mwotw the paper says

The Paper Says!

Once upon a time, it felt REALLY scary to tell people my prices. 

I’d get on a discovery call, bumble my way through, then feel nervous, awkward, and confused when it came time to reveal what it would cost to work together. 

I often avoided that moment altogether by telling people I’d send them a proposal. 

That would give me time to think about what I was going to charge. 

And by “think” I mean “panic” and “worry” and “obsess” and “fret.”  It was terrible.

But at least I’d get to skip the awful moment of seeing their face as I was telling them my prices.

That moment, if it happened, always came with an apology in my voice, a cringe in my heart, and a deep desire to hide under my desk.

That all changed when I learned an amazing trick for easing the price reveal: Write. It. Down.

It sounds ridiculous, but it really works.

When you have a piece of paper in front of you that lists your services and the prices you charge — even if this is a piece of paper you created yourself — suddenly something shifts.

It’s not YOU going out on a limb to courageously, vulnerably declare how much you’re worth.


The Paper Says.

The Paper Says it costs $3500 for webpage copy.

The Paper Says a strategy review will be $2000.

The Paper Says an email series costs $3000.

The Paper Says. Not me.

The Paper can weigh in on topics other than pricing, too.

The Paper Says I don’t take calls on weekends. 

Or Mondays.

The Paper Says we’re booking kickoffs 2 months out. 

The Paper Says we require payment up front.

On it goes.


I was reminded again just this week of how valuable this trick is.

A repeat client needed a service I don’t often offer. 

I went to my paper. (Actually a tab on a spreadsheet at this point.)

It said how much it would cost.

I told the client.

He accepted, and the deal was done.

Later, I realized that the last time I sold this service, I charged less than half of what I asked for today.

But Today’s Paper said Today’s Price. 

And Today’s Price I got, with no stress at all.

So: What authority can you outsource to The Paper? How could that help your business feel less hard?

Officially (The Paper Says!) yours,


PS – I learned this trick from the fabulous Erika Bryant, whose advice often shows up in the Magic Words of the Week. See also: “Show Up, Give, Ask” and “Always Be Scheduled” (and I’m sure other wisdom I’ve forgotten to credit her for.)

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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