The Biz Side Gig – Harmony Place and valuing yourself in business

Harmony Place & Valuing yourself

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024

August 26, 2022

About 2 and a half years after Princess Scallywag, I went to a day retreat with a friend of mine. I love anything to do with increasing self awareness, spirituality, alignment and educating myself on who I am and what I am.  So any activity or opportunity around meditation, healing, massage, relaxation, being at peace and gaining self awareness was a YES from me. 

My friend bought us vouchers for this day retreat on Groupon. It was $99 including a treatment of our choice like massage, sound healing etc then a meditation, yoga session, morning tea and lunch. It seemed like exceptional value and a little bit “too good to be true”. So we booked in, planned our day and seriously thought thai is such amazing value for money.

The location of the day retreat was only about 10 minutes from my home in Brisbane’s northern suburbs on a beautiful big property run by an older lady who knew a lot about health and healing. I found out later she was a Naturopath and had a wealth of knowledge about everything from iridology to reflexology and more. The structure of the day was well organised, the venue was excellent and there was a beautifully catered morning tea and lunch. It was definitely great value for money and everyone there (mainly women) seemed to really enjoy the day. 

As I was laying on a massage table for my sound healing treatment, my mind cleared quite quickly and all I could do was think about the lady running the day retreat. I started to really focus on it and my business brain clearly had too much time to think, creating an endless stream of questions in my mind.  

My questions were 

  • How much is she making per person, it doesn’t seem like enough
  • How is she communicating with people to make bookings and follow up to offer additional services?
  • What commissions does she pay Groupon ?
  • Does she only get paid on redemptions or is it sales?
  • What hard costs does she have here?
  • What opportunities does she have to increase her revenue

I was so focused on these questions whirling around in my mind that the sound healer ended up saying to me “Maybe just go and speak with Carmel (the organiser) and she can answer all your questions.” I hadn’t said a word to her but she obviously picked upon something disturbing me during what was supposed to be a quiet and relaxing healing session. When my brain clicks in like this, it doesn’t stop till I get the answers I need. 

So I got up from the sound healers table and I set off to ask Carmel my questions. She was finishing up with a meditation group and was open to answer my questions. Here she was running this beautifully peaceful retreat and I launched into question after question. To me she had a fantastic business idea but the delivery was not as commercial as it needed to be and neither was her marketing. I soon realised Carmel was an angel, a beautiful soul trying to help people live happier lives but not a business woman, she is a healer and she was exhausting herself and barely making enough to live off. 

Carmel

So of course there and then I offered to help her out. We met up the following week and I got a rundown of everything she was doing or wanted to do and I looked at how she could achieve that. I put pricing models and budgets together with all the dates she had booked, factored in all the costs and commissions and we soon realised she needed customers to come direct as opposed to through Groupon in order to make enough money. That was the first of many realisations.

Two months later, I had created a marketing plan focused on getting customers to book direct and corporate or group bookings, designed a brochure, started building a website and developing a range of new revenue streams to help Carmel make more money. I was working probably two days per week in addition to my day job on Carmels business. Again I did it for free, Carmel was very generous with discounted naturopath vitamins and advice for me, however this was another skill building activity that provided no financial benefit to me or my family. It was simple, I loved what Carmel did and how she helped people so I just wanted to help her as best I could. 

Harmony Place, Harmony Place FacebookHarmony Place Instagram

I knew from the day I walked into Harmony Place what I could do to make it amazing, profitable and more enjoyable for the owner. I know business and I see opportunities a mile away. I was excited to help and see amazing results for Carmel. However it wasn’t mine, it was Carmels business. I wanted it to be mine so I could run it the way I wanted to but I was just there to help out. At the time, I didn’t realise but it was simply just another side gig where I jumped in boots and all to help someone build their business. 

I love everything about business. I love helping people who are in business. I worked alongside Carmel, the owner, for about 15 months. She never ever asked me to, she was always so grateful and I never took a payment except for her advice on health and well being. Another life experience building my skills and understanding of how business and marketing works in the real world. Looking back on these experiences, I just wanted to help women in business grow their businesses and achieve the best results for them. I wanted business owners to feel happy and successful in what they were doing. 

Every life experience comes with life lessons or key takeaways. This one was no different. This time it was VALUE YOURSELF. Not an easy thing to do and I have never been good at this one. I also have noticed a lot of my female friends struggle with this one too.

Not only was this about me valuing myself it was also about Carmel valuing herself. She was not able to see the value in what she was offering so she was offering it too cheaply. She undersold herself. I know a lot of people do that as they dont want to over charge in case they don’t get the business so they undercharged and do way more than they need to in order to continuously provide value.

My key takeaways in regards to valuing yourself and your efforts in business and life;

  1. Do what you love! This isn’t always easy but if you run your own business choose what your business does, who you work with and what role you do. Ensure it’s something that you love and then the business will love you right back because your passion will shine through in everything you do. 
  2. Know what upsets you, stresses you and makes you feel like crap. Remove these from your life. If they are people, you can not change them, don’t waste your time trying. It doesn’t matter if they are family, business partners or staff, simplify your life and remove them from it. 
  3. Look at the market and see what your skills are worth. Charge at least that if not more. If the business can’t afford your market rate then something has to change.
  4. It’s not all financial. Look at the value you are adding to your company, your customers, your family. Acknowledge and reward yourself for these aspects of yourself. 
  5. Know what you are good at and acknowledge what you need help with. When you know what you need help with, you can get someone to help you. Don’t try and do it all yourself, because often we will fall and then criticize ourselves for not being amazing at everything. It’s a vicious circle that eats away at your value. So know what you are good at, do that and get help for the rest.  

Here are some easy to read articles on valuing yourself. 

How Does Your Self-Value Contribute to Business Success?

How to Value Yourself: 4 Ways to Improve Self-Worth

Nowadays, I have three companies of my own to run. I know I have under sold myself in this role both professionally and financially. I knew it from day one. My salary was at least 25% below the base level salary for my role, my friends and family told me I was crazy to accept it. I told myself I would change it as we get further into the business. 

But guess what I didn’t! I actually pushed myself further and further to the back of the line. We took directors’ earnings and I left mine in the business to ensure we had enough cash flow.  I took half salary during the pandemic to help the business. Then I took on more companies and my role grew bigger and bigger. I work 70 hour weeks, holding all the risk and responsibility. I have spoken to my business partners about pay rises and financial rewards and I get the same answer each time “but you’re an owner.” One of the partners that says this I worked for, he underpaid and undervalued his staff back then so you think I would know better. But I am still putting up with it. This is no one’s fault but my own. Nobody is going to value you if you don’t value yourself first. 

It’s interesting how many times we can go through the same experience and still don’t make the changes we need to in order to value ourselves. We have control over how we treat ourselves and how we allow others to treat us. Only we can change it. In writing this article, I have decided this time for me it’s different. This time I will put myself first, I am valuing myself and my life. I am prepared to walk away from it all to look after me. Wish me luck. 

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