Money: How to close the conversation gap with authentic pricing

Money: How to close the conversation gap with authentic pricing

The Work of Byron Katie supports authentic pricingIt’s one of those beautiful situations in which you’re in a great conversation about your work. Everything is going so well.

Until the talk turns to money.

Suddenly you’re out of synch and that wonderful connection you had is broken.

What happened?

Trying to appear disinterested creates a disconnect

Here’s what happens in so many conversations with prospective clients. You don’t want them to think you are in it for the money, and you really don’t want to work for free. Somehow, it seems, you have to manage the conversation so that they don’t think you’re after their money, while simultaneously persuading them that your work is worth paying for.

Do you see the irony? You want more than anything to be sincere and professional, but when you manage the conversation, you risk coming across as manipulative, or clumsy, or both.


That’s why so many conversations in which you try to appear disinterested go wrong. When the reality is that you *do* have a vested interest, trying to repress or deny it creates a disconnect, the opposite of what you intend. To pretend otherwise gets in the way of authentic pricing.

The problem is being in their business

Byron Katie talks about three kinds of business: my business, your business, and God’s business. (If you have trouble with the G word, think of it as Reality’s business.) Being in anyone’s business but your own creates suffering.

When you focus on what prospective clients think of you, there’s nobody on your side. You feel ungrounded and unsupported because you have left your business to hang out in theirs. You’re over there in their heads, and there’s nobody home in yours!

The solution is coming home to your business

Authentic pricing means being in your own business.

Imagine for a moment that you aren’t the least bit worried about what other people in a money conversation are thinking about you.

You have the same set of intentions: to treat them as human beings (not dollar signs) and to be well compensated for your work, but you’re not preoccupied with managing the conversation to control their reactions.

It’s a whole new movie when you let go of the outcome

What they think is their business. The outcome is God’s business. Your business is to be on your own side.

Being on your own side doesn’t mean being terminally self-absorbed, greedy, and wanton. You don’t want to be those things, so why would you choose to be?

(Sure, you can have a greedy thought, but it’s just a thought. It doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t act on it. When you are on your own side you don’t need to act on it because you don’t feel desperate.)

Being on your own side is your job

In a conversation about money (as in every situation), your job is to be on your own side.

When you are on your own side, you can evaluate what’s right for you. You can turn inside when you feel uncertain and affirm your good intentions. You can run the numbers, research the market, and feel into your heart to discover what you want to charge, then ask for it gracefully. You can practice authentic pricing.

When you are on your own side, you free other people to be on their own sides, too. Your job is to tell your truth and make clear requests. Their job is to respond as they see fit.

When you are your own side you can take no with grace

The difference between a request and an ultimatum is that when you make a request, you are willing to take no for an answer. That frees you up to practice authentic pricing.

That’s incredibly liberating. When you are willing to take no for an answer, there’s no limit to what you are free to ask for except your values and imagination. When you are willing to hear no for an answer, your creativity blossoms.

And the key, of course, to being able to take no for an answer is to stay in your business.

To be on your own side.

Being on your side closes the gap

Being on your side closes the gap between you and other people in money conversations. That’s because when you’re at home with you, you’re not trying to manage their perceptions or reactions. You are present and available.

That’s a good place from which to have a good conversation about money.

Photo by Florian SEROUSSI via Flickr


  1. Steven Washer

    And you can take that advice to the bank! 🙂

    Beautifully stated, Molly. I hope every “allergic to sales” professional sees this post.

    • Molly

      Thanks, Steven!

  2. Paula

    Thank you very much for this insight: “When you are willing to take no for an answer…” That’s exactly what I need to be clear on when I set a price or offer a quotation. Is the price right, even if the client says no? Then the price is what it is. I love it!

    • Molly


  3. Jeanine

    I need an example of how this conversation looks between 2 people. Thanks.

    • Molly

      The key to this conversation is not what is said, but how you say it and how you respond to what the other person says. Staying in your own business looks like being honest and clear with yourself about what you charge, then simply stating your price when asked. No defense. No justification. No anticipating what the other person will say.

  4. Alice Risemberg ~ Reiki Pulse

    Molly, this is terrific, thank you.

    Like Paula in the comments above, I particularly responded to being open to no as an answer. You articulate that simply and clearly here. A while back, when I truly understood that, it was a turning point for me in my own conversations about money, as well as conversations about offering support through the work I do.

    Let’s face it, I like to be in charge of my own decisions and well-being. So why wouldn’t I hold these conversations giving others the same spaciousness around their own decisions?

    A liberating win-win! And the kicker to me was how much more fun those conversations became. To go from inner flinching when the topic of money arose to enjoying just another intriguing two-way exchange was fantastic.

    Thank you again for this excellent post and many others along the way.


    • Molly

      Again, the freedom. So true. And yes, these conversations can be fun. After all, you get to talk about what you love to do!

  5. Karen Blanchet

    Sooooo good! I totally agree that embracing ‘no’ is a ticket to freedom. I have also noticed that the transition into that freedom is necessary with every enterprise. This, of course, means I must own my own business and stay out of others’. Thank you for the clarity Molly.

    • Molly

      I love that you brought freedom into the conversation about authentic pricing!

  6. Judy Voruz

    This whole area gets tricky for me because of the values part of the issue. My value says I want everyone to have the opportunity that wants it to be able to afford it. Now, this doesn’t square with charging a fee that may be well beyond what many can afford. I would love some input on how to reconcile this with being paid well for what I do.

    • Molly

      Many different values come into play here, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some things to consider:

      • What do you need to earn so that you are able to do your best work without worry and resentment?
      • What cash flow does your business need to be healthy? When your business is healthy you can afford to be generous. When your business is unhealthy, your generosity may become strained and self-conscious.
      • If you are in a service profession, consider reserving some of your appointment time for reduced-fee clients. For example, a bodyworker who’s optimum practice serves 20 clients a week might set aside 2 or 3 appointments. When all of those are filled, people go on a waiting list until the next space opens.
      • There is nothing that says you can’t negotiate your fees on a case-by-case basis. I would caution you against making assumptions, however, about what another person can or will pay. I’ve offered discounts only to find that the client was taking what to me was an exotic and expensive vacation.

      One of the things authentic pricing means is being a good steward of your business so that it can be a robust vehicle through which you serve others.

  7. Bronwyn Berman

    Interesting that this should come through today, I have had a ‘money’ week, After receiving the information that I will need a certain amount of funds by a certain date, I told a client who was offering me too little for my work that I felt it was too low and told her the real price, and another person who wanted a piece for a charity auction (it will be great advertising for you etc etc etc) that I wasn’t prepared to work for nothing. My attitude towards money and the value of my work is changing, this is timely information and good advice, thanks.

    • Molly

      I’m glad the timing is good, Bronwyn.

      One indication that we are in someone else’s business and charging too little is resentment.

  8. Nancy Lundy

    Great article, Molly…I love the reminding of Byron Katie’s three businesses. I’ve spent so much time in other people’s business…now it’s time to stay in my own…

    Favorite part: What they think is their business. The outcome is God’s business. Your business is to be on your own side. LOVE THIS!

    Thanks, nancy

    • Molly

  9. Vendor Log

    Your aritcle is full of useful information. keep it up. Interesting, clear and precise. I like this one Molly.


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