price tags for blog postIn the last week, I’ve gotten more than a few queries from colleagues and clients asking my opinion on how much to charge for a particular service.

Don’t you wish there were a reference book or website where you could plug in your years in business, the prospect’s revenues and request, plus your confidence level, press a button and feel assured that your $100, $1000, $10,000-or-more price quote would guarantee the sale?

There’s a reason that book/site doesn’t exist. Setting fees isn’t formulaic, but more a work in progress, a negotiation.

In my recent talk to a group of women entrepreneurs, I shared a story about when my decorated eggs were going for $35 each and selling briskly. A customer, a well-known interior designer in town, selected a dozen–one for each of the editors at the shelter magazines where her work was published. After I’d wrapped up her order and received her payment, she leaned in and whispered, “Your eggs should be $300 each, Jane.” My reaction? I wanted to vomit.

There is a fine line between what you charge and your feelings of self-worth. The more self-esteem you have, the higher your prices are likely to go. By the time I ended my egg-decorating career in the early 2000’s, my eggs were priced at $480 apiece.

Yes, there’s the going rate, what the market will bear, and your reputation. But, what I’ve become keenly aware of, and what I support women in creating, is a deeper connection to their own value.

Take a look at your current price list and notice the sensations you’re experiencing in your heart and gut. Your body doesn’t lie. If you’re having a heart-sinking or gut-wrenching reaction, it may be time to work less on your skill set and more on your confidence level. Price setting is an inside job.

My $oul Proprietor’s Roadmap to Abundant Living starts on Monday, March 7. Please join me if you’d like to raise your prices, get more comfortable around money and turn this primary relationship into the romance of a lifetime!

 

Everyone has issues around money. Gambling, credit card debting, hoarding, big-shot-ism. To one degree or another, our idiosyncrasies play themselves out, once in a while or chronically, through the medium of money. Like food, another commodity that can take on enormous meaning, we reward ourselves, deprive ourselves, binge, purge or starve.

Ah, there are so many ways to act out.

My personal favorite is something I’ve heard labeled ‘anorexic spending.’ Lovely, right? That means that I don’t like to spend one dollar until I have a hundred or a thousand to back it up. I like to hold onto what I have and fear spending. This is not a viable formula for life.

Which brings me to exciting news – I’m in the process of furnishing a new apartment which I just bought. Clearly, I’ve overcome my condition (one day at a time). I move on Thursday. I’m investing in a piece of NYC property, and I want to add to what I already own to make it beautiful. I have money in my apartment account which I’ve earmarked for this occasion. It’s still hard for me to pull the trigger as I check out at Pottery Barn, West Elm and Restoration Hardware making purchases. My gremlins are forming a chorus and singing, “You can get it cheaper!” and  “Do you really need that?” Familiar?

Fortunately, I’ve been working for years to reverse the old messages I picked up as a child. Those deeply etched beliefs arise as I’m getting ready to make a decision and ebb once I’ve clicked SUBMIT ORDER. I don’t suffer from buyer’s remorse. It’s more paralysis leading up to the spending.

I’m excited not only about moving and having these lovely new accessories to beautify my space, but also that I am offering a course starting on March 7 for others who would similarly like to improve their relationships with money. Whatever your financial issue, I can help you become more comfortable, optimistic and joyful around money.

Please watch my video talk about where I came from and where I’ve arrived at. I’ve been helping others improve their financial lives for nearly 20 years as I’ve continued to improve mine. This is not accounting or investing, but help for the dailiness of living where money is a constant. My 8-week workshop is called The $oul Proprietor’s Roadmap to Abundant Living. Please join me on this happy highway.

Oh, and jot down my new address: 66 Overlook Terrace, Apartment 6P, NY, NY 10040. It’s in the Hudson Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan.

jane at Heather's eeventWhen I was first invited to speak at the premiere session of the new, high-level networking group, the Entrepreneurial Women’s Club, I had at least two months to prepare my talk. That was great, because I was offering a whole new topic–our relationship with money entiltled The $oul Proprietor’s Roadmap to Abundant Living.

The first thing I did was set a date to meet with the speech coach who helped me with my TEDx talk several years ago. Putting a date on the calendar with her made it real. I knew I’d have to get my new ideas down on paper so I could run them by her with plenty of time for editing afterwards.

At our first meeting, I read through my script with eager anticipation of her nodding approval. I had shared it with my writers group two weeks before to enthusiastic raves. When my coach heard it, there was a deer-in-the-headlights look on her face through most of it. Not what I was hoping for.

“Jane,” she said with respect and concern, “you’re addressing a businesswomen’s event. This would be a great motivational speech, but not right for the audience you’ve been invited to address.”

