It sounds like a simple task, doesn’t it?
And yet, in all these years, I have found that the lack of ability to ask for money is one of the most consistent barriers cited by those who either decide not to open an advocacy practice, or those who fail after hanging out their shingles.
In my last post I wrote about a non-solution – creating a non-profit organization. So many who want to be advocates but don’t want to ask for money think that if they start a non-profit, they won’t have to do that dirty ask-for-money deed. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Instead, here is the simple truth: if you can’t ask for money, you will not succeed at becoming an independent advocate or care manager. Because, if you can’t ask for money, you will not get paid for your work. No one is going to simply write you a check or give you their credit card number if you don’t ask. If you can’t and don’t get paid, your independent practice can’t succeed.
If you CAN ask for money, then you’ll probably do just fine, as long as you have estimated correctly how much to charge a client.
If you CAN’T ask for money*, then either you need to learn to do so – or – you might as well walk away from your dream or desire to become an independent advocate.
If you’re one of the folks in the “Can’t Ask” group, and you truly want to make the leap to the “Can Ask” group, then here are some ideas for you:
- Commit yourself to learning how to ask for money. There is plenty of advice online for learning how to do that.
Write scripts so you can read them and won’t flounder when it comes time to tell people what you will charge them and how you would like to collect the money due you.
- Ask for a small amount up front for a short-term, finite job (example: doing an assessment), then you can give them pricing for a larger project afterwards.
- Be confident! You are asking for money because you are worth it! You don’t see lawyers or therapists or even hairdressers cowering or hesitating about asking for money. Why? Because they are being paid for their expertise. So are you!
- Ask yourself – “If I ask for money, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” The absolute worst thing is that someone says “no.” Seriously – that’s the worst. Who cares? So what? What if they do say no?
If you don’t ask, there is a 100% chance you won’t get paid. If you DO ask, then there is a good chance you will be paid. Which is the better outcome?
- Know that once you’ve successfully asked to be paid a few times, and have been paid, and you see that the world didn’t come to an end, and you don’t shrivel into a spot on the carpet, it will become easier and easier until it’s second nature. THAT is how business is conducted – and as an independent, professional patient advocate, you are running a business.
Go on. Hold out your hand. Ask for money! People will pay it, and you’ll be on your way.
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