Mel Robbins, on charging what you’re worth

December 2016 issue

Mel Robbins, on charging what you’re worth

Who wouldn’t want to make life- and work-affirming self-improvements in seconds? Mel Robbins promises that opportunity is real. Robbins, a speaker, author, and CNN commentator, will deliver the keynote address at Imaging USA 2017 in January in San Antonio. She’ll provide insights into her five-second rule, a mental trick you can use to incite positive behavioral changes in yourself.

What advice do you have for photographers struggling to price themselves at the level they deserve?

Robbins:  Confidence is a skill that you build, not something that you’re born with. At the beginning of your career you’re going to low-ball yourself because you don’t have the confidence yet; you haven’t had enough jobs yet. But what’s going to happen is that you’re going to get booked with a level of frequency that all of sudden your inner wisdom says, I don’t want to do this for X. You’re going to start getting annoyed at what you’re being paid.

Isn’t being annoyed a bad thing?

Robbins: Being annoyed is wisdom, and ignoring it undermines your confidence. Each time you have the feeling that you should raise your prices and you don’t act on that, you’re proving to yourself that your instincts aren’t worth listening to. Confidence is the ability to trust the inner guidance that’s constantly talking to you.

How do you put that wisdom into action?

Robbins: Write down the number you want to charge and vow that the next call you receive from a potential client, you’ll quote that number. If the client balks, say, No problem, I’ll refer you to somebody who is less expensive. Don’t come down on your price; you don’t want to build a reputation that you’ll drop your rate if pressured.

“That is a moment of courage,” Robbins says. And it’s one of the things she’ll discuss at Imaging USA, Jan. 8-10, 2017: “How you find the courage you need every single day to stand by your beliefs and believe in yourself.”  

Get convention registration and accommodation information at

Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer. 

Tags: pricingsales

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