Often as a health coach I get asked the question ‘why can’t you offer your services for free?’
As a single woman entrepreneur living in an increasingly expensive world, it’s a question which really frustrates me, because believe me, if I could offer my coaching services for free, I would!
Despite the fact that I do offer many free webinars, free introductory online programs and free podcasts, which take many hours and sometimes days to prepare and create, I do need to charge for my services.
So for all those people out there who wonder why I, or other coaches, cannot offer our services for free, here are 5 reasons why our services need to paid for and essentially are worth their weight in gold:
1. We need money to survive!
Yes, I know this may sound crazy, but we actually live in a world where money is the form of exchange for a number of basic needs and services such as rent, bills, food, petrol, clothes, toiletries, taxes, holidays (yes, we deserve and need holidays!)…
I’m sure you already know that money is the main form of payment these days, but it seems to me that the people who ask if my services can be free don’t seem to realize this! “Do these people not need money themselves to live?” I often ask myself!
Over and above everyday living expenses, I think another fact which most would-be-potential clients are unaware of, (and I certainly was before I started a business) is the enormous costs involved in running a business…
2. Yes, it takes money to run a business!
The definition of a business is an entity which offers a product or service in exchange for money which makes a profit. Whilst many (most) coaches start their practice out of pure love for the work they do, and many start it on the side as a hobby, the reality is running a business costs money.
Every week there are massive business overheads which anyone who has never run their own business may be unaware of…
…clinic rent, phone lines, internet fees, digital software fees for running webinars, membership site fees, email newsletters marketing fees, online booking system fees, virtual assistants wages, advertising fees, marketing budgets, website fees, domain name fees, business advisor fees, accountant fees, accounting software fees, taxes, GST (VAT), professional development training fees, marketing training fees, association membership fees, insurance fees, CPD training fees, the list goes on…
Seriously! It’s a long list, costing hundreds and more usually thousands of dollars a month. There is no getting away from these expenses if one wants to run a business and offer services to people.
In addition, the more ‘service’ based (as opposed to ‘product’ based) a business is, the more one has to charge, because a service-based business does not have the luxury or leeway of the product ‘mark up’ (wholesale to retail) advantage. For example, whilst a naturopath will sell supplements at retail price, and often make their main profit from products rather than consultation fees, a service-based coach can only charge for their time.
It wasn’t until I did a business course years ago that I realized two other interesting facts about running a business:
- When you calculate your hourly client rate, you have to take into consideration that this hourly rate must include all the business expenses (mentioned above) that go into running the business as a whole, plus making a living and hopefully (see below) a profit. That means everything!
- As a health coach it is not possible to spend 40 hours a week seeing clients: time has to be allocated for administration, sales, marketing, graphic design, website updates, accounting, meetings, professional development and more, plus one has to allocate time in between client sessions to rest and prepare. This radically reduces the amount of real available time for appointments, something which most clients are unaware of!
So please, next time you ask yourself ‘why can’t this therapist offer their services for free?‘, please consider the enormous and very real costs and time involved in running a business.
3. We need and deserve to make a profit
Yes, a business, in order to survive, actually needs to make a profit. That means that more money comes in than goes out each month after business expenses and taxes.
I’ll be brutally honest here. Last year was the first year, since I started my practice in 2006, that I made a small profit!
Week after week I have often found myself wondering if I can pay my rent or bills. Often I have had to buy food and essential living items, or even had to pay bills, using my credit card. Often I have put myself into debt to keep running my business. Often I have asked myself “why on earth am I doing this, why do I keep going, when I would be far better off financially if I just had a desk job?”
The answer? Because I believe in the work I do, (as do most caring therapists who are in the world with a mission to help others), I believe in the value I am offering and that the world, and I know that people need and want the life-changing information I have to offer.
This is what keeps me going, and believe me, sometimes I think I really must be quite mad! But something deep inside keeps me going in the hope that one day I will start making a decent profit, and more to the point, that I deserve to be doing so.
I cannot tell you the number of coaches I know who every week struggle to survive and keep their business going, but this is not a known fact to the general public when they are viewing their service prices.
And when I get feedback from clients, such as this just last week, I know that what I am doing is of priceless value:
“After just a few weeks of working with you, I now really believe I can get better. It’s so absolutely amazingly brilliant! I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled to bits I am. I can see the change in mindset as well as physically. Symptoms aren’t anything like what they were. It’s been a very humbling experience. Mind-blowing actually”.
Which brings me to the next point…
4. We are offering value which needs to be valued
One of the major lessons I have learnt over 25 years of studying and training in the field of personal development and health services is this:
In order to be able to offer the (quite literally) life-changing services which we offer, as therapists or coaches we have had to go through the learning and personal transformation first ourselves. And then we have to train professionally to offer professional services to others.
This means firstly we have had to dig deep inside ourselves to find what needs to be healed and transformed, and then done what it takes to heal and transform it. This takes great courage, tenacity, perseverance, commitment and time.
Secondly, in order to become a health professional we are going to have to do a lot of professional training, which costs a lot of money!