Even as my heart sunk to my belly, I knew that she was right. I took copious notes, added a PowerPoint component and met with her again a week later. I had completely re-written the talk and was quite pleased with my edits and improvements.

This time when we met, there was more nodding, smiling and less note-taking on her part. My main job became owning the stories and not using notes–a terror for me. I’m so afraid of completely blanking out in front of an audience. That has never happened to me, but the dread of it keeps me tossing and turning at night.

We met a third time 8 days before my debut. A few more tweaks that actually relieved me. I took out a few transitions that were hard for me to remember. “Trust your audience,” I was told.

I brought a photo of the outfit I planned to wear, something eye-catching from my wardrobe. “NO!” my coach practically shouted. “You want them to watch you, not your blouse.” I laughed hysterically, then modified my choice significantly. (see below)

If you’re going to hire an expert to give you advice, take it. Great Shirt, but not for speaking in

My dear friend Sandy Weiner, to whom I report my goals 3x a week, offered me a slot at her Toastmasters Club in Stamford to give a dress rehearsal two days before showtime. She wrote to her Club President on my behalf  asking if they could extend the meeting to those interested in hearing a speaker who’d been a long-time member of Toastmasters and who had gone onto professional speaking.

I was nervous before my speech that night. Toastmasters is a fantastic organization where you get to work on your presentation skills. They pay attention to more than your average audience would — like how many ah’s and um’s you say, what your vocal variety sounds like and what hand gestures you use. I was willing to allow that scrutiny for the chance to try out my material in front of a live and enthusiastic crowd. They were super-attentive and generous in their feedback. I appreciated every comment and suggestion and incorporated many into the final version that I delivered on 1/21.

In addition to these rehearsals, I scheduled time almost every day for 10 days to practice into my phone’s voice memo app reciting my message and pressing the keys for the slides over and over. While walking to and from destinations in the city, I’d listen back to my recordings.

I arrived early on the 21st to make sure my slides were working with the projector at the venue. I’d hired a videographer to record my talk for marketing and education purposes. I wanted to help him get set up so I could focus on my audience during my talk.

Point #1 in this entry – Hire and Trust Experts

I still get nervous, I still need help, and I still practice, practice, practice.

Point #2 – My new offer

Because my audience has become accustomed to my talks and workshops based on growing their entrepreneurial enterprises, I doubly wanted to make sure that my new subject matter came across loud and clear. I want to talk to women about their relationship with money. I have nearly 20 years of experience and over a thousand 1:1 experiences that have benefited others on this subject matter. I have tools, strategies, and most of all a deep appreciation of women’s issues around money (I had plenty of my own which I’ve overcome) and how to help them increase their comfort with this powerful medium. This is not about accounting or investing, but truly relationship work with an illusive commodity which you’ve dealt with since early childhood.

I am passionate about giving women an abundant skill set as well as providing a confidential, supportive and nurturing environment in which to learn.

I hope you’ll join me starting in March and/or refer a friend who would benefit by increasing her comfort on this subject.

 

 

urgent priority deadlineHere’s what’s on my BIG (and littler) PROJECTS list, beyond my normal coaching schedule, for early 2016:

  1. Deliver The $oul Proprietor’$ Roadmap to Abundant Living talk to women’s group 1/21
  2. Market new course (starting March 7) based on this talk
  3. Complete memoir
  4. Complete purchase of apartment in NYC
  5. Move
  6. Blog

Guess what’s looming largest? If you guessed #4, you’re right. Sometimes our personal goals present, or impose, themselves on us business owners in a way that is hard to plan for.

I’ve been working on my new talk for nearly two months now. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver it this Thursday in Norwalk. Thank goodness for that deadline. But occasionally, when I was working on selecting images for the PowerPoint slides, the lending bank would require me to send them another document ASAP.

My marketing professional sent me web copy to approve just as my real estate agent was requesting that I email her a copy of my current lease agreement.

We entrepreneurs are always juggling work/life. Right now, my life is demanding more of my time than my work, and I’m obeying that call.

One of my work/life mantras is First Things First. It helps me put my priorities in order and do the next right task towards my desired goal.

Since I’ve been involved in the moving process since June, someone asked me recently if I was in my new place yet. I reassured her that when I move she will know. THE WORLD WILL KNOW!! I’m going to shout it from the rooftop of my new building.

Now I can put a big check-mark next to #6 for the time being. Can’t wait to say the same for #’s 4 and 5.

Judy Batalion - Author White Walls

Judy Batalion – Author White Walls

I had the privilege of hearing Judy Batalion speak to a classrooom of writers during a Sue Shapiro seminar last November. Judy is one of Sue’s many success stories–published authors who return to inspire current students and to share that Sue’s methods work.

