APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today she helps a woman who is worried about raising prices at her business and and another who is anxious to apply for a new job after being furloughed.
Q: I’m a self-employed beauty therapist and my work often means visiting clients in their homes, as well as renting a space in a salon.
I’m now able to offer a number of services post-lockdown, and have been providing these to some of my regular customers over the past few weeks, until I can resume my full services.
I have no choice but to put up my prices to cover the cost of PPE and my lost earnings during lockdown, but I don’t know how to tell my customers in a way that doesn’t scare them off. Any advice?
Erica, via email
A: I’m sure this is a thought going through almost every business and self-employed person’s mind right now.
Firstly, handle a price increase authentically. Work out exactly what extra you need to charge and be reasonable.
People will have got out of the habit of having beauty treatments and some may be under financial pressure themselves, so charging too much may result in you losing their custom.
Some will also feel it’s not their responsibility to cover any lost wages you suffered when you couldn’t work.
So be realistic, check out your competitors’ prices and see if they have increased and by how much. Then make clear the safety measures you have put in place – focus on that more than the price rise, as people will be more likely to pay more for a beautician who has put the safety of her customers first.
Also, make the time to call all your customers personally and speak to them. It’s a great time to engage, a good opportunity to book them in for an appointment and a chance to explain your new safety protocols and pricing.
You might want to incentivise them to make multiple bookings and pay in advance for a course of treatments, which helps you with cash flow, but also helps them with a discounted price.
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Q: I am currently on furlough, but work as an account executive. I’ve always had issues with confidence, so much so that I’m scared to apply for jobs in case I’m not good at a new role, so I’ve stuck with the same company for over seven years.
I want to progress, but my fear of not being good enough is holding me back. What can I do?
Laura, via email
A: You need to boost your self-esteem and start believing in yourself, because if you don’t champion your career, no one will do it for you.
Confidence comes from being decisive, having things under control, knowing your subject, speaking with conviction and believing in your ideas. If you doubt yourself, so will everyone else.
Confident people stand out, get promotions and pay rises and get the best and most challenging projects to work on.
So be positive, and be the person everyone wants to work with. Identify your strengths and build on them – when you lead with your strengths, you’re more self-assured.
Work on being more assertive, as standing up for your ideas, making your opinion heard and learning not to settle are vital. And finally, you only have one life, so live it well and push yourself.
It’s fine to put yourself out there and apply for a new job, and for someone to say no. However, they may also say yes.
How will you ever know if you don’t try?
Be a boss
BOSSING It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.
It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!
Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.
Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.
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