I had just hung up the phone when the message notification came in…
I had spent the last 20 minutes convincing my family to evacuate Florida as Hurricane Irma barreled down towards their homes. When I had finally verified that every last adult and child was in a car en route to Georgia, I took a deep breath of relief as I hung up the phone.
I clicked over to read the new notification I had on Facebook and gasped.
Oh my god, I said out loud, half amused and half amazed at the comment I had just read under my post asking for prayers for my family. It was from a womxn I didn’t know (I’d had maybe two, short pleasant interactions with her since she had started following me).
The vitriol, anger, and plain meanness in her comment lit me up to write this post today.
Because we need to have a serious talk about all the ways womxn shame other womxn for making money. And why this doesn’t benefit anyone.
Buckle up, friends.
You’re probably wondering what her comment said at this point.
Haha. Too bad you couldn’t have “predicted” this hurricane was happening to get them out of harm’s way since you’re so “intuitive.” Maybe you could have warned them ahead of time instead of having to ask for prayers on Facebook. But I guess your family hasn’t paid the “high five figure investment” for your insights.
What I was most fascinated by was the way she was trying to “publicly shame” me for the prices I charge after almost a decade of mastering my craft and getting people results. She did this by posting a link to my program and application under her comment. As If somehow I was supposed to be embarrassed by it?
Now here’s where it gets really interesting: the investment for my highest level offering in my business is not that easy to find. She had to have gone on my website and really DUG through several layers to find it. That’s a heck of a lot of time and energy on her part to find that information, just to try and shame me.
Being online for almost 15 years now, I’ve received my fair share of nasty comments. Because I teach capacity expansion, I also constantly have opportunities to practice expanding my own. So by this point my capacity for maintaining my inner calm and not getting bugged out over a nasty comment is pretty high.
Most nasty comments you’ll receive online have nothing to do with you anyway. They’re often projections of a person’s own fears and miseries onto the only mirror they can find in the moment — you.
But when I see trolling affecting womxn’s expression and ability to advance themselves in this already toxic-to-womxn (especially womxn of color) world, I get fired up.
And I’m pretty fired up about the increasing money-shaming of womxn I see perpetuated by, wait for it, other womxn in my industry… and frankly, in ALL industries.
A few years ago, I joined a forum of womxn entrepreneurs that cared about social causes and were committed to being aware of the impact of their businesses on important issues in our society.
I was so happy to see womxn other than me talking about these issues, which I have been fighting for since before I was even visible online. I couldn’t wait to have conversations in this forum about these shadows I saw in my industry. I had attempted to have conversations about these topics for years, whether online or in person with others, but no one I brought it up with ever seemed interested.
I read some excellent posts that really got me thinking and examining myself in all the right, uncomfortable ways. But to my great dismay, I also found quite a few posts that were catty, mean, and absolutely shredding successful womxn to pieces for their prices. I knew some of these womxn and called them dear friends, and I knew how many great causes they privately contributed to with their company’s earnings.
Yet, because their companies made a lot of money, they were being torn apart in the threads of this forum, by other womxn who did not know them at all.
Feeling into some (not all) the intentions of the womxn tearing down other womxn for making money, I could feel that I did not want to be a part of that particular energy, so I left the group.
In the years since I left that group, I have watched many womxn from that group go outside of the group and attack other successful womxn for their prices, as well.
Now, listen, I do GET why people get triggered by higher priced offerings.
As a person who has built her business upon the values of integrity, diversity, and a reputation for over-delivering value, we have always been committed to giving our absolute best to clients with every transaction, whether low or high priced.
We even have a company policy, whose name I adopted when I read a Jonathan Fields blog many years ago, “adding an extra layer of love.”
It really bothers me that there are real scammers out there. People who charge exorbitant amounts of money only to deliver a shitty product or who use weird manipulative tactics that teach people they are broken vs. whole, in order to get them to buy.
Add issues of social privilege into the mix and it gets even more complicated.
Leaders DO need to be aware of HOW we are making that money and whether the platforms we benefit from while making that money contribute to more oppression and extension of toxic patriarchal norms that harm other humans.
I have had so many conversations with womxn who feel severely burned by a bad experience and are not totally frozen in mistrust when investing in working with another coach, because of said bad, previous experience with an out-of-integrity coach. (Luckily by the time we’re done working together, their faith is restored).
This is not okay. And never will be okay.
When a person exchanges their hard earned money for a service you provide, it’s important to give that person your 100% and best. That is something I have never taken lightly.
But let’s dive a little deeper below the surface shall we?
As a womxn who has worked with a very diverse group of womxn in the last 8 years, I see way too many womxn undervaluing themselves and working themselves to the bone, while not getting appropriately compensated for it.
They do this because they are afraid of other people tearing them apart for charging the prices they feel are appropriate for their hard work, or calling them “uncaring” about social causes, or a “sell-out” because their soul genuinely feels called to offer higher priced programs.
I want to lay down the case for why the price that you feel is the aligned, energy exchange for your own offering is not just perfectly okay, but important.
