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Dear Jess...I’m struggling to own my value.

Every Friday, Jess Ratcliffe drops by to help us overcome the obstacles and worries that are holding us back. Share your questions with Jess anonymously at

I’m doing so much for free and as much as I want to draw the line and start charging, it scares me. What if people say no? Or the opportunities dry up? How do I start “owning” my value?

To say I know how you’re feeling is an understatement - why, oh why is it so uncomfortable to own our value? When our time, work and expertise are valuable.

Looking at those who do it well, it feels like it comes so naturally. They own their number - their value - and they walk away when it’s not a fit.

Let’s reframe “owning our value” to creating an equal exchange

Anything we do is an exchange. A conversation is an exchange of words. A hug is an exchange of love. Buying a coffee is an exchange of currency in return for ease, convenience and deliciousness.

Imagine for a moment if either of those examples weren’t equal exchanges

We’ve all experienced the clock-watching pain of a conversation that feels like we’re the only ones driving it. Or a limp hug, where the other person wasn’t squeezing as tightly as we were...and the awkwardness that follows. Or sipping on our expensive coffee and feeling like we could’ve made a better one at home.

When exchanges feel out of whack, we walk away feeling confused, miffed and out of balance. And those feelings don’t feel good.

Now, let’s consider the opposite.

Imagine the best, most lively conversation you’ve had. When everyone was going for it full-throttle, smiles were constant and you felt high with energy and joy. Or the best hug, when you embraced each other with equal strength of squeeze. You get the idea...

That’s an equal exchange. And it feels good. In fact, it feels ffing great.

“People value you at the value you're seen to put on yourself” – Cindy Gallop

How do we start owning our value?

Let’s play with shifting our focus from WHAT we’re charging to WHY we are.

When I was starting Unleash Your Extraordinary, I hosted many (many, many) workshops for free - in exchange for gathering feedback and practice.

The “free” workshops were great at the start because I genuinely wanted to test the content and learn how to make the experience more impactful. However, as time went on, I was kept doing them for “free”...because I was scared to own my value and the value of the workshop, despite already knowing - and having witnessed - its value.

Then it hit me: people were showing up at the level I was valuing the experience. They were walking into the room expecting a first-draft workshop, something they were “testing out”. They weren’t walking into the room with the expectation of transformation, which is where I wanted them to be.

As you’re valuing your work and the impact you’re having on others, consider how you want them to show up. How do you want people to feel as they’re “walking into the room”?

Let’s test this

To start owning our value by owning our WHY, take a moment to reflect on the following questions:

  • Why do I want to charge this number? Whatever your number may be.

  • What does it mean for the recipient of my work? And what does it mean for me?

  • How do I want people to “show up” (feel, be) when they’re interacting with my work?

  • What do I want people to walk away with?

  • What’s my bigger WHY? (e.g. creating financial freedom, treating friends and family, donating to charity etc.)

To put our insights into action, let’s run a self-experiment.

  • The next time you’re approaching a conversation where you have the opportunity to own your value, take a moment (or five) to tune into your why.

  • Hold your why in your mind - even feel it in your body - as you own your number.

  • Do your best to shift your energy (and “fear”) off of WHAT you’re charging and onto the excitement you feel about WHY you are.

  • And remember: celebrate yourself for doing so - for saying your number and owning your value - regardless of how the conversation unfolds.

I’d love to hear how you get on.

Jess is our resident coach and the founder of Unleash Your Extraordinary - a transformative coaching method and workshop designed to equip you with the mindset, tools and next steps to turn the vision you have for yourself into reality.

When she’s not coaching ambitious individuals, hosting Unleash Your Extraordinary or writing her Dear Jess column, she’s tucked away in a coffee shop enjoying a cheeky Cortado.

Would you like to join one of Jess’ workshops or simply say hello? She’d love to meet you. You’ll find her at or @jessratcliffe on Instagram.

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