I am an alternative practitioner but embarrassed to charge customers …

Dear Gillian,

I am writing to you as you run workshops and see clients one to one.  I don’t run workshops but I do see clients and I feel uncomfortable when I ask them to pay. I give aromatherapy massage and sometimes Reiki.  Someone actually said to me the other day “how do you have the nerve to charge £40 you should do this for free”.  I find it hard to cover all my costs but should I reduce my prices?

Dear Marie,

It always amazes me that people who say such things to others as “how do you have the nerve to charge?” would not dream of going in to their place of work everyday without getting paid.

You are gifted and that is wonderful but you still live in the physical world and like everyone else you need money.  Money is just energy so if you bake me a cake (use your energy) in return I give you some money (some of my energy).  What you do is a job, it may be a little different from what others may do but it is still your job so do not feel uncomfortable about getting paid, no one else does.

Always make sure people who come to you know what payment you require and in what form you accept it (i.e cheques, cash, credit card).  At the end of your session just ask how they would like to pay it and thank them.  Believe me they do not go in to Tesco and complain to the management that they should not have to pay for their bread.

You always have the ability to offer reduced prices for those in difficult circumstances but I would keep this information to yourself and use at your own discretion. On one occasion a lady came to see me from quite a distance and asked for a discount as she would find it difficult to pay. I agreed and was “gobsmacked” when following our session she rang to thank me and fill me in on the changes she had made and also told me after she left me she took the extra time while waiting for her train to do some shopping and had bought herself a new outfit!

Give the best service you can, love what you do, be proud of what you do, appreciate what you offer others.  They have a choice as to whether or not they come to you.  if you do not love, appreciate and value yourself and your gifts no-one else will.

Caroline Myss has a wonderful CD set available called “Essential Guide for Healers”, it makes for refreshing listening and will clarify your role and all facets of your art for you and in particular feeling comfortable about charging for your services.

With love,

Gillian