photo: Giphy

There's no easy way to talk about money – especially for women. When it comes to asking for more money in the workplace, women are four times less likely to ask for a raise than men.

But there's another sector of professionals who deal with unique challenges. Freelancers and entrepreneurs often struggle with putting a price tag on their work. 

I checked out the Worthy Women conference on Saturday (November 5) to learn how different boss babes are making sure they cash in. 

During a panel, "Getting Paid Is a Forte: The Art of Guerilla Entrepreneurship," moderated by Worthy Women founder Audrey Bellis, Honey B Gold founder Natalie Durazo, and film reporter Alicia Malone each shared tips to ensure fellow independent women.

You may have to work for free at first, so make it count.

Malone admits that initially she had to work for free. She left Australia six years ago with a passion for classical movies, hoping to become a film reporter, and has worked relentlessly to get to the place she is today. During her "free" days, she did as much as possible to build up her expertise. She did YouTube videos and wrote blog posts in an effort to increase her visibility and credibility in her desired field. "Slowly I built up this career to where I am an expert that people come to to talk about movies," she said. 

Know your product's value.

While Durazo wasn't giving her products up for free, she was selling her first pairs of hand-painted earrings at a pretty low price point, charging only $20 for custom orders. Now she gets backlash for charging more (Honey B Gold jewelry pieces vary between $18 – $60), but she stands by her pricing of her products. 

"I didn’t drastically change the price, but I started to slowly use better materials, everything started to turn to better quality, so I’m like okay it’s fair to charge more,” Durazo explained. And when she gets backlash, she reminds herself and critics there's a lot that goes into her brand that people don't consider. 

"Do you know how much photo shoots cost? Do you know how much experimenting and marketing and all the free stuff we have to give away? I have an office, I have employees – you have to charge accordingly. Plus, you’re not going to find this in the store, this is my own idea... When you create something that’s missing and doesn’t exist, you kind of set the worth for it."

Get smart about your consumer/audience.

Moderator Bellis chimed in to double down on Durazo's point about pricing. "There is always someone everywhere who is willing to buy your stuff at the price point that you determine. And if you’re marketing it to an audience that won’t buy it, you’re marketing it to the wrong audience. It’s your job to understand your data. Understand who your people are so you can pitch it to the right place." 

Set your boundaries.

It's up to you to eventually put your foot down and demand your worth. Making that shift, made a big difference in Malone's business. 

"As soon as I started saying 'no' instead of 'yes' all the time, that’s when a lot of things changed for me and suddenly people respected me more and I got what I wanted and I started getting paid." Malone added, 

"I found that all the people I worked for free for or that I was very much available for, they’re the ones that treated me the worst. Whereas the ones where I set my worth and boundaries, they’re the ones that treated me the best."
Now Malone's experiencing the joy of being more confident in her finances because she demands a contract with each new gig. In it she outlines how much or little she'll work for a given time and can rest assured knowing her bills are paid and she's a valued and respected employee. 

Getting paid what you or your product is worth takes time, but the effort is always worth it.

**Worthy Women is a "movement for women who want to play big in the world." They offer free monthly events in a supportive environment full of other ladies "who dare to play by their own rules, forge their own path, and live their true self worth."