A couple of Sunday’s ago, Fr. John Hollowell gave an awesome Sermon (we Catholics call them Homily’s) at St. Malachy, where he talked about a big week he had in his life and how it could have been even bigger. The “even bigger part” wasn’t more public notoriety but something he felt he should have done as part of his calling as a Priest. As a matter of fact we wouldn’t even have known about the “even bigger part” had he not shared it with us all. What he told us, I believe, was to be used as a lesson for our own lives so it’s in that spirit that I share the following…
During the first quarter of last year, I was asked to help motivate a group of folks in a town just a little ways, about an hour, from Indianapolis. The group was in kind of in a funk and needed a “kick start!” After some planning, I took the challenge on with full vigor! And… you guessed it… the enthusiasm caught and things began to happen in a very short time. I was thrilled that my efforts were in fact working.
Here’s where it get’s ugly… I have a normal fee I charge for coaching. It’s fair price, as a matter of fact, it’s too low, it’s not nearly enough for the value I bring to my clients. I came off my normal fees in an effort to get more people involved mistakenly thinking that “I would make it up in volume.” Well, I didn’t and that’s the ugly part. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the group and they have made some major progress. As a matter of fact one person’s income increased a over $70,000 annually and they say it’s directly resulted from the coaching, ideas, concepts, strategies, feedback and accountability.
As the year went on, I realized I wasn’t getting the income I needed to make my business model work and take care of my family. I began to have opportunities come my way which would pay me almost 10 times what I would make from coaching the group based on my reduced fees. I made a decision to do the work that paid me almost 10 times and reschedule the coaching. After almost 7 months of consistently being present I missed a couple, maybe three of the coaching sessions. I missed them with notice mind you… I didn’t just, not show up.
Well, this played out like the old adage, “Dancing with a Pig”… They got mad and I got dirty. Being absent, no matter how justified the reason was in was in my mind, definitely damaged my reputation. You see because I wasn’t getting what I needed, I began to notice I was feeling resentful toward the group and getting very frustrated. Especially after my reputation was soiled. And, ironically, it was all my fault! I created what I had and I caused the entire situation all because I didn’t set a boundary and communicate it clearly. I thought coming off my fees would help them and I would be the hero. Well, it didn’t and in the long, it hurt me, my reputation and I might have lost some friends and certainly some clients and who knows how many referrals.
Here’ what I should have done…
I should have said…”Here is my coaching fee” and then stuck to my guns. Deep down inside, I know I bring value to my clients and those who are engaged and working know it too! They see it in their business growth and in their income, their net income increases! I have noticed that the times when I come off my normal fees in an effort to “help” someone… it has never worked. They complain more, they don’t do the work required and they are almost impossible to please. The simple fact is, they haven’t committed to the work that needs to be done and they haven’t invested in themselves! It has an effect on me too… When they bitch, I mentally walk away thinking, “well they’re only paying x…” and the problems balloon up from there. I caused it and it’s totally my fault.
My confession is this. I let those folks down and I am sorry. I did us all a disservice and I truly regret my decisions. Not because I missed some sessions but because I didn’t charge them my normal group coaching fee.
Lessons to be learned: Set your boundaries and stick to them. When you come off your stated price, it hurts you and it hurts your client. If your price is fair based on the services and/or products you provide… stick to it!