18. How to Know if You Are Underearning: Part 3

How to Know if You Are Underearning: Part 3

If you’re not spreading the word about what you do, you are under earning. This episode will identify the fear that’s causing your silence. And what to do about it. 


  • How fear of desire keeps you silent about your business
  • Why business is a skill-based game
  • Why there is no “maybe” in money—you either get the money, or you don’t
  • How skill ends your fear, and your silence, so you can get in the game and spread the word about your business.




  • Don’t miss an episode, follow on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and everywhere else you find podcasts.
  • Leave us a review in Apple Podcasts.
  • Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!


Welcome to Episode 18 of How to Make More Money, a podcast
that helps you get seriously good at the game of making serious money. I’m your
host Kelly Hollingsworth, and I’m so excited you’re here because today we’re
continuing our deep dive into under earning.

If you were with us for the last two episodes, you know
that in
episode 16, we discussed what it means to under earn. Your under
earning anytime you’re making less than the market is willing to pay. How do
you know if you’re doing this? One way to know is the markup test. You’re under
earning if someone else is marking up your services and keeping most or all of
the money. We discussed that in episode 16.

Another way to know you’re under earning we discussed in episode 17. You’re under earning if you are warning people away from
you. How do you know if this is happening? You’re selling something people
actually want–they’re buying it from other people–but they’re not buying it
from you, because you’re either saying nothing, or what you’re saying isn’t
attracting them. It’s repelling them.

Today, we’re going to talk about this problem of saying
nothing. You’re afraid to show up on social media to talk about what you do. Or
you have an email list, but you never send anything. Or when people ask what
you do, you don’t tell them about your business. Instead, you tell them about
the corporate job you want to escape once your business is up and running. But
of course here the question is, how can you get it up and running if you never
talk about it? The answer is you can’t. Unless your silence is strategic, such
as you’re working on a launch and you just don’t have anything to say about it
yet, silence will cost you a fortune.

Silence in your business is an exquisite form of very
expensive entrepreneurial torture that can go on for years. People tell you to
just get over it, to just “put yourself out there,” and yet you remain stuck.
If this is you, it’s helpful to know that you’re not alone. And it can be even
more helpful to know what is causing this problem and how to solve it. That’s
what we’re going to discuss today.

To get started, I want to tell you about something funny
that happened this morning. Remember a couple of episodes ago when I was
talking about how we’re groomed to under earn? I mentioned an exchange I heard
on Dave Ramsey’s podcast. A woman named Kim called in and asked how to get a
raise up to market rate because she was making less. Ken Coleman, a frequent
host of the Dave Ramsey podcast, told her never to directly ask her employer
for more money, to ask for a “growth plan” instead, because to ask for more money
would put the employer on the defensive.

To this, I said, that’s crazy and illogical. We tell women
to make less than market rate for their services all the time, but that’s
insane because we’d never do that with something else, like a stock. If I called
up the Dave Ramsey show and asked, do you think I should insist that my broker
pay me market rate for my Coca-Cola stock? I speculated that Dave would of
course say, “of course he should pay you market rate. If you’re not getting
market rate for your stock at this brokerage firm, you need to ditch that
broker and go get a new one.”

So here’s the funny thing that happened. Just this
morning, I was listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast and the brand new episode had
Dave himself talking to a man named Michael, who is a diesel mechanic from
Oklahoma. As a diesel mechanic, Michael is only making $12 an hour. And Dave
basically said, that’s really low. Are you certified? Or just learning? Michael
said that yes, he was certified.

So like Kim, Michael is making less than market rate. Like
Kim, he called the Dave Ramsey show and asked what to do. And Dave basically
told him to go in and talk to his employer. Tell him this is below market rate.
And ask, what do we need to do to get me up to market rate? Do I need to go
work somewhere else? Or can you pay me market rate here? Unlike Kim, Michael was
told to go in and ask for the money. There was no admonishment to be indirect–to
ask for a growth plan. Michael was just told to go in and say, listen, this
isn’t market rate, I need more money. If you want to listen to this exchange
between Dave Ramsey and his caller named Michael, I’m linking the episode in
the show notes. The discussion begin to about three minutes into the episode.

So the first thing I want to say about this is, good for
Dave for not grooming Michael to under earn. But here’s an interesting
question. Why did this particular caller, Michael the diesel mechanic, get such
different advice on the Dave Ramsey show then Kim who called in with the exact
same problem? We can’t know for sure. Maybe it’s because the advice came from
different people. Dave Ramsey told Michael to go for market rate. Maybe Dave
did this because he’s an employer, and from an employer standpoint, he
recognizes that you want to pay good employees market rate or you’re going to
lose them. Ken Coleman told Kim, his caller, never to directly ask for money.
Maybe he did this because he’s an employee. He’s never stood in the shoes of an
employer, as far as I know. So he could be speculating about how employers
would feel when they’re asked for market rate, and he doesn’t really know. That
could be going on. That could be the explanation for the difference in advice
to these two callers who called into the Dave Ramsey show.

