Go on, give yourself a raise. You deserve it.

-By Steve Strauss, USA TODAY Small Business Columnist

Let’s do a little thought experiment.

Imagine you have a really good job; one you like a lot. Yes, you work long hours, but it seems like it is worth it. You are doing work you find invigorating, you’re growing your nest-egg (too slowly maybe), and are part of something bigger than yourself. 

The business keeps growing. And you keep working. In fact, the hours don’t let up. The more success the business has, the more hours you put in. And yet, despite all this, the boss doesn’t give you a raise. One year, two years, more. Still no raise. What kind of boss would do that?

My question for you is, why would you do that to yourself?

Yes, that’s right. It turns out that if you work for yourself, if you are the boss, then it is highly likely that you have not given yourself a raise recently, if ever. That’s not right.

Look my friends, if you are going to be the boss – especially of yourself – then be a good one. Give yourself a raise. You deserve it. Yes, I know, there are risks involved. It could be that you may turn off some customers, or that your new prices mean that you never get some of those new customers in the first place. But I say, don’t worry about it. It’s fine. Let them go. You are better off without them. 

In fact, let me suggest that there is more danger to not raising your prices than there is to actually raising them. 

Let’s start with that basic fear that you will turn off customers so much that you will lose their business. This begs the question: 

Is that true for you? I bet not.

Are you of the ilk that you would stop patronizing a business you like just because the owner raised his or her prices (or fees) for the first time in a few years? Probably not. You shop where you do and hire whom you hire for a lot of reasons, price being only one of them, and probably not even the most important one. You do business with the businesses you do because you like their products and/or services, maybe it’s convenient, maybe you like their customers service, whatever. Price is just one factor.

Now, consider the benefits of giving yourself a raise, of raising your fees or prices.

First, it is good for your brand. Unless you are “the low-price leader,” keeping your prices artificially low does you no good, in fact, it does you harm. By raising your prices, you are signaling to customers (old and new alike) that what you offer is valuable, that you believe in yourself and your business, that you are confident in the value you provide, and that you are worth it. 

Raising prices helps your brand, it doesn’t hurt it.

Second, you will make more money. Oh sure, you may lose a few customers, but in all likelihood, they will either not be missed (who wants those crummy clients anyway?) or their revenue will be made up by your new prices, or both.

In fact, the main reason to give yourself a raise is that, not only do you deserve it, but you will be better off financially as a result. 

Third, you will have less stress. More money typically means less stress, right? Right. Everyone likes getting a raise. 

The bottom line is that as a professional, as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, revenue and income are obviously important. And the extra money you receive from your raise can be used to create an even more stable financial foundation for you, your family, and your business. You can then begin to invest more, buy more life insurance, or pay down debt. Whatever your choice, the bottom line is that giving yourself a raise doesn't cost, it pays.

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