ahead of most. For the rest of you lovely ladies, if you research your industry standards and take inventory of your contributions to your field, are you being paid a rate equal to your value? What steps can you take to embrace your worth? Gather your research, run reports, and come up with a plan. Then take the appropriate steps to ask for what you are worth. It can be scary, but you have earned it! Never settle for less in yourself or in others. Stay on top of the latest discoveries in your field. Embrace growth and never stop learning. There is no easy road to success and we should never get too comfortable. Always do your best, own your mistakes (fix them when possible), hold close to your values, learn from your failures, set healthy boundaries (it's okay to say no), remain humble (but confident), never stop learning, and keep moving forward! I am rooting for you!