And why, if you feel like tearing a womxn down for her prices, you might want to think again before you post a nasty comment without knowing the full story.
In fact, I’m just going to come out and say it: most people who criticize, complain, and tear you down for your prices, have NO IDEA what it costs to run an actually successful, widely impactful, business.
Show me a hater about someone’s prices and I’ll show you someone who has not built a successful business at all.
Like Brene Brown says, “If you’re not in the arena getting your butt kicked too, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
#1. Are you sure you know what it costs to run that successful business that serves thousands of people on a daily basis (the one you love to criticize)?
It really makes me laugh when someone thinks that the revenue my company made last year is the actual amount that I paid myself. Or that I’m sitting back, buying Mercedes Benzes by the handful, and eating bonbons, laughing maniacally, while people go starving.
I want to give you a peak behind the curtain of my successful company that has made millions in the last ten years. This is so you can see the reality of what most businesses in this range do with “all that money” that critics think they are greedily doing God-knows-what with.
Reality is MOST of the money my company makes goes to paying my team, expenses for the paid programs I offer, and expenses for free offerings to the community. My actual CEO salary, like most CEO’s, is a small percentage out of the total revenue of the company.
Yes, that amount the company pays me has grown a bit every year. As it damn well should.
Anyone who has built a business from $0 to millions and survived knows how hard you’ve worked to make that happen, and what a feat of sheer will, courage, blood, sweat and tears that is.
Womxn are already underpaid in comparison to men, as it is. So we damn well should be compensated accordingly when we work this hard, especially considering the massive pay cuts CEO’s take in the beginning of their businesses and the tons of unpaid hours we spend doing things that no one else on the team can figure out.
But that $25,000 you see for the program that you feel the need to shame another womxn for?
Yeah, she’s not taking that and sitting back on her greedy laurels with all of it not caring about the world.. (This seems to be the overwhelming perception of those who criticize prices of others.)
My mastermind program, The Empress Circle, costs six figures to run, in order for it to be managed properly and for the womxn to get an amazing, high-value experience for the money they paid. And I’m informed by our company financial manager that we are spending pretty responsibly compared to some spending they have seen on some other people’s masterminds.
- Do you know how much it costs to rent a decent space for 11-20 womxn?
- How about all the hours the leader of said retreat spent lovingly preparing curriculum?
- The gifts they receive and the guest teachers that get brought in — who pays for that?
- Or the vats and vats of energy the leader spent holding space for womxn to have the biggest breakthroughs of their lives?
- How about all the people on the team that led to that event even being able to be pulled off? Who pays them? How do they feed their families?
- Who pays the administrative team that reminds everyone of their calls, keeps people motivated in the forum, and answers clients’ questions?
Where does all of that money come from?
It comes from that $25,000.
You know what else often gets taken out of that $25,000?
Contributions towards social causes, because we have a company that values sharing a percentage of profit from the company to assist in uplifting underprivileged womxn in the world — otherwise why are we in the business of transformation and empowering womxn? Isn’t it to help change the world?
After all of that, the company pays me, the CEO, and leader of said event.
Here’s another example from my own company:
We are raising prices on everything next year.
No, it’s not because we’re greedy, self-serving jerks.
It’s because the more people you reach and impact with your free content, the more hours your team needs to work, the more you have to add people to your team, to keep serving up both free and paid content, to thousands of people.
All that free content that we put out on a weekly basis? That costs money to provide.
When you have an important message that is going to change the world for the better, money makes it happen.
Underpricing your services will not make you a saint.
It will make your company go under.
All the people who were feeding their families with the money the company was paying them, go unpaid. And all that free content that you pay for to benefit those who cannot yet invest in your services, can’t be continued.
And then the impact you want to make goes away too.
So, to all the money critics out there, once you do run a business of that type and size and actually manage to make a profit at the end of the year, then I welcome you to criticize all you want, about things you now actually understand.
#2. Tearing a womxn down for making money actually contributes to the oppressive and toxic patriarchy you’re trying to take down.
I went to a marketing event a few years ago. My friend, she introduces me to the circle as Lisa, from Panama, with a successful business that helps high performing womxn expand their capacity so they can become more impactful in the world.
You know what the first thing was out of one guy’s mouth?
Wow, you’re Latina? That’s sexy.
The only other Latina in the group nervously laughed this off, not knowing what to do. I stood there for a few seconds not even knowing what to do and exited the conversation a few moments later.
I wasn’t asked about my work, how I had managed to build a successful business from the ground up, or any of my accomplishments. The first thing that was noticed and stated about me by this man in the group was whether or not I was “sexy”.
Men ask me about my “cute little business” all the time at networking events. When they find out that my company has been around for nearly a decade and what its revenue is, their faces go pale and sometimes I even get hostility in return.
Once, a male entrepreneur asked me to tell him more about my business. As I began to tell him our revenues, profit, and impact, he actually interrupted me and said: You know what? I’m going to need you to stop talking about your business now because it’s really intimidating me that your business makes more money than mine.
