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My $600 Mistake


In the early days of my business, I let a lot of bad advice in. The worst piece of all?:

This was the best pic I could find to demonstrate my facial expression when I think about how silly I was back then.

This was the best pic I could find to demonstrate my facial expression when I think about how silly I was back then.


”You should charge $50 a project since you’re just starting out.”

It didn’t take long for me to get tired of spending hours of time on something to earn less than minimum wage when it was all said and done, so I began the process of raising my rates. In the midst of me reassessing, I was approached to edit a book.

Now, the Karmen with a publishing background knew that books needed to go through several rounds of editing, with the most important being a line edit.

This person didn’t want a line edit, no matter how many different ways I laid out the importance of it.

They demanded a copyedit only, and I agreed. I offered a drastically reduced rate because I still carried that “newness” mindset, and didn’t at all value my time. I also felt apprehensive about completing the copyedit when I knew (and explained thoroughly) that it would be a vain effort when structural aspects of the story hadn’t been addressed through line editing.

For the size of the project, I cut myself out of nearly $600. For the duration of the project, I was stressed. The client was great, but I was stressed by all of the things that I was seeing that should have been caught during a suggested line edit. There was a point where I considered making notes as I went along in my copyedit, but a voice in my head quickly shut that down:

”Girl if you don’t mind YOUR business and do what you were paid to do!”

Had I given notes of items that should be addressed in a rewrite, my mistake would have crossed the threshold of at least $2k. I had to do better, and it was one of the harder lessons to learn early on.

I’ve shared this anecdote with you for 4 reasons:

  1. NEVER go against your intuition.

  2. NEVER doubt your experience and credentials.

  3. Get comfortable with saying NO.

  4. UNDERSTAND that undercharging leads to overstressing.

What’s the most expensive mistake you’ve made in business? Share in the comments!

(While you’re at it, you should sign up for my 3-day email course to learn how to set yourself up to write that book you’ve been telling everyone about!)