But what else could be going on? What else could be going
on is that women get different advice than men when it comes to how to ask for
money. Men are routinely advised, “of course you should ask for market rate.”
Women are routinely advised, “that’s not a terrific idea. Someone might feel
defensive. That could affect you badly.” Maybe this is what we’re seeing
on the Dave Ramsey show, and maybe it isn’t. As I said, we can’t know for sure.
But what we can know for sure is that this is what we’re seeing in other
conversations across this country all the time. The differentiated advice when
it comes to asking for dollars by men or by women occurs on a mass scale.

Why? Because we have an idea that when women ask for
money, in either employment or entrepreneurship, that they are going to be
judged more harshly than when men ask for money. Why might we have this idea?
Well, in large part, because that’s what happens. In their groundbreaking book,
Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
report that women who asked for money are indeed judged more harshly than men
who asked for money. This idea that asking for money is going to lead to harsh
judgment is what creates the fear of desire we talked about all the way back in
episode two. If you have fear of desire, that’s the thing that keeps you silent
and therefore stuck at the starting line. If you have the fear of desire, it’s
not that you don’t want money. You definitely do. But you think that allowing
others to see that you want it is going to bring a world of trouble down on
your head.

You’re going to be judged and harshly if you want to make
more money, or if you want people to pay you for what you do. So it’s safer to
stall out at the starting line and not do anything to move your business
forward in any way. As far as your business goes, you remain silent.

Fear of desire is one of the reasons we remain largely or
entirely silent about what we do and what we have to offer. A common symptom
that you’re suffering from this fear is you’re not doing anything to spread the
word about your business, and you find yourself giving these reasons. “It’s
just not worth it,” or “It’s going to be too much work.” Whenever I hear this
kind of thing, I always ask, would it be worth it if you made a million dollars
doing this? Or would the amount of work be okay if you quadrupled your income
doing this?

The answer is always yes. If the money’s going to be
there, it’s always worth it. It’s never too much work. So if you find yourself
thinking that it’s going to be too much work or not worth it, that’s generally
because you’re suffering from fear of desire. When you envision doing the work,
you believe that you’re not going to make the money because you’re afraid to
even ask for it. And if you do ask for money, people won’t pay it. This is
obviously not a high profit scenario. It definitely isn’t going to lead
to you making more money.

So how do we unravel this rat’s nest? Anyone can have this
problem, but it’s especially common among women to whom the world is saying, “listen,
don’t do it. Don’t ask for money. The blow back just isn’t worth it.” If you
buy into that idea, you’re not going to make money. And if this is where you
are, I would like to invite you into the game of making more money.

One of the greatest features of the game of making more
money is playing with this idea: Ken Coleman was telling Kim never to ask for
money because it would put her boss on the defensive. Dave Ramsey told Michael
the diesel mechanic that there is no problem asking for more money if you’re
making below market rate.

Which is true? This is the game. Both are true, and
which experience you have is determined by which world view you decide to
adopt. To do this, ask yourself, what kind of world are you living in? Are you
living in a world where asking for money for the thing that you sell always
creates defensiveness and discomfort on the part of your audience? Or are you
living in a world where the outcome isn’t a foregone conclusion. Where it’s
possible to ask for more money and win? You get the money and the client is
happy to pay. The question here is, is it possible that you would show up, talk
about your business with the open desire to make more money, and your audience
would be delighted, not defensive or uncomfortable?

I can’t decide this for you. Your world view is up to you,
but I can tell you which world view makes more money. It’s the latter. And
here’s why: once you adopt this world view that it’s possible to communicate in
a way that creates delight rather than defensiveness, you are on your way to
accepting the idea that attracting clients is the skill based game that it is.
And then you’re one step closer to ending your silence about whatever it is you
do in your business, and getting in the game. That’s step one, getting into the
game that makes money means deciding that it’s possible.

What’s step two? Deciding that you’re going to learn how
to do it. Step two is deciding, committing to the idea of getting good at the
game. When I say that you’re good at the game, what I mean is you have the
skill… You are good at communicating with the marketplace in a way that makes
them delighted to pay you rather than defensive and repelled by you.

