I am no longer the person I was in 2017.
I have grown so much since then—as a business owner, as someone who recognises my own worth, and as a coach.
This was necessary in order for me to see traction, growth and success in my business. And while I have learned so much along the way, I wanted to share three key mindset shifts that have changed the way I show up, the actions I take, the beliefs I now have, and the success habits I’ve created.
I believe this can help both authors and creative biz owners alike, but especially anyone struggling to price themselves well, show up and sell, and invest in themselves.
SHIFT #1 | My mindset around pricing—I’ve mentioned countless times that I was severely undercharging for my services in my first year. Even when it came to gaining experience, I could have been charging more than I was for my first few clients.
That has completely shifted. I no longer under-price or undervalue myself, but it’s not limited to that either.
I don’t discount my offers when people tell me “they can’t afford it”. I further communicate the value of my offer to them, or down sell a similar offer.
This has been a huge gamechanger in making sure that:
1) I get paid and well compensated for my time and energy.
2) The client actually gets results because they’re invested, committed and aren’t acting from a place of scarcity.
3) I attract the right clients to my offers—instead of freebie seekers, people who think everything is too expensive, or people who aren’t ready to invest in themselves seriously.
It wasn’t so easy in my first year to see the value in my own offer—so no wonder I couldn’t sell it. But gaining experience and working on my money mindset helped with this.
I’ve gone from charging $100 for a random coaching session, to $350 for a one-off that solves a specific problem, or a 6-month package for $5,000—and my courses and programs are priced anywhere in between depending on the value and transformation they provide. I feel good about my pricing, and I feel good about the kinds of clients I attract and work with as a result.
(Two coaches that really helped me with mindset and pricing were Sabrina Philip and Susi Kaefer).
SHIFT #2 | My mindset around investing—in my first year of business, I did *not* invest in any personal development because I was of the mindset that (1) I couldn’t afford it and (2) that kind of help wasn’t meant for a person like me with my background.
It wasn’t until I hit my second year, when I was *still* stuck, and broke, and unable to sign clients that I realised something needed to shift. I would still look at anything over $500 and break out in a sweat at the thought of paying that much (and in hindsight, no wonder I couldn’t imagine people paying ME that much).
But my first few investments, all of which were under $500, built my trust and confidence… until I hit a breaking point in my business by year three.
Something needed to change, and I would pay any amount to make it happen. So, I paid $2,000 to hire my first coach, and from that point onwards, I spent an entire year making huge investments in myself (you can see the full list here—over $10,000 in personal development).
What happened next was interesting. My knowledge of business, marketing, strategy, coaching, mindset and money all expanded. In a single year, my average monthly income increased from $100 to $1,000. And in less than 3 months since then, I’ve doubled it again.
But even though I earned almost exactly the same annual income in my second and third year of biz, the difference is that in my second year, I had a cash injection and then months of NO income, forcing me back into a part-time job. In my third year, I had consistent income the whole year through, which made a HUGE difference to my finances and mindset.
All of this happened AFTER I started investing in myself. Not before—because you don’t sign clients and then hire a business coach. This principal applies to authorship too, of course!
(Two coaches that really helped me to invest in myself were Hayley Tapper and Cassie Howard).
SHIFT #3 | My mindset around selling—I’ve never been afraid of selling, but I’ve definitely gotten better at it as my mindset around selling has improved.
In the beginning, I would ask for the sale often, but sporadically, without any real strategy backing my marketing. These days, I understand sales psychology a lot more, and I also understand the value of building relationships with my audience.
Over the years I had to overcome a lot of “obstacles” that kept me stuck and small when it came to sales.
I believed I could only make sales through Facebook Groups and struggled with never being allowed to market in them (see this blog post). Nowadays, I use Instagram and email more, but I’ve found a Facebook Group strategy that DOES work for me!
I also believed I needed a larger audience before I could make sales, but then realised I was neglecting warm leads in my DMs because my focus was always on “more clients, more followers”.
I believed sales had to be done a very certain way and could only come through certain habits (like using a CTA, or sending more sales emails). Over time, I got better at launching, at personal outreach, at upselling and down selling and running inspired flash sales with NO planning prior.
All of this worked to generate sales and proved to me there was no “right” way to sell—it was just about showing up and having the guts to ASK for the sale.
(Four coaches that really helped me with sales mindset were Sabrina Philip, Cassie Howard, Elise Danielle and Rachel Spencer)
So there you have it—do you currently struggle with any of these mindsets? Have you experienced a similar shift? I’d love for you to share with me—go ahead and tag me over on Instagram (@paganatpaperback) and let me know!
Written by Pagan Malcolm
Pagan is a copywriter and business coach helping writers understand the business side of publishing so that they can become serious authors.