I just had the call. The best kind of call. The ones that make me love my job and doing what I do!

This call was from an experienced marketing manager who was made redundant during her maternity leave. Somehow, through some loop-hole, her new boss decided to cut her loose by blaming organisational restructuring and offering her an assistant role instead of her managerial role. It was clear to her that there was no future at this company.

So she left. Head high and optimistic as always, she decided to start her own business as a marketing consultant and within a couple of weeks, she had secured her first assignment.

All was well and good. For a while. But, towards the end of her maternity leave, fear and doubt started to creep in.

”What have I done? I’m a single mum with a baby and a business. Is this really sustainable? What if I don’t get any clients?” All kinds of negative thoughts went through her head.

But then it happened, the rumours had already spread that she was open for business and a new potential client knocked on her door.

She called me and asked: “What should I charge? I desperately need this assignment!” Her first instinct was to go in with a low fee to secure the job.

Stop! As the self-proclaimed Fairy God Mother of Women Entrepreneurs, I gave her “The Talk” which includes the three key pieces of advice on writing a winning proposal:

Be clear about the problem you solve. What is the transformation that your client will have, thanks to your service or product? Formulating the end result shows that you understand the client’s perspective.

State the investment required to get the problem solved. The price should come early in your proposal. Your clients will always look for the price first! Therefore, help them by stating it upfront. And call it the investment, not the price. Again, you want to remind them that you solve a problem! Using the word “investment” signals that you are confident about your work.

Never sell yourself short. Your proposal should reflect your experience and your ability to deliver valuable results. Not how many hours it will take you to complete a task. It’s incredibly important to understand the true cost of providing service. Take a look at your direct and overhead expenses, as well as the salary you want to earn. Most importantly, your fee should be high enough to feel good to you.

So she did exactly what I told her, and today she called me. They have accepted her offer!

Hooray!! Not only did her proposal reflect her worth as an experienced marketing consultant, she now feels valued and motivated to exceed expectations. It’s a win-win.

As business owners, we often feel the need to compensate for our lack of security (our fear!) by undercharging for the value we deliver.

But the truth is – we should do the opposite. The fact that we are brave enough to risk the security of employment to work with what we truly love and enjoy, is worth a lot! So never sell yourself short!

Miki xx