Do you have a healthy relationship with money? I used to think that money, or rather desiring money, was evil and selfish. As a child growing up in a religious sect, I was told that “our lot” shouldn’t expect too much in terms of wealth or success. These things were not to be desired or sought after. Instead, I saw many families struggling to get by and yet still giving 20 percent of their income to a church who’s leaders spent it on private jets and gold-lined cake at lavish parties.
Money, or lots of money mean’t opulence, extravagence and profiteering. It represented oppression and power.
As someone who runs a social enterprise, I’ve had to make my peace with money. I’ve recognised that, in order to do more and create the change I want to see happen in the world, I need to have more freedom. But because money was not something I ever respected growing up, it’s been a battle. I’m caught between the desire to keep things affordable for struggling women and to keep life and work sustainable for me and my family. Surely there must be another way to look at this.
Earlier in the year, I had an epiphany. I realised that many women undervalue their worth and their potential, but by doing so, we also enable others to devalue our worth too. It’s why housewives have long been patronised for their contributions to communities and now I’m finding the same is true with work at home mums. Even in the doula world, if you mention the word money, there’s this judgement hanging in the air that maybe you might be more about serving your own interests than the interests of the women you serve. So most doulas don’t charge more than $1500 for a birth, even though, if you broke that down, it would work out to about $5 an hour for some births. Perhaps the answer isn’t to raise our fees, but to look at what else we can do to add value to women’s lives, so that we can truly serve women without burning out and without putting a strain on our families.
The thing is, by pricing our services so low, perhaps we’re creating the perception that our services aren’t valuable. And yet, there isn’t one client I know of who would think that after their baby’s birth. The thing I hear most often is “you should charge more for what you do because it’s priceless.”
Next Wednesday, on day three of the Startup Small — Dream Big — Grow Fast Telesummit, an event I co-created with my mate Stacey Myers, I will be interviewing a relationships expert who is going to be talking all about our relationship with money. As someone who counsels women and couples on relationship issues, Susan Preston said to me that the biggest relationship hurdle is often the one people have with money. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say!
How’s your relationship with money?