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Is Your Mentor Giving You the Right Advice?

by Lena L. West

At first, this might sound elementary. I mean, it’s basic common sense, I think; but then again, common sense isn’t all that common.

What I’ve realized is that in the name of empowering women business owners, some coaches, marketing consultants, etc., have been telling women, “Charge whatever you want, people will pay for it. If you’re not charging the highest price, then you don’t think you’re worth it.”

Well, that last statement is true if you have the experience and the results — and you still aren’t charging what you’re worth, but there’s a bumper crop of women business owners who are coming out of these coaching mills programs with a serious disconnect between how much they can charge and what they can do for you.

Case in point, we’re in the process of hiring a LOT more Social Media Concierges based on some planned business growth I’ve alluded to in a previous post, and I recently had a conversation with someone whose rate was $50/hour.

I asked her if she had ever used HootSuite before. She said, no.

I asked her if she was familiar with WordPress. She said, no.

I asked her if she had links to Twitterstreams, Facebook pages, etc. for client projects. She said, no.

I asked her if she had client references to attest to the work she said she could do. She said, no.

At this point, I asked her what she DID have experience with and she said newsletters and scheduling people’s calendars.

Ok, so that’s not SOCIAL MEDIA.

I tried to explain to her that it was going to be awfully hard for her to charge $50/hour for work she’s never performed before and she said that Ms. Popular Mentor Coach told her she could charge just as much as she wants. Wow. You don’t say?

Here’s the thing: and I don’t say this to make anyone feel badly, but if you’re still “green,” you need to charge “green” rates until you get more experience, and anyone who’s trying to “empower” you by telling you to “charge whatever you want” is setting you up to fail. Period.

2011 PA Conference for Women speaker Lena L. West is an award-winning social media consultant, blogger, speaker, journalist, technologist and the founder of, the only social media training program created exclusively for women business owners and leaders. West is also a columnist for American Express OPENForum, former Entrepreneur Magazine blogger and columnist, expert blogger for FastCompany Magazine and guest blogger for and Forbes says West is one of the 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter: