#347: On Impostor Syndrome and Feeling Guilty About Your Fees

Think back to when you first went out on your own.

Remember those first few projects? Getting paid for your writing felt like magic, didn’t it?

You put in, say, 10 hours of work and the client paid you $750.


What made it magical was that the $750 was all for me. And I loved the idea that a few units of effort in would translate to a few units of compensation on the other end.

Eventually, we all get used to this kind of reward ratio. And we (rightfully) start expecting more. We may even get to a point where one hour of our time is often worth $300, $400 or more. Especially when a project goes real smoothly.

And for some solo professionals, this can start feeling odd. We feel a bit guilty that we’re earning that much on some or all of our client work.

Impostor syndrome kicks in. And that inner critic starts taking over our internal chatter.

In this week’s (short) podcast episode I get into these feelings of guilt and how to address them.

This is important stuff. Because if left ignored, these feelings will create a cascading effect of guilt and negativity that inevitably leads to self-sabotage.

I hope you find it useful.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Key Topics and Bullets: 

  • Initial feeling of magic and excitement when getting paid for projects
  • Transition from corporate sales to solopreneurship with full payment going to the solopreneur
  • The expected increase in fees and internal hourly rates as a solopreneur becomes more experienced
  • Feeling guilty about earning higher fees for client work
  • Impostor syndrome and inner critic
  • Understanding that fees are not just for the current effort but for the years of experience and growth
  • Years of mistakes, setbacks, and negative feedback contributing to personal and professional growth
  • Investing in self-improvement, continuous learning, and stepping out of comfort zones
  • Professional growth before starting as a solopreneur being a part of the journey
  • Emphasizing the years of effort, learning, and emotional energy behind passive income streams
  • The significant effort behind seemingly simple tasks like selling a product or providing guidance to clients
  • Recognizing the value and skills acquired over the years and applying it to the current work
  • The importance of being fair to oneself and appreciating the journey to understand the earned compensation
  • Avoiding the trap of thinking that one doesn’t deserve the earnings
  • Reflecting on the journey to put the current numbers in context


By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business: 

1. Grab a free copy of my book. 

It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here   

2. Get my Business-Building Toolkit.

Too many freelancers lack a critical set of business skills that would enable them to earn more in less time doing work they love for better clients. I’ve taught these skills to my coaching clients for years. And now I’ve packaged it in a way that will enable you to start getting results FAST. — Learn More   

3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just hit reply and put “Case Study” in the subject line. 

4. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.