So how do you get good at this game? It begins with the
recognition of your own influence. Skill begins when you recognize the enormous
amount of influence you have in how others respond to you. This recognition is
what makes you not just a player, but a contender and a winner. To get good at
the game of making money, you have to know where the wins come from. The wins
come from realizing that what you think and feel and say, what you communicate
to the marketplace on all three levels–thinking, feeling, and saying–immediately
influences others to buy or not buy. And this is not a waiting game. As with
all games, you get quick feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.

If you’re playing Monopoly, you roll the dice and you get
immediate feedback on whether your roll was effective. You land on Park Place,
or you go to jail. And it’s exactly the same with spreading the word about your
business. Sales, contrary to popular belief, is not a numbers game. You roll,
meaning you put something out there to your audience, and you get fast feedback
on whether your roll was effective. Clients bite, or they don’t. There is no “maybe”
in making money. You either get the money, or you get “maybe,” which means this
roll didn’t go your way.

But the other thing you need to know is that there are
games of chance and games of skill. Monopoly involves rolling the dice, so it’s
largely a game of chance. Commerce is a game of skill. When you roll in
business, it’s different from rolling the dice in Monopoly. How you show up,
and how you are received by others, isn’t luck. You decide to think and feel
and communicate in a manner that draws people towards you or repels them away
from you. And then once you decide to do that, you learn how to do it. As in
any game of skill you decide to play, and then you learn to win. This, my
friends, is something most people don’t want to do. Developing this skill takes
some mental exertion. It’s a cognitive Everest of sorts. And that’s what keeps
most humans from playing this game well, because the human brain is one lazy
critter. It wants two things: to maintain the status quo, to keep you stuck at
the starting line right where you are, and to conserve calories because your
brain is the highest calorie burning organ in your body. So because most humans
have this reluctance to develop the skill that it takes to get good at the game
of communicating with the audience in a way that creates delight rather than
defensiveness, that’s why the game feels risky.

We watch a lot of people playing the game and they’re not
very good at it and we feel alienated and repelled by them, and we think,
“I don’t want to play that game. It’s really risky. You’re going to get up
there and you’re going to try to play and you’re going to be judged
harshly.” And if that’s what you’re thinking, that’s part of the reason
that you’re silent. So here’s the way out: to share what you do with the
expectation that you would receive money in exchange, you need to realize that
this is a skill-based game and the people who aren’t doing it well and who are
repelling and alienating their audience simply haven’t acquired the skill of
doing things differently.

So if you’re stuck in silence, here’s what you need to
know: in any game of skill, there are two great ways to lose. One way is you’re
on the field. You’re playing, but you don’t improve your skills. You don’t get
help learning to play better. In commerce, this means coming across as creepy,
and salesy, and off-putting. Struggling entrepreneurs who have this going on
just keep going. They aren’t well-received in the marketplace, but instead of
doing something about it, instead of acquiring skills so they come across
differently and more effectively, they just choose to believe that it’s working
when all evidence points to the contrary. What they’re doing clearly isn’t working,
but they’re using profit killing positive affirmations that it is working and
that have no basis in fact, and they just plow on ahead. That’s one way to lose
at the game of commerce.

Another great way to lose at this game of skill is to
erroneously believe that it’s a game of chance. Struggling entrepreneurs who do
this shrug their shoulders, throw up their hands, and declare, “Well, it’s
up to the universe if I win in this game or not. If people are attracted to me
or repelled by me, because I have no control over what they think.” But
here’s the truth: the truth is no matter what you think, you get what you
whether you know it or not.

Consider how these dominoes fall down. If you’re thinking
this thought that I have no control over how other are going to perceive me,
it’s going to lead to them judging me and I don’t have any control over that,
so I’m just going to do it.
If you’re thinking all of that, how do you
feel? If you don’t believe that thought, you feel fine. It has no effect. But
if you do believe that thought, the idea of asking for more money makes
you feel afraid. Like you’re doing something improper, and you’re going to
alienate people, and you’re going to get in trouble.

And then what happens? If you’re thinking all this, you
get what you think, and here’s why. If you approach the marketplace wanting
money in exchange for what you do, and that approach is taken from a mental and
emotional place of, “I’m doing something wrong and it’s going to alienate
people, but I want some money. So I’m doing it anyway.” If that’s how
you’re feeling, how do you come across? Well… Not well. I‘m doing something
wrong, but I’m doing it anyway because I want some money
always creates a
repellent vibe. A low-profit vibe that puts others off. Because even if you’re
not doing something inherently wrong, thinking that it’s wrong is going
to pull others into the frame of agreeing with you. Of thinking that it’s wrong,

Picture a kid who thinks he’s been up to something. Whether
it’s something that would get him in trouble or not, just the fact that he
thinks it could get him into trouble is going to cause him to sneak around. And
unless he’s the very rare kid who’s good at hiding things like that, you’re
going to sniff out and conclude that he is up to something, and what is it?
You’re going to want to know. Because clearly he’s doing something he shouldn’t
be doing. I’m picking up on this vibe from him.