Personally I have invested at least $250,000 (yes, you read that correctly) to pay for the healing and training I have gone through myself, including seeing therapists, travelling overseas, a huge number of professional trainings and more. And it is ongoing, it never stops.
This journey to understanding health and wellness has been a huge personal and professional journey, which has come at a cost, including even having to sell my house to live.
I have personally dedicated the last 25 years of my life to learning how to clear emotional trauma and physical illness without medication or supplements. This is valuable and cutting-edge information in a world which relies mostly on drugs or surgery to solve problems which can actually be solved without medication or surgery if you know how. And I know how!
So the bottom line is, these enormous and ongoing costs need to be recouped, and the value of the knowledge and wisdom gained through years of personal and professional development needs to be recognized by any client wanting the knowledge, wisdom or services offered by any well trained, skilled and experienced therapist.
5. There needs to be ‘skin in the game’
Another important fact I have observed over the years when it comes to a client-therapist relationship is this:
There needs to be skin in the game!
What does this mean?
It means that if you really want something, you need to be willing to give something up to get it.
For example, if you see a nice handbag or pair of shoes, you are going to have to give up some of your hard-earned cash to buy it. Or if you want a holiday or car, you are going to have to pay for it. And usually, the higher the quality car, the more you are going to pay for it.
I have also found it interesting how people will pay thousands of dollars for other types of coaching, and yet when it comes to natural health, it is considered a ‘low value’ commodity:
Whilst people will often spend thousands of dollars on conventional medicine (surgery and specialist medication) somehow natural therapies are seen as inferior, despite the fact they can often help people recover without the need for medication or surgery.*
Also, it seems that somehow our health needs rate differently to other needs in our life:
People will often pay high amounts for other types of health services, such as fitness coaching. I know a coach who charges $40,000 for a 3 month fitness program!
Recently I approached two business coaches for business coaching, to discover their fees were around $25,000 for 3-12 months coaching, and it seems these fees are quite normal in the business world. And yet I would find it almost impossible to ask clients to pay such an amount for my services, and cannot myself pay for this level of coaching.
So why is it that people expect not to pay for extraordinary healthcare, when they will pay a high price for a new sofa, car, holiday or other coaching services?
Well I find there are two core reasons:
- A lot of it comes down to the fact that we have been conditioned in society to expect free healthcare, and to expect that good health will come without doing anything to maintain or achieve it ourselves.
We have not been taught that good health requires a preventative maintenance approach (in order to avoid illness) and that if we get ill, we have gone off track in our life, and there are changes to be made in order to reverse the end result of illness. We are simply unaware of the literal and metaphorical cost of illness or health, and what it takes to get it back.
I find it extraordinary, now that I understand in depth this topic of health, how people are prepared to pay for cigarettes, junk food, new sofas, new cars, lotto tickets and holidays, which means they value these commodities, but are not prepared to pay for good health, which means they do not value their health, or themselves, which means at a core level they do not regard themselves as the most important thing in their lives!
Which brings me to the second reason:
2. At a core level we don’t feel worthy of spending this money on ourselves, or we don’t want the change enough, which actually also means at a core unconscious level we don’t feel worthy of spending this money on ourselves!
So why is this?
Since working in clinical practice I have noticed several common themes in every client I have worked with who finds themself ill or unhappy in life:
- At a deep core (unconscious) level they do not feel of value
- At a deep core level they do not feel worthy… of love, happiness, success
- At a deep core level they do not feel deserving… of love, happiness, success…
- At a deep core level they do not feel good enough… to have love, happiness, success…
- At a deep core level they do not feel enough.
This is in fact what unconsciously leads us to becoming ill and unhappy. And this is what needs to be addressed in order to become truly happy and well. This is what I offer people. This is the value I offer people: to develop true self esteem, self confidence, self belief, self worth. The absolute knowing that they ARE good enough, and that they deserve to have the help and guidance to achieve this. And when we value ourselves and know we are deserving of happiness and success, we will have our health, because the two go hand in hand.
Because, you see, the reality is, if we don’t have our health and happiness (and health is an offshoot of authentic happiness) we cannot live our life successfully, we cannot achieve our potential, we cannot have fun, we cannot achieve our dreams, and more importantly, we cannot serve the world. Without our health and happiness we are just surviving, and never thriving.
So the question is, do you value yourself enough to make yourself YOUR priority in life, to put yourself first, to see that the number one thing you need to invest in is YOU?
If so you will see the value in a therapist or health coach. You will see that by transforming (and I literally mean change that doesn’t reverse) yourself from the inside out, your life will transform on the outside too. When you know you are deserving of love, success and happiness, you will be able to achieve what you want in life in terms of work, career, relationships, abundance. But it all starts with inner transformation.
So the real question here is, do you feel you deserve to invest in you and your future? Is this transformation and end-result worth paying for? Are you worth it?
If the answer is no, then there is personal change work to be done at a core level. If the answer is yes, then you will know that you desire this change enough to be ready to pay for it.
And that my friend is why transformational personal development and health coaching services will be one of the most valuable services you will ever pay for in your life!