Feb 15, 2021

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Why We Emotionally Discount


(and how to move past it)

Text reads "3 ways to stop giving emotional discounts" over an image of Dawn with a messy bun in her pjs sitting in her bed, she is looking down at her phone

“you need to separate yourself from your business”

Hands up if you’ve ever emotionally discounted a client? ‍♀️ Yup, that’s what we’re talking all about in this episode of The Anxious Creative. We’re gonna talk about that feeling that you get in your stomach when you just wanna help someone out, or you’re scared of the price so you just go ahead and dock $20, or maybe it’s a little bit more…

You can also listen and subscribe to The Anxious Creative on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify.

Hands up if you’ve ever emotionally discounted a client? ‍♀️

Yup, that’s what we’re talking all about in this episode of The Anxious Creative. We’re gonna talk about that feeling that you get in your stomach when you just wanna help someone out, or you’re scared of the price so you just go ahead and dock $20, or maybe it’s a little bit more…

Maybe you calculate their service price and you just can’t bring yourself to charge your client the full price. 

We’re diving into why we emotionally discount and how to move past it. This is gonna be a good one. 

Going Out on My Own

In 2010 I decided to start my own salon. I had been a commission stylist for 9 years and I’d worked all over the globe, but I was finally ready to do things my own way. 

I had always wanted to be my own boss, but I had it too good at the salon I was working at to leave. My boss was awesome. She was always willing to work with us and come up with solutions. I worked hard for her because she showed her appreciation. 

If she hadn’t sold the salon to another owner, I might not have ever left. 

So I went from working in a big salon with 10-15 other stylists, estheticians, and a full-time receptionist to being entirely on my own. 

I gotta be honest, seeing all the money come into my bank account was pretty awesome. But it was nerve-wracking to be the one who took the money from the customers. 

I had a weird relationship with money. I always felt like I was somehow gouging my clients, taking the money directly out of their pockets and putting it into mine. 

You see I never took the time to actually understand my finances. It always sounded too scary and hard and I’m “just a hairstylist”. This was an internalized belief from someone demeaning the industry. I let that stick with me and grow and fester until I believed it myself. 

I always felt weird about taking money from my clients. Before I started using SalonScale, I had no idea what the cost of my services was. 

I knew I had rent, bills, product, back-bar, cleaning supplies, etc that I was paying for. But I never thought that that’s a percentage of a client’s service as well. They’re not only paying for their hair, but they’re paying for my business to stay open. 

I always banked on “what am I worth”, but the thing is, it’s not just about your personal worth, it’s about what your business is costing you as well. 

The Money Mindset

I had a really unhealthy mindset and relationship with money. Most of us have this number in our mind that if we charge someone above that, we feel guilty. 

For me, that number was $200.

I remember I had a client whose service price rang up to maybe $180, and then they decided to get about 5 retail products that pushed the total over that $200 line. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that their total was $275, so I discounted their service price. 

Yup. I felt so uncomfortable about money. 

I realize now that it boiled down to I didn’t know how to have a conversation about money. I wouldn’t tell people their price until the very end of their appointment. Really, I was terrible at running my business. I didn’t have any idea what to do, I had absolutely zero insight and there was no one in our industry sharing this information. 

That’s why I’m talking so openly about this. I want to be the person I wish I would’ve had. 

The Charging Triangle

One of the most important things when it comes to stopping emotional discounts is separating yourself from your business. 

The easiest way to break this down is with this handy graphic:

The Charging Triangle graphic. At the top of the triangle is "Your business pay bills" with an arrow to the left corner is "you: what's left over" and the right corner is "your clients pays for the service" with an arrow to your business

As you can see, the money isn’t going to you, it’s going to your business, and then if there’s anything left over, then that goes to you. 

Although taking cash can feel like it’s putting it directly into our pockets, it’s important to understand that it’s going to the business first. 

Speaking Their Language

Take a moment to think about this: your doctor, lawyer or therapist doesn’t discount when you’ve had a bad day, so why do you?

Let’s be real, therapists hear a LOT about people’s bad days, they’re constantly being told about shitty situations; they’re the professional, that’s what they’re there for. 

So when a client comes in and sits down and starts talking about how broke they are, don’t automatically assume they’re asking for a discount or that they can’t afford it. They might just be comfortable enough with you that they’re talking to you like a friend.

Remember, they’re in your chair knowing full well that they are paying you for a service.

Can you go above and beyond because you love and care for them? Absolutely. But emotional discounting isn’t the one and only way to show appreciation. There are so many other ways that you can show your appreciation to your clients. 

To find other ways, it’s important to know about the 5 love languages: acts of service, gifts, physical touch, quality time and words of affirmation. 

Did you know that very few people actually have “gifts” as their love language? 

Although we might automatically think we should give them a discount, there are so many different ways to show people that we care about them. Things like, giving an extra long scalp massage, giving them extra time if you have it to just chat, sharing positive words, or if you do want to gift them, you can give them a sample size or a product. 

By gifting someone a product it shows them that you’re going above and beyond for them and they also might buy it again later. But stop thinking you need to discount your services. 

When you discount your service you’re showing your clients that you’re really only worth that price. And what happens the next time they come in and are having a bad day?

And let’s be honest, a lot of times we don’t even let our clients know we’re giving them a discount. 

And no one is going to thank you for a gift they didn’t know they got. 

Again, it all boils down to communication. My free on-demand consultation workshop is all about that. It helps you set those things up in the beginning. It’s never too late to restart those things with your existing clients as well. 

By setting that up in the beginning you’re starting with a strong foundation of how they’re going to trust, respect and be loyal to you and treat you with authority. 

I hope this has gotten the wheel’s turning for you. Starting to think about how your conversations can be different. How can you talk about money up front?

If you want a proven, step-by-step plan and guide of exactly how to do that, you can check out my free on-demand consultation workshop. I think you’re going to love it. This includes my exact consultation form of how to set up the relationship with your clients moving forward, so that they are wanting to pay you.

It’s been a blast! We’ll see ya in the next episode. 

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I am just a small-town, Canadian gal from the prairies who teaches thousands of creatives around the globe how to earn 6-figures stress-free!

Hey, I’m Dawn!

“Rock Your Business” Course Creator, Host of “The Anxious Creative” Podcast. Named by Salon Magazine as Canada’s #1 women of influence.

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