And it works exactly the same way in business. If you feel
like you’re doing something wrong in asking for money, others are going to
receive you that way. They’re going to pick up on the idea that you are doing
something wrong. And they’re going to be thinking, “Why is she asking for
more money in this fashion when she clearly knows it’s the wrong thing to
do?” And then they’re going to feel defensive towards you. They’re going
to feel alienated. And they’re going to judge you. Do you see how you get what
you think? The thought of they’re going to judge me very predictably
leads to the result of them judging you.

And then what happens? Then smart women like Linda Babcock
and Sara Laschever write a book about how harshly women are judged when they
ask for money. That’s what happens.

That’s no way to live, my friends, too many struggling
entrepreneurs are living in exactly that way. But here, the question you may be
asking is, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Are we judged harshly,
and then we get the idea that we’re going to be judged? Or do we have a fear
that we’re going to be judged, and that creates the harsh judgment? The answer
is, it’s the latter. But if you don’t quite believe me on that right now, it
doesn’t matter. You can believe that your thought that you’re going to be
judged creates the result of being judged. Or you can believe that the result
of being judged over and over and over creates your fear of judgment.

It doesn’t really matter what you believe, because either
way, when you’re stuck in silence, in a chicken and egg loop like that, what
you need is a disruptor. And the disruptor is to learn to communicate in a
manner that creates delight in your audience. This is the game you play
if you want to make money.

Getting good at this game has helped me make so much more
money. For example, here’s just one example from my own life. Most hedge fund
managers charge 20% of the profits. My fund had high demand and low supply, so
I charged 50% of the profits. My investors made 50 cents of each dollar in
profits, and I made the other 50 cents. And guess what? People were happy to pay
it. I remember an institutional investor saying to me, “Why am I paying
50%?” And I said, “Because that’s what our mothers pay. You’re
getting the friends and family discount.” The investor laughed, and then
he invested in the fund.

Communicating with your audience with this kind of skill
creates cash. You’re not apologizing for the fact that you want money. And the
way you talk about the fact that you want it creates delight in your audience,
and they’re happy to pay it.

This doesn’t just work for me, it works for my clients
too. One of the women inside Gateway to Seven was with us for about three
months. And at that point, at the three-month mark, she reported that since she
started writing “Kelly Hollingsworth copy” (her words, not mine), her
schedule is now fully booked, and she has a waiting list for months out. She
made 100k in the 12 months before joining the program. After joining, she made
100k in the first three months. So because she’s communicating with the
marketplace more effectively, her earnings accelerated by a factor of four,
100k over 12 months became 100k in three months.

She’s not alone. She’s not unique. Here’s an experience of
a brand new participant in the program. She hasn’t been spreading the word
about what she does. Prior to joining the program, she’d been silent, and we’re
changing that. We were just working on a sales letter she was writing, and when
we got finished with it, she said, “Compared to the first draft, it is
like night and day. It is so clear and to the point.” She wrote to me that
she’s finally on her way to making more money. And this is the absolute truth
because she’s no longer silent, and now she’s communicating with her audience
effectively. And that’s what attracts clients. And that’s what creates cash.

So here’s the big takeaway for this episode. If you are
silent about your business, if you’re saying little or nothing, it’s because
you have what I call the fear of desire. You don’t want anyone to know you want
money because you’re afraid they’re going to judge you harshly and they’re
going to feel defensive and uncomfortable. And what I really want you to take
away from this episode is that all of this is optional. If this is what you
think about asking for more money, it’s exactly what you’ll create. If you
think you’re going to make people uncomfortable when you ask for money offering
the amazing thing that your business does, that’s what they’re going to feel—uncomfortable–because
they will pick it up from you.

If you want a different experience in your business, you
need to join us inside of Gateway to Seven. Communicating with the marketplace
in an appealing, attractive way, in a clear and compelling way, is a skill that
creates clients and creates cash. Attracting clients is not a crapshoot, my
friends, we know what humans bite on–a happy ending. Inviting your clients to a
happy ending, with you as their guide, is a skill. It’s something you can learn
how to do, and now’s the time to learn it, my friends. Why? Because now is the
time to make more money. The time is always now. And here, I’m sorry to say
that Gateway to Seven is full right now, but if you want to get in as soon as
possible, get yourself on the list for the next spot that opens up. You can
book a call at kellyhollingsworth.com to talk with me about how to get on the
list. And thanks for being here today. I look forward to connecting with you
next time.