“Charge Your Worth” and More Vague Business Advice You Should Ignore


Some pieces of advice really need to slide quietly into obscurity, but these three—for some reason—just won’t die. We’ve all heard these phrases thousands of times. While they sound empowering on the surface, they’re really just vague and meaningless, doing more to confuse than to clarify. In this article, we’ll discuss the three sayings you should be ignoring, and what you should be doing instead.

Audio Version

This Ugly Beauty Business
This Ugly Beauty Business
[3.3] "Charge Your Worth" and Other Vague Business Advice You Should Ignore

“Charge your worth.”

How do you define what constitutes your “worth?” How do you quantify it? Once you’ve quantified it, how do you calculate it and assign a dollar value to it?

While I’m sure this vague, motivational tripe garners tons of likes and shares on social media and certainly sells seminars and webinars, it doesn’t do anything to actually educate professionals and salon owners.

The process of determining what to charge happens to be a relatively straightforward one, and subjective factors—like your “worth”—don’t factor into it much at all. Instead, we consider your expenses, local economy, target demographic, the time required to perform each service, and the material costs. Once that’s done, we evaluate the output and use those subjective factors—skill, education, exclusivity, technique difficulty, etc.—to determine whether the price warrants adjustment.

Oversimplifying the pricing calculation process by encouraging professionals to simply append a value to their “worth” is irresponsible.

Furthermore, how does it affect a professional’s morale when they’re told—repeatedly—that their prices are too high? How does it feel to be told you aren’t worth as much as you believed yourself to be?

Don’t charge your worth. You’re highly unlikely to be capable of properly measuring it anyway. Instead, charge what you need to charge to cover your costs and realize a profit.

“Bring your business to the next level.”

Where is “the next level?” How do you measure the distance between levels? How do you determine what level you’re on or when you’ve reached the next one?

I’m willing to bet the person offering to help you “bring your business to the next level” has no clue what “level” your salon currently operates at, which means they most likely have some “formula” (or “system” or “program”) they believe they can apply to any business…if they have anything at all besides motivational buzz phrases.

While “the next level” sounds like a place we’d totally want to go, you’re better off taking a more strategic, systematic approach to career advancement and business growth.

“Crush your competition.”

How do we do this “crushing?” Why would we want to? Who are we considering our “competition?” Again, we’re lacking a lot of really critical details here.

Think about what it takes to “crush” your competition. At a bare minimum, you’d need to understand:

  • who your competition actually is,
  • how you would determine whether or not your efforts to “crush” them have been successful, and
  • what you stand to gain by “crushing” them.

Do you truly know who your competitors are? I often find that most salon owners have no idea how to evaluate competing businesses. The salons they believe are their competitors typically aren’t.

Does Rolex consider Timex a competitor because they both sell watches? Do fine dining establishments consider McDonald’s a competitor because they both sell food? Does Ferrari consider Toyota a competitor because they both sell cars?

Just because you operate in the same space doesn’t mean you’re in competition with one another.

Even if you are in competition with another salon, “crushing” them will be difficult at best if you don’t have a thorough understanding of how the competitor operates—an understanding you’re unlikely to ever obtain in the detail necessary to effectively undermine their efforts through your own counter-strategies.

Ask yourself: is the investment of your time and energy worth the potential gain? If you’re being honest, the answer will often be “no.”

Instead of trying to destroy the businesses you perceive to be your rivals, you’re better off investing your time and energy into strategies that improve your salon’s position. Design an approach that suits your brand. Some salons are driven by innovation, always striving to be the trend-setters in town. Others focus highly on consistent service, continually refining their protocols to ensure every experience the client has in their facility is as enjoyable as the first visit.

I recommend taking a healthier, more grounded approach to competition—one that inspires continual improvement. “Crushing” of any kind won’t be necessary.

Demand specifics.

These phrases tend to appear constantly on advertisements for seminars, coaching, consulting, courses, and other business services/resources. While I don’t want to go so far as to say that all of these people are scam artists who utilize these meaningless sayings because they don’t have anything substantial to share and aren’t actually qualified to be teaching anyone anything, I will say that I’ve found that to be true for a decent chunk of them.

It will be up to you to determine whether a “coach” or “educator” is credible or not.

Don’t be lured into a purchase (or a classroom) by ambiguous, motivational fluff alone. Research the professional in question.

  • Are they educated and experienced?
  • Have they demonstrated their knowledge and their value?
  • Who are they formally associated with professionally and are those people also credible?

It can be shockingly easy for a bullshit artist with graphic design skills to establish themselves as an “expert” on the internet and weasel their way into magazines and trade shows, so be skeptical and evaluate everything critically.

Red flags include:

  • consulting companies with invisible consultants (firms without faces),
  • stage names,
  • professional biographies that include the words “serial entrepreneur” and/or those that serve more as advertisements for the site/services than an overview of the professional’s experience and credentials,
  • inflated job titles and boisterous biographies (“world-renowned CEO”),
  • career histories that lack salon experience of any kind,
  • “know it all” attitudes (constantly speaking in absolutes but never citing sources, failing to disclose credential deficits),
  • no demonstration of knowledge (a complete lack of published work, for instance),
  • plagiarism (people often try to build careers by stealing the work of others), and
  • long-term contract requirements.

I was tempted to tie this article in with The #Girlboss Epidemic, but this problem has never been exclusive to the bizarre Millennial realm, where “influencers” are somehow able to brand themselves as experts with nothing to show in their resume but motivational Snapchat messages. Many of these business gurus certainly do fall into that category, but a good deal don’t. For every questionable 20-year-old “mastermind” you come across, you’ll find an equally questionable 40+ year-old “salon business strategy specialist.”

Don’t let youth fool you.

Some of those young #girlbosses are actually legitimate and know more about modern business strategy than their elder counterparts. You shouldn’t base your assessment of a source’s ability on their age any more than you should base it on their follower count. Instead, do your research, review their contributions to the industry, and evaluate demonstrations of competence.

If you know what to look out for and how to read between (and beyond) the lines, you’ll be able to ensure the business advice you receive is proven, practical, and actionable—and that your valuable time won’t be wasted chasing trivial declarations that are better suited to bumper stickers than business plans.

Suggested Articles and Resources

If you’d like to know how to actually “charge your worth,” I’ve designed several downloadable pricing toolkits that actually do the math for you. You can learn more about them in The Store.

To learn how to plot your own course to “the next level,” read my article, “Beauty Career Mastery: Map Your Path to Career Success.”

If you want to learn more about why it isn’t your job to damage a competitor’s company and how to let competition serve as a powerful motivator, read my article, “Understanding Competition.”

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Beauty industry survivalist, salon crisis interventionist, tactical verb-weapon specialist, and the leader of at least a hundred workplace revolutions, Tina Alberino is known as much for her extensive knowledge as for her sarcastic wit and mercilessly straightforward style. She’s the author of the book The Beauty Industry Survival Guide and the blog This Ugly Beauty Business. When she’s not writing, educating, or consulting, she can be found overthinking everything, identifying problems people didn’t know existed, and stubbornly working to change the things she cannot accept.


  1. Great advise on demanding specifics. Grandiose platitudes and catch phrases are sure signs of someone wanting to take advantage. No matter what industry.

  2. Tina,
    I have been a booth rent Salon owner for 5 yrs I have an amazing group of ladies that works with me. But I am wanting to expand but am a little nervous because we have such a great team. Any suggestions or which product of yours I should chk out?


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