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What Am I Worth?

Posted by Whitney Hess, PCC | November 5, 2018 | Comments (4)

When I first started my business, I was designing websites for friends. My first client was willing to pay me $1,000. I thought I’d struck gold! I needed someone to help me, so I hired a friend from work. He charged me $500 for his side, so I thought I was raking in 50 percent profit. Nice work me!

After the first iteration, my client wanted so many changes that I had to go back to my friend for more help. This time he had to charge me $1000. I didn’t know how to do the work myself, so I had no choice but to pay him.

So, for my business’s very first job, I paid $500 for my client to get a new website.

I’ll never make that mistake again.

Thirteen years later, and I find myself as a professional certified coach. I didn’t see that one coming! But as soon as I made the decision to bring coaching into my business, I also made the commitment to myself that I would always charge whatever I needed to keep this business going. Nothing is more important to me than being available to those who need me. And I absolutely can’t achieve that if my business goes under.

What follows are the tools I have developed over the last four years to run my coaching practice successfully and sustainably. I’ve made these systems myself, and they are certainly not scientific, but they help give me structure in what is otherwise a very nebulous business.

These tools help me define what I’m selling, price my services accurately and fairly, offer flexibility in pricing when my clients need it, and keep track of everyone who shows interest in my work. That way, I can efficiently and effectively turn the best leads into paying clients—or quickly move on. I hope these systems work for you or inspire you to create some of your own.

Package Options

Let’s face it. We’re never going to be able to guess exactly what our client needs or how much they’re willing to pay, but they also shouldn’t define our business for us. That’s why I like to offer my prospective clients three package options to choose from. Think small, medium and large. The prices vary widely, and so do the offerings. My base package is biweekly sessions and very little else. My middle package includes things like recordings, documentation, a single assessment and other relevant services. My premium package includes everything under the sun I could imagine any coaching client of mine ever wanting. By letting them choose which one works for them, I avoid the awkward conversations—as well as leaving money on the table.

Pricing Calculator

I figured out the price tag to put on each of these packages using a handy calculator that I created easily in a spreadsheet. In it, I have line items accounting for every single thing I do in a coaching engagement. And I mean Every. Single. Thing. Yes, the session times, but also time spent emailing, time spent traveling, time spent documenting and running assessments, and even time I spend in the sales process itself.

I total up all the hours I’m committing at each package level, and then divide the potential package price by those hours to see what my per hour rate ends up being. From that I subtract my cost of doing business (i.e., the hourly rate I pay myself—I am an employee of my business after all!), and from there I learn what my business’s profit margin will be. I never let my profit margin fall beneath 50 percent. That’s a personal choice, but one that I’ve found works well for my business and for me.

Sales Checklist

Sending my prospects these packages falls somewhere in the middle of my sales process. I’ve created a checklist of all the steps that I must go through in order to successfully move a lead to a prospect to a paying client. I’ve reverse-engineered those steps from looking back at when I did well versus when I didn’t.

When a new lead lands in my inbox, we communicate a little over email, we eventually move to a phone call, and if they’re still interested, I send the package options. Always following specific steps in a specific order gives me a repeatable approach that I know works for me and prevents me from having to remember what to do next every time.



After all, the less time I spend stuck in the mechanics of running my business, the more time I have for doing what really matters: being present in the moment. And to me, that is worth everything.



 ©2018 Whitney Georgina Hess. All Rights Reserved.

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Whitney Hess, PCC

Whitney Hess, PCC, is a coach, writer and designer on a mission to put humanity back into business. She helps leaders and teams bring their whole selves to their work. Whitney believes empathy builds empires. Her workshop “What Am I Worth?” has been featured at ICF Converge 2017 and ICF Chapter meetings.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (4)

  1. Dee says:

    This article was an interesting read and eye opener. Can you provide what assessment do you utilize in your package, and is this assessment process drawing in your clientele? Thank you for sharing.

    • Dee, thank you so much for your question. Currently my mid-tier package includes a single assessment and my top-tier package includes multiple assessments. In both cases, the assessments are determined along the way with my clients; I don’t pre-select them nor do I administer them prior to intake. As my client’s needs and desires emerge throughout our coaching, I offer the assessment(s) that is the best fit. Some I am certified in administering, others are available to the public. I do not believe assessments play much of a role in attracting my prospects. I hope this helps!

  2. sdstaples@gmail.com says:

    Thanks for a great primer on your system, Whitney… I love systems! Do you offer a training on this to help other coaches create the same thing for themselves?

    • Whitney Hess says:

      Hi and thank you so much for your comment. I have held many workshops on these business systems — including at ICF Converge 2017 and several local chapter meetings — as well as coaching coaches 1-on-1 in how to implement these systems in their own businesses. Please feel free to reach out anytime at whitney@whitneyhess.com. Thank you!

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