Yeah, that happened.
I’ve come to expect that from a business world still mired in toxic patriarchy, which still excludes womxn and even more so, womxn of color. Let’s take that a step further — because, at least I “only” get sexualized” and I still carry light-skin privilege.
I have womxn friends (white womxn and womxn of color) who have been trying to get funding for their companies… yet when they walk in to ask for funding, the boards of most of these investment companies are filled with white men who are looking out for… white men.
We still have a system that makes it harder for a womxn to succeed without being fetishized, sexualized, objectified, or even flat out denied of opportunities because of the color of her skin, the shape of her body, her age and more.
So imagine, having to overcome some or all of that, and finally being brave enough to stick your shingle out there because your deepest desire is to help other people.
You spend months reclaiming the value of your work, working through the internalized misogyny that all womxn carry inside, detoxing limiting beliefs around your own self-worth and FINALLY set the price or salary that feels aligned for you.
And immediately after, a fellow womxn attacks you for your prices, calls you a sell-out, greedy, and everything that’s wrong with the world.
I have seen womxn shrink and go mute under such attacks. Womxn with voices that need so badly to be heard by the world.
And no, it’s not just white womxn who have “lifestyle” businesses who get these attacks.
I see it happen to all the womxn I know, consistently.
I see it happen to womxn who contribute a great deal to their communities, who do a lot of good in the world, and who DO contribute to social justice with their company’s successes.
YES, we should take a good look at how systematic bias allows white and light-skinned womxn of color to feel more comfortable charging higher prices, and it is our duty to lift ALL of our sisters up with us, not just the thin, able-bodied, young, white ones.
We still need a hell of a lot of diversity when it comes to the female side of online business. I want to see womxn of all shapes, sizes, and colors out there rocking it equally. I want to see all bodies represented.
Not all of us are in privileged bodies, sexual orientations, financial states, or have white privilege.
So as womxn, yes, let’s call out privilege. Let’s call out the ways in which some of the old ways of marketing, working and selling that womxn are taught only emphasize division and subconscious oppression.
And let’s make sure all our sisters are coming with us, not just the sisters who benefit from the systemic bias in business culture.
Let’s ascend together.
But I’m not going to criticize a fellow womxn who is charging prices that feel aligned to her just because they are higher than I’m used to seeing. Or just because I’m triggered that she feels confident enough to charge those prices and I don’t allow myself too.
I’m not going to get smaller and lower my prices for the womxn who is angry at my prices because she doesn’t allow herself to raise hers.
Rather, I will stand as a mirror for the womxn who is ready to claim the true value of her work. A mirror that says, yes you can do this if you feel called and I stand for you doing that. Because that is what I would hope a fellow womxn would do for me, even if I’m triggered or afraid.
There are a lot of womxn who run successful businesses who want to build success responsibly, who want to lift all sisters up and make sure ALL womxn who want to succeed financially can do so. And who, while working towards that, feel aligned with charging higher prices.
I know how much of my very cells it takes to do what I do in my work with womxn and I think my high prices are a bargain for the complete life changes I see every day for the womxn in my programs.
I know how fully I give of myself and my energy when I work with a womxn and what that is worth. I never do anything half-ass. When you work with me, you’re getting the fiercest cheerer, the most all-in guide you can possibly find. And I know what high value that is. My prices reflect that. I hope yours will too.
And I will always have free, high value resources and scholarships for womxn who are not in the place yet to invest, too.
Before you criticize or shame another womxn for her success, have a good, hard look at yourself and make sure that you are coming from an energetically clean place. Meaning — make sure your own fears, jealousies, and projections about money aren’t wrapped up in your criticism.
If you feel triggered from a place of envy, why not turn that trigger into inspiration? What if you could see that womxn as a mirror of what is possible for you, if you want the kind of business, wealth, or success that she has.
We need MORE financially successful womxn, not less.
The Wall Street Journal reports that: “The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found consistently that women and men give differently. In one study, baby-boomer and older women gave 89% more to charity than men their age, and women in the top 25% of permanent income gave 156% more than men in that same category.
A 2013 U.S. Trust survey on women and wealth found that women are nearly twice as likely as men to say that giving to charity is the most satisfying aspect of having wealth.
A $10,000 rise in the woman’s income is associated with a more than 5% rise in total household giving, while a similar rise in the man’s income is associated with a nearly 3% rise in total giving.”
It is a good thing for more womxn to be financially successful.
It benefits all of us.
If you’re tearing down a womxn for her financial success because of your own triggers you’re just contributing to the patriarchy that still pays a womxn only 70 cents to every man’s dollar, discriminates against womxn of color, and that tells a womxn she can only achieve “so much success” before she gets “too big for her britches” and needs to be “knocked down a few pegs.”
So let’s stop this nonsense, shall we?
Let’s look into our hearts and get clear on what is driving some of these attacks and this shaming of womxn around money.
No one wins when we tear womxn down for valuing themselves and their work.
In love & capacity,
p.s. I’d love to know what resonated with you in this post. Let me know in the comments below!