Judy was a model of Sue’s promise – a former student who had successfully submitted articles for publication, became a regularly featured writer for the NY Times Motherlode feature where she wrote humorously and touchingly about being a parent in the city, and onto become a published author.

Her recently released memoir, White Walls, is a beautifully written recollection of growing up with a mother who was a hoarder. As I read it, I found myself equally open-jawed in disbelief at the imagery the author creates, while also smirking at her wry humor and evaluation of her own familial situation. 

Her deft writing and wise, matured perspective, make for a fascinating read about an eye-opening reality that more and more people are coming to grips with, now that it’s been openly named.

Judy shared generously with our class about her process. She talked about the time sequencing of her book–how it switched chapter to chapter from her past and life at home to her married life in NYC and starting her own family. Hearing how she worked with her publisher was informative and inspiring.

The major question many of us had was how her mother felt about this exposé. Initially, Judy worried about exactly that, but ultimately did give it to her to read. Her mother’s feedback? She thought the ‘tone was off’ in Chapter 20 but otherwise loved it.

Congratulations to Judy for this enormous accomplishment, her courage and her talent!

 

 

Diane's wrapped lozengesBefore we went on break for the holidays, I asked each of the remarkable women in my Mastermind Intensive to share her best marketing tip. They were all exceptional, but when everyone got out of their seats to inspect the packaging and note card that Diane Ripstein displayed, I knew that was the one to emphasize today.

Diane is an expert in all things COMMUNICATION–not only coaching clients to express themselves better, but also as a master of her own creative communication through her one-woman vehicle Move on the Cha-Cha’s. This woman is all about impact.

Here’s an image of her fabulous ‘gifties’ as she calls them. She gets boxes of Slippery Elm Throat Lozenges (which ties into her coaching around speaking), then wraps them in glorious paper and cellophane, then adds a fanciful bow around each one. Included in her gift is a hand-written note addressed to the recipient and signed by her. Isn’t that what we all want? To be singled out, noticed and thought of? Diane does this spectacularly well.

The other brilliant ideas that came from our group were:

  1. Nurturing relationships through regularly scheduled newsletters
  2. Join and become active in your local BNI – Business Network International – 60% of one of my member’s business was attributed to this organization in which she is deeply involved.
  3. Content – Repetition of the message through books, newsletter, blogging, podcasting and in-person presentations positions her as the expert in this area
  4. Word-of-mouth + a special Mothers Day gift mailing to best customers; work displayed in prominent locations where clientele will see it
  5. Company name on mugs that are given to customers
  6. Exhibiting at trade shows + follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
  7. Logo on EVERYTHING
  8. Speaking at events in your industry
  9. A caterer in our group gives out a drop stop (for pouring wine) with her logo on it
  10. Offering women’s gatherings to current clients – who bring a friend – to cross-pollinate and open up new markets
  11. After summer farmer’s market ended, print postcards with contact info and where to get products during the winter

To read about more of the Remarkable Women I Lead:

Read 10 stories of fearless entrepreneurial women and be inspired

 

I wish I could ingest Carolyn See’s book Making a Literary Life and have it swirl around inside me keeping me as inspired and excited about writing as I was in my first moments reading her marvelous words and advice. Ms. See has a success formula that she insists will get you the literary life you’re seeking. I believe her!

Carolyn See – Inspirer

I’ll share just one of her many brilliant, practical and do-able suggestions that she insists you must execute 5 days of week for the rest of your life: send a charming note to someone in the literary world. It can be an author, an editor, an agent or a publisher. It doesn’t need to be long. Just complimentary, charming and not requesting anything in return.

Her point is for you to create a network for yourself in the sphere you are entering. Instead of sending your precious writing off into the universe blindly, you begin to put out threads in what will become a growing web of connection. Find authors you admire and write to them. Look up their agents and thank them. Write to critics and praise their columns. Get your name out there as someone who is interested and interesting.

The Charming Note Stationery I ordered from Etsy.com

Of course, before I could start sending out these charming notes, I had to find the perfect memorable stationery, which I did on easy.com, and then wait for it to arrive. I’ll mail my third charming note tomorrow, not the 5 weekly she insists on. I’m willing to take a little longer to establish my literary life. But I love the process and could not recommend her book more highly.

To demonstrate her own success, there is a blurb on the cover of Making a Literary Life by one of my all-time favorite writers, Anne Lamott. When a colleague of mine had sought Lamott’s words for her own memoir, she was turned away hearing that “Anne has declared a blurbatorium.”

