The Story

5 Reasons Why We Undervalue Ourselves and Our Companies

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Advice

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Regardless if you are male or female, executive or entrepreneur, every day you deal with your worst critic: yourself. Each day you have a little voice that taunts you about how you’re not worth the amount for the project you’re bidding on; or if you don’t lower your prices to an unsustainable level, you’ll never get any client.

The danger of continually undervaluing yourself and/or company will have a negative effect on both. You’ll start to truly believe that you’re only worth miniscule projects, or projects that aren’t past a certain dollar sign range. It is a psychological snowball effect.

There is no shame taking a break, admitting that you are tired, and treating yourself with dignity and respect.

So why do we do it?

  1. You truly, madly, deeply want client X, Y, Z at every cost.
    There is a limit that everyone and every company has. Some companies underbid projects, then charge clients extra. This business “model” does come back to haunt you. 10 to 20 years ago, this may have worked well, as there were little competitors. In this day and age, it is no longer the case. Occasionally, you may have to charge extra, but not for underbidding. Do not use this method as a business model.If you truly want a certain client, ask yourself if it is really worth sacrificing your name and/or your company in the process? No matter how desperate you get, no client is worth you or your company’s integrity. Read that again and again until you really understand and believe it. There will always be issues with clients, there will always be not enough clients, there will always be problems. Integrity – as owners, entrepreneurs, businesses – is all we really have left.
  2. You’re trying to compete with Y competitor, especially Y competitor who offers 50 workers at $5-$10/hour.
    My question for you is, why are you competing with them? Are you trying to set yourself up for an unnecessary failure? Why are you valuing your services and your abilities at such a low cost? You and your company are worth more than the lowest charged hourly rate. Regardless if you went to school and received a degree, or are a self-taught engineer who’s winging it, your services are priceless and cannot be replaced. You may think at $10/hour you’re getting or giving a bargain, but it is only a short term gain. Six months to one year from now, that client who chose that rate will be hiring the $50-$350/hour rates to fix the mess that the previous contractors did. Clients may appreciate lower prices, but being cheap also screams that they do not value yourself or your services. It’s a double-edged sword.
  3. You don’t believe you’d get X amount for project.
    Not believing you’d get the project bid amount is one of the worst mentalities to have as any worker or executive. You never know unless you actually bid at that amount. Go with your gut instinct, not what your mind tells you. Be reasonable, but don’t under value yourself or the project. It’s better to overbid and have room to negotiate then to underbid and get stuck, well, charging extra.

    That client who chose that rate will be hiring the $50-$350/hour rates to fix the mess that the previous contractors did.

  4. You don’t believe you deserve X amount for project.
    Not believing you genuinely deserve the project bid amount is the worst mentality to have as any worker or executive. Everyone has this problem. I am not talking about entitlement or what your ego tells you, I am talking about the genuine feeling that you do not deserve to have a high-paying project. This feeling sits in your gut and heart, and you listen to it almost every time it says anything about a project, about asking for a raise, about living your life.This fear has no place in business. 
  5. You’re depressed, and believe that all avenues, even negative, must be entertained.
    Look at #4: fear has no place in business. Depression itself is a very difficult mental state to deal with, and when you are an entrepreneur on your last leg, or running a company, the situation may look even more depressing and disheartening than it really is. If this is the case, you need to step back and take a break. Reevaluate yourself. You will make (more) reckless decisions that will have a negative effect on yourself and your company. You deserve better, and your company deserves better. There is no shame taking a break, admitting that you are tired, and treating yourself with dignity and respect.

After all, when your best friend is sick, you tell them to rest. Why don’t you do the same for yourself?

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About Author

Sarah created Immortal Design in 2010, realizing that many operating costs could be cut down with the proper integration of revolutionary technology and human capital. She has a a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science (2010) and Masters of Science degree in Software Development (2011) from Loyola University, Chicago. When she is not developing artificial intelligence programs, websites or software, she is an animal activist, and loves cheese, and wine, but not necessarily at the same time. She can be reached at sarah [at] immortaldc.com; or (312) 789-4641.