People often say they feel anxious or uncomfortable when the time to negotiate their payment comes. It’s not easy to put a price on your own work. How much is too much? How could you be certain you really deserve the money you ask for? These and many more questions we asked the SEO and marketing specialist Iskra Evtimova.

You have a lot of years of experience not only as an SEO and marketing director but also as a coach and trainer. You’ve met a lot of people who are just starting to build their careers. In your opinion why do people struggle when they have to name their price?

Iskra Evtimova: This is actually a common problem. You can hear statements like “ Oh, it will only take me 10 minutes to do it, I can’t ask for so much money” or “ What would they think about me, If I ask for that amount?” and my personal favourite“ The poor client can’t afford to pay so much, I have to reduce my prices.” People, especially the ones that are just starting their business path, need to understand there is nothing wrong in receiving a well-deserved payment. We live in a world where everything costs something including your time and efforts. I have invested in my education and knowledge a lot and if a client wants to benefit from my know-how they also need to offer an equivalent payment. Let's be real if you go to the store or the cinema nobody is going to give you anything for free just because you don’t have enough money.
If you’ve spent 15-20 years gathering experience and learning how to save your clients from mistakes that could cost them millions of dollars, a couple of hundred is a reasonable price for what you offer.

How much is too much? How to calculate what your rates should be?

Iskra Evtimova: The easiest and most beneficial thing you can do is to examine how your competitors are doing business. Check some of the biggest companies in your sector and familiarise yourself with their services and price list. You will be shocked to find that often they will charge their clients 4 times more than you, for the exact same thing. Explore markets in different countries and consider expanding your business horizons.

There are, however, some clients that complain, are always unhappy and constantly demand either a discount or a refund. The ones that make you feel cringy and uncomfortable ironically called “Choosing beggers.” How do you deal with those types of people?

Iskra Evtimova: They are more common than you think and often a bad experience with one such person can make you feel extremely self-conscious and unsure in your professional abilities. In my opinion, you should avoid the “begging” type of clients right away. There is a fine line between the good negotiations and the flea market bargaining. Run away from the lаtter. In my practice, if a client starts to ask for a deal or a “special” offer they will definitely want from you to do more and more each time you speak with them. The choosing-begging type doesn't appreciate your hard work and dedication. They will everything in their power to receive what they want, all the while driving you crazy with demands and requirements. Try to avoid working for these kinds of people.

What are the main factors in your view that can influence people to make them more confident in their own abilities?

Iskra Evtimova: I really believe everything revolves around Maslow's hierarchy of needs. As long as you are struggling to satisfy your basic needs, you won’t be able to invest in yourself. I was the same way back in the day. When I was wondering if I could pay my bills, I couldn't give my all at work. The first time I was certain I can manage the month, and everything was stable I felt the wheels of my internal motivation starting to spin. I needed to get better, to learn more things, to achieve more at my work. This is the moment when I started to appreciate myself and become confident in my abilities. At that point, I knew I will leave my old workplace soon, and I will be starting an SEO and Marketing company.

Most young entrepreneurs are often intimidated by the negative public opinion which causes them to lose confidence and motivation. What is your advice for them?

Iskra Evtimova: The negative public opinion is a very hard thing to overcome. In some societies, people tend to demonise money, to perceive them as something bad and subsequently if you are earning a lot you become a bad individual as well. In my view, this is absolutely ridiculous. If one wants to succeed not only in their work but in life in general, they need to rise above the uninformed negativity and not be afraid of being happy. Here is a simple exercise you can try, to help this process. Every time the nasty idea you don't deserve the money you earn or the success you have starts to creep in your mind, visualise all of these bad thoughts as a small ball. Then toss it away from you. It doesn't have a place in your life.

From your experience, what is the most important business goal all newbies and want-a-be entrepreneurs should try to achieve in their business path?

Iskra Evtimova: I’ve thought long and hard about this when I was starting my SEO and marketing company. The answer is actually quite simple: both sides must be happy with the end results. From one side your client must be content with the product or the service you have delivered them and from the other - you need to be fairly paid and your work properly appreciated.
Often I have owners of small businesses who want to hire my team, but they offer 2 to 3 times less than my original rates. In these situations, I have to choose either to compromise with my work, time and knowledge or refer them to a different agency. It is not an easy choice, and you have no idea how unpleasant is to say “No” to a client. However, a “Yes” in a situation you feel unappreciated and unhappy is worse. Faced with a choice like this, you need to think first about your internal motivation and the quality of the work you will produce. Everybody needs to answer themselves the hard question: If I lower my prices, would I be equally motivated doing my job knowing how much it costed me to be where I am today?

Any last thoughts on the topic?

Iskra Evtimova: Yes, I want to say to all of those who are unsure what to do - Don’t be afraid to set a price to your knowledge, experience and abilities. As long it is reasonable and objective, you will find clients who will gladly pay the amount you want in exchange for your time and efforts. Do not lower your standards and let yourself be belittled by ignorant and negative people. As long as you have the internal motivation to do better and work hard, you have nothing to worry.

Author's Bio: 

This interview was conducted with the help of SEO and marketing director Iskra Evtimova. For close to a decade she has coached numerous entrepreneurs not only how to optimise their business and make more profit, but how to motivate and better themselves in every aspect of their lives.