If only my friend had been writing those charming notes like Carolyn See did.

 

Nearly 20 women joined me on Monday night to craft their visions for the near future. The spirit was joyful and productive as, after I’d lectured on the process and its merits, those present spread open their collected magazines and began allowing images and words to speak to them. In under three hours, they accomplished the task.

I wanted to share several photos and some memorable and meaningful quotes from that night.

One particularly industrious participant called herself out on her own behavior. She said with a laugh, “I have all these visions, all the pieces for what I want in my life, but none of them are glued down.”

The most surprised outcome was another woman who had cut out a Barbie doll ad with the phrases: I want to be a doctor. I want to be an astronaut. Etc. She clipped out all the “I want to be” parts and stuck them around her board. When it had been all assembled, she noticed that the centerpiece of her vision were the words WORRY FREE. The “I want to be’s” pointing to what she wants in her future in a way that, unaided, she hadn’t previously articulated, “I want to be…WORRY FREE

The night was such a success that I plan to offer it again in New York City in early 2016. There’s never a wrong time (or a wrong way) to create a vision board. But starting off the year with your innermost desires glued to poster board and displayed where you look at it each day promises manifestation that is hard to dream up alone.

vision board works in progressMeg Barone and vision boardSandy Sergeant contemplating vision boardSuzanne ST with vision board

I’ve been referring to my company, Jane Pollak LLC, as a lifestyle business from the day I started. That means that the business works for me and how I choose to live my life. The business doesn’t dictate to me what’s required. I say what I’m available to give. Not a model for everyone, but for many of you, I know you understand and appreciate the distinction.

Good! Because for the past few weeks, I’ve limited my business to the essentials – leading scheduled groups and meeting with monthly clients. I haven’t been writing, networking or engaging in new conversations with prospects.

Rather, here are the two lifestyle choices I’ve placed ahead of work priorities:

My sister Barbara hosted the most wonderful Thanksgiving dinner a couple of weeks ago. For 4 precious hours, all of my children, their spouses and my two grandchildren were in the same space with me and the rest of my extended family. It was bliss. Can you tell from the photo of me and Owen who’s now 2?

My grandson Owen and I

My grandson Owen and I

 

The other focus of my attention is buying an apartment in NYC. It has been a seemingly endless process from securing a mortgage to filling out a mountainous Board package. Yes, it feels as big as Owen.

But the package has been turned in and the holiday, well, one of them anyway, is behind us. I’m busily and happily back at work and blogging away.

I hope your Thanksgiving was also abundant and that the holidays now and ahead are equally joyful.board package for apartment

the art of the possible

Image on my first vision board

I was sold on the concept of vision boards, dream or treasure maps, whatever you want to call them, since I first heard about them over a decade ago.

I believe in the Law of Attraction – that you draw into your life what you think about. When I was looking to get a new car and wanted to drive a RAV 4 like a friend had, all I saw on I-95 were the unbelievable numbers of RAV 4’s out there.

When my friend Betsy showed us her vision board with a guy on a horse and she explained that she was looking for love at the time, rather than finding an equestrian, she met her future husband, a Sagittarian.Sagittairus

The Universe works in mysterious ways, but it does deliver that which you focus on and define. On my first vision board, in the upper left hand quadrant was the image above. I was attracted to this woman’s engagement in her creative work. I wasn’t sure what it meant in terms of a vision, but I looked at this image daily for months.

Not long after I’d posted my board on the wall of my office, I had breakfast with a colleague. As we were talking about our businesses and future plans, he said, “Jane, you should run a mastermind group for creative women.” I had never put together my skill set and the market I wanted to reach as succinctly as my friend did over coffee and pancakes.

Within a year, I had begun a program, my first intensive, year-long, mastermind group called Jane Pollak’s Arts Forum, affecitionately known among its members as JPAF (jay-paff). I had an extraordinary year with women who took their creativity to levels beyond their imagination – from retired art teacher to exhibiting, award-winning painter, from surface designer to a designer of collections, etc.

What knocked me out was at a session where one of our members had the spotlight. As she was laying out her work on the floor for us to see, I felt a tug on my heart and a flash of recognition. “Hold that pose,” I instructed Malene Barnett, so I could take the shot below. My intuition had recognized my heart’s work before my mind could define it.

And then another image popped up from another creative woman I know, Jeanine Esposito. Look at them then and now.

Ready to make your own vision board? Join me on December 7 at 6pm in Westport. Click here for the details and to register. Your future depends on it.

Malene Barnett - Then

Malene during JPAF days

Malene now!

 

Jeanine Esposito at work

Jeanine now as Founder, with husband Frederic Chiu, of Beechwoods Arts

 

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