Words By Tara Wagner

“Charge What You’re Worth” is Terrible Advice

Business woman using a calculator and writing

I realize that someone who is considered a mindset coach or a personal development coach, or really a personal development junkie, you would think that I would love the phrase, “Charge what you’re worth and then add tax.” But the truth is, I really hate it.

I’m going to tell you why I think it is such bad advice and what you need to be thinking about instead.

Watch here or read below.

“Charge What You're Worth” is Terrible Advice Share on X

If you’re brand new here, you should know that I have been an entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. I have been a belief breakthrough coach for almost 10 years. I help female entrepreneurs to crush their goals, not their soul. I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to smart pricing strategies and this is why I do not like this whole “charge what you’re worth” movement.

I’m not going to say that it’s completely false or that it’s not a little bit helpful. There is a little bit of truth in everything, right?

We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, but I do want to throw out the bath water because this is becoming this slogan that’s absolutely worthless and it’s leading newer entrepreneurs especially to charge based on some really false ideas.

Because here’s the thing, if you are tying your self worth up with what you charge, if you’re saying “charge what you’re worth“, you’re tying your self worth up with how much you get paid.

I don’t care what you are charging. If you are thinking of your self worth in terms of dollar amounts, you are playing a losing game.

If you're saying "charge what you're worth", you're tying your self worth up with how much you get paid. (Tara Wagner) Share on X
Still from the the video you can check out here.
Here’s a real life example…

You might notice that I’m standing in a little bit of a construction zone in the video and that is because we just bought a house and we’re in the process of making it our own.

I’m doing this video/blog late August, which you’ll see at the beginning of September. And maybe by the end of September to beginning of October, I will have some finished images to show you of what our house is going to look like.

But I thought that this was a really good example to talk about charging what you’re worth.

I want you to think of this:

We were home shopping for a couple of months before we found the house. The first house that we found, we fell in love with, but they had a particular dollar amount that they set on this house that they wanted to get and they were not willing to negotiate. We were like, “You know what? This house is beautiful. It’s exactly what we’re looking for. We’re in it.

They valued it at that price. We even valued it at that price.

But you know what happens when you go to buy a house? You got to get the thing appraised.

And no matter what we tried, we could not get the house to appraise for what we thought it was worth.

This is what I’m talking about here. When we try to tie in how we feel with what something’s actually worth, we’re taking our feet off the ground.

Now yes, I deal a lot in mindset. I want you to feel good about yourself. I want you to feel good about what you’re charging, but I want you to keep two feet on the ground and be practical and be strategic about this as well.

When this appraiser came in, they weren’t just looking at the fact that this house was priceless to us, they weren’t looking at the fact that the seller really wanted to get this price or thought that the house was worth this price, they’re looking at:

  • What is the actual value of the house?
  • How big is the house?
  • How many rooms does it have?
  • What are the amenities in that house?
  • What’s the neighborhood like?
  • What are homes in the area selling for? etc.

That is what determined the price of this house. Tragically, we did not buy the house because we weren’t going to buy something that was actually being sold for over what it could be appraised for.

We went and found an equally beautiful house that we’re very, very excited about, but we had to go do that same process and make sure that it was actually worth what we felt it was worth.

Point of sales exchange on a mobile device.
How does this pertain to your pricing?

Well, it’s the same thing. If you’re going in feeling like you are not worthy of a certain price point, that’s going to mess you up.

And if you go in thinking that you’re worthy of a certain price point because you saw an Instagram post that said “CHARGE WHAT YOU’RE WORTH AND THEN ADD TAX” and you’re going, “Okay, I’m going to charge this amount because it gets me excited.” Guess what? That’s just as false. That’s just as unhelpful.


  • You’re not taking into account what pricing is really about.
  • Again, you are tying your self worth into how much you earn, which is always a losing game.
  • If you’re a true entrepreneur, you are going to have a business that fails.

Here’s the reality of the “charge what you’re worth” concept…

You’re going to have an idea that fails. If you’ve priced it at a certain place, but it can’t appraise at that price, you can’t get it sold at that price, what’s that going to do to your self-worth?

Anytime we’re tying our value into how much we earn, we’re going to lose that game.

Actually pricing your products or your services is more than just picking a number out of a hat that makes you feel good or that even scares you. There’s strategy that goes into it to make sure that you’re doing it well.

We don’t get paid based on what we think we’re worth. Because here’s the thing you got to know: You are priceless, but have you earned that high ticket price yet?

We don't get paid based on what we think we're worth. Because here's the thing you got to know: You are priceless, but have you earned that high ticket price yet? (Tara Wagner) Share on X

If you are just starting out in something, let’s say you’re a photographer and you’re just starting out; are your skills, is your experience level, at the price point that you’re seeing all of these very experienced photographers charge? They worked up to that. Have you done that same thing?

As a coach, I’m not a cheap coach. I’ve been doing this for 10 years. The value that I can add to someone’s life, what I can do, my skills and my experience allow me to charge more than what I charged when I first started out. I was charging like a dollar a minute when I first started out. I’m a little bit more than that.

But am I like Tony Robbins’ value yet? The man charges $1 million a year to work with him and you don’t even get a full hour on the phone! Am I at that price point yet? Absolutely not. Am I worthy of that? Yes, if I want to work myself to that level, if I want to earn that (level of compensation).

We don’t get paid based on what we think we’re worth – because you are priceless – we get paid on the value that we can offer to someone else, the size of the problem that we’re solving, how many of us are out there, right – how hard is it to replace you? – and what your market will tolerate.

Just like in buying this house, part of the appraisal process takes into account the current market rates. We need to be doing the same thing as smart business owners because we’re not fly by night business owners.

We’re real business owners. We’re entrepreneurs. We get our mindset in the right place, but then we make strategic, smart, calculated moves.

You may be brand new. You may be just starting out. You are worthy of charging premium prices or of getting to the point of charging premium prices, but is your service or product there yet? If not, take that good hard look, do a little bit of self assessment and figure that out. What do you need to do to get to that point?

You are worthy of getting there, but that doesn’t mean you’re there yet.

I want to hear from you whether or not you agree with me. I’m kind of on a soapbox on this one because I am so passionate about this false mindset push that’s going on right now and how dangerous it is to our real mindset growth.

Share this with other women who are also struggling with this topic of charging what you’re worth or knowing what to charge. If you want to know some strategies that I’ve used to figure out how to price my products or my services, also drop me a comment below and I’ll see if I can put a video together on that as well.

What about you, boss lady?

I want to hear from you though in terms of what you agree with. Of what I’ve said here, what do you agree with? What do you disagree? What’s been your experience?


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Tara Wagner

I’m Tara Wagner, creator of the Breakthrough Boss®. I help small biz owners overcome burnout and create part-time schedules with full-time profits. Not with some new marketing strategy, but with a holistic approach to how you operate. Click here to learn more.
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