“Do you really have the expertise to charge that?”
“What makes you think people will pay those prices?”
“I wouldn’t pay that amount for what you do.”
“I’ve priced the same service, from someone with more name recognition, and it was less than half of what you’re asking.”
Ouch. These pronouncements were delivered by my good friend and colleague after I announced my increased rates for my fledgling business. Because my friend is in a related industry and in the position to recommend my services to clients (and actually got me my first gig!), her words carried more weight than casual observances.
In fact, her comments were exact replicas of ones I had said to my very own self, at the outset of my journey to uplevel my business and earn what I’m worth. Now, coming back to me from an industry professional, they sounded all the more plausible.
It was something of a shock to have my plans shot down in such a way. But I resolved to turn the situation into a learning experience and use it for my gain.
As you move forward in your pursuit of the finer things and discuss your plans and goals, you’ll come across what I call “The Credible Critic.” These are people whose opinions you value, who are knowledgeable in your industry, whose words have the ring of truth.
Usually, this is where you’d get the advice to simply ignore them, or to cut them out of your life, or to stop talking about your plans. Let me explain why you should do the opposite of all three:
Don’t Ignore, Analyze
Think of the Credible Critic’s words as a sneak preview of future objections. If you don’t yet have solid responses to their concerns, sincerely thank them for providing you with a blueprint of questions you’ll need to develop the best answers to.
Other people who learn about your ideas will have these same questions, and you’ll come out ahead to already be prepared for them. Think of it as market research.
Also, when you have a narrowly defined market, your Credible Critic may not be a part of your demographic. When you go to position yourself in the marketplace, your messaging will be much more targeted and your conversations with people who are actually slated to need your services or product.
Don’t Remove, Observe
If you admire or look up to your Credible Critic, don’t cut them out of your life. Keep them around to study how they’ve become successful. Ask yourself, what is it about this person that makes me respect them and take their words as truth? Is it their confidence? The way they position their
accomplishments? Examine the source of their credibility. Mine those factors to add to your own personal presentation, so that your pronouncements have just as much weight.
Don’t Stop Sharing, Stop Caring
We’ve all heard “don’t talk about it, be about it.” We might hold our plans and goals close to our vests so we don’t have to hear anyone’s mouth. The embarrassment of making grandiose announcements that amount to nothing is enough to keep our lips zipped when it comes to our dreams of betterment.
But I’ve seen personally how talking about your dreams brings them to life. Scripture says the power of life and death is in the tongue. When I moved to Atlanta from Detroit, it started with a decision that I began to tell everyone. I was so in the practice of saying “I’m moving to Atlanta,” that I announced it to an acquaintance at my class reunion who already lived there. She was integral in helping me secure somewhere to live and a job when I arrived.
Ironically, because I talked about the process of writing my book so knowledgably (before it was even done), I was tapped to collaborate on another book-writing project—before my book was even finished. When you keep mum about your plans and their progress, true, critics can’t shoot down your dreams. But angels also can’t find ways to help you! Heed
the saying “a closed mouth don’t get fed.”
But make sure when you tell people about your plans, you detach from the outcome. Maybe they’re someone who can assist you. Maybe they’re a detractor. Either way, you’re going to be moving forward with your plans—no matter what.
Maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you don’t. My motto is “let’s find out!”