Are You Creating Your Own Glass Ceiling?

I originally posted this article over a year ago, but I thought I would pull it back out after an occurence with a fellow woman entrepreneur last week.  One of my colleagues was so excited to get a new client and I was excited for her.  She described how wonderful it was going to be working with this newglassceiling client and how she was truly an ideal client.  It sounded like the perfect match…but then she mentioned that they were trading services.
Trading services is great if you have a hobby, but if you’re in business you actually need to be paid money.  Unfortunately, this type of scenario is very common for a lot of women entrepreneurs.  It seems that women, in general, have a harder time asking for money in exchange for their services.  I can not tell you how many times women business owners have approached me with some time of “trade opportunity.” I just want to put it out there that it is perfectly acceptable to work with each other and pay each other in actual money.

About a year and a half ago, the president of one of the women’s business associations I used to belong to shared the results of a survey they did.  They found that the vast majority of women business owners in the group made less than $50,000 per year.  Interestingly, however, the next largest group brought in revenue at $1 million dollars or more.

That is a huge pay gap! And why do so few people fall in the middle?

The #1 reason why women entrepreneurs struggle to make $50,000 or less per year, while other women entrepreneurs bring in 6 and 7 figures is because most women business owners, especially service-based women entrepreneurs, unconsciously place limits on their income.

I call this creating your own “glass ceiling.”  Once this glass ceiling is removed, the sky really is the limit when it comes to your earning potential (and the impact you can make on the world).  That’s why so few people fall in the middle.

There are hundreds of ways in which your beliefs and actions can limit your income, but the most common one I see affecting women entrepreneurs is their discomfort with asking for money in exchange for their services.  This will quickly tank your sales, eat away at profits, and keep you underearning.

The discomfort around sales and asking for money might show up in your business as:

1)      Undercharging and discounting

2)      Not charging at all

3)      Bartering and trading for services

4)      Over-delivering above and beyond what you agreed upon

5)      Avoiding marketing activities and hiding out behind your computer

6)      Not making offers in sales conversations

7)      Not having sales conversations at all

8)      Not asking people to partner with you

And the list goes on…

Women typically struggle with these things because they aren’t fully valuing themselves and what they have to offer.  As women, serving and helping others comes so naturally for us that we often take our GIFTS for granted.  Remember, you can’t serve all of the people you are meant to serve if you are struggling to get by.  In order for your business to thrive, you have to bring in income and that requires making actual sales that generate a profit.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

Do you need help getting more sales and serving more people? Click here to sign up for your Complimentary Profits and Impact Session.

About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva is the founder, CEO, and visionary leader of BrightFire Women’s Business Network, LLC.

BrightFire Women’s Business Network is the premiere sales training and coaching resource for service-based women entrepreneurs who want to increase their sales, serve more people, and change more lives.

Feedback & Comments:

  1. I remember this post, and still think the points you make are right on. I see women biz owners in my own coaching practice who tell themselves “I can’t ask for that” and absolutely set their own glass ceiling.

  2. Tiffany,
    I LOVE this post. I think it’s OK to trade in some instances. However, more often than not, clear boundaries and agreements need to be in place.
    Write on!~
    Lisa Manyon

    • Thanks, Lisa! I agree, boundaries are super important! I think even with trades, you still have to set clear boundaries and agreements. The lack of boundaries around trades is one of the reasons why they are so thorny (aside from the fact that there is no cash flowing).

  3. Tiffany these are excellent tips and very timely. I agree it is a flaw of women to tend to under value ourselves. We need to get over that and see the value we provide to others.

  4. Wow! So on target. I’m printing this out and putting it where I can read it and re-read it to remember not to fall into the trap of creating my own “glass ceiling.” Thank you.

  5. I am not a fan of trading. Even if it is equitable to start, that can shift. Once you start bartering, it is hard to make the shift to paying. Interesting that we are both writing about different angles on the same topic this week!

    Great insights!!

    Love, Katherine
    Katherine C. H. E.
    Author, Be True Rich

  6. This is an important message to get into the hands of more people.
    Very true points about women business owners. All of these are
    related to mindset and how one views themselves.

  7. Love this post! I’ve also had a privilege to work with women business owners who were ready to break their own glass ceiling (once they realized that this is what they’ve created in their business and/or life). Truly powerful message for any woman out there: Stop limiting yourself!

  8. Great topic! And interesting survey: I did not know about the gap between the women business owners making less than $50,000 per year and those making revenue at $1 million dollars or more.

    I have to admit …I have traded services and I do tend to over-deliver so thanks for a timely blog post!

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