“Oh sorry, I didn’t realize there was a fee” …
… and countless other variations on this line that I have heard over the years.
(Another thing that often happens is just silence. Like, someone repeatedly requests my* expertise, but I can kind of tell they’re expecting me to provide it for free, and when I finally mention the price schedule or whatever, the other end of the text or email exchange goes dead.)
Yes I’m used to people not seeing my* expertise as something worth paying for. It’s OK; part of my ongoing inner work with self-esteem and #boundaries .
(* To be clear, this is not just me; it’s most people I know who have pursued eco livelihoods. We are doing essential work but a lot of us undervalue our own services because it’s an “alternative” path.)
Even though most of us have put ourselves through many years of school, apprenticeships, and continuing ed — all on our own dime — in order to know what we know.
We are working on doing better in terms of considering ourselves worthy of compensation.
I do give away a lot of pro bono advice and instruction and other services to the community; always have, as most of you probably always have as well — so I don’t feel like I should feel bad that there are levels of service I need to charge money for or else I’m not willing to do them.
Mike Hoag has been a great inspiration with his talks about remembering not to exploit OURSELVES. We need to include our own selves in the principle, “Don’t exploit people.”
Also, by charging fair value for our services, we avoid undercutting other service providers, and avoid giving prospective clients unfair expectations of getting free time & labor from us. “Expectation inflation,” I call it. One of my self-assigned tasks in the overall #degrowth and #transformativeadventures mission is to jack-down unreasonable expectations that abound in capitalist-industrial society.
How about you? Are there any unreasonable and unsustainable expectations you are setting out to jack-down?
(Photos of native coastal dunescape near my house. Minus the trash and the ugly white plastic fence, this biodiverse self-maintaining plant community is one of my favorite landscapes! And more & more people I know are seeking advice on how to have such dunescapes and other “nature yards”!)
Text of social-media post introducing my services:
To my local friends wanting guidance on how to get started: I offer eco landscaping services, including both planning and labor. A variety of options are available to suit your budget.
To my nonlocal friends: I offer teleconsult services and can connect you with the best eco landscapers in your geographic area!