How to Get Paid What You’re Worth
Increase Your Value, Your Worth, and Your Brand Positioning

By Shana Lynn Yao
CEO | Personal Branding Strategist

“ Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” - Warren Buffett

Have you ever said “I’m worth so much more than this?”  

If you have said or even thought that, you are not alone. The truth is, so many people feel that exact same way. They feel under appreciated, underpaid, and undervalued. They strive for success – both financial and personal – and yet so many fail to achieve it.


Did you know that your personal value is the key determiner in your income? While intangible, your personal value is the number one thing that determines the confidence you feel, the actions you take, and the amount of money you make. Without knowing and having the ability to leverage your value, your income cannot grow as it is supposed to.

Value, by definition is the importance or relative worth of something. For the successful entrepreneur, value is not only who you are, it’s also what you create, and what you do for your clients. That means, to increase your income, you need increase your relative worth to you client.  They need to be impacted in some way by what you say, how you act, and what you offer.

You may think “Yes, I know that.” - but what you may not understand is that you can’t increase your value to your client by just the information you provide. In fact, it’s how you value yourself that determines how others will value you.


“ You don’ t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” -Jim Rohn

In order to increase your value, you have to understand what it is, then proactively take steps to leverage it and grow it. When you understand what you bring to the table, how others value you, and what will cause them to exchange money for your value - that is when you will increase your income.

The key to increasing your value is defining how your clients judge your value. Meaning, aside from having the right business to solve their problem, there are 5 ways they look to judge the value you provide. It doesn't matter your business model – whether it is a product or a service - as an entrepreneur, these 5 strategies impact your communication, and how you operate your business.


1.    Integrity

2.    Authenticity

3.    Personal Influence™

4.    Differentiation

5.    Compassion

Here are the 5 Strategies of Value and how each can be incorporated into your business to increase your relative worth.



“Don’ t give people what they want, give them what they need.”– Joss Whedon

Integrity is the moral code you operate from in your business and life. We’ve all heard about workplace ethics. Most large corporations have a Code of Ethics they distribute to their employees. This 5000 page book contains the company’s standards for operation – how they expect employees to communicate to customers, how employees should operate at work, and how employees should conduct professional relationships.

For the entrepreneur, your integrity is communicated to your clients (and for that matter, your friends and family), by your honesty, understanding of your moral code, your transparency, and your fairness. Your integrity is the basis of how your customer will know to trust you.  Remember, people buy things from people that they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST.

As an entrepreneur, depending on how long you have been in business, you may not have a long track record or lots of raving fans, followers,, etc. This means you must work extra hard to win the trust of your potential client.

How do you communicate your integrity in your business?


Information is FREE. It’s everywhere. In fact, there is TOO much information out there. Your potential clients are overwhelmed. Confused. Lost. If you are just providing information, you are not standing out to them. In fact, you may be overwhelming them more.

People that have a high level of integrity, look out for their clients and the people in their lives that matter. As an entrepreneur, if your business is positioned correctly, your clients are just like you. They are your “BBF’s” - your Business Best Friends. As your friends, you have have their business interest in mind. It is your JOB to give them the best advice, if you see your advice as being the best option for them. You don’t let them struggle, buy some inferior product or service, or get overwhelmed by having to look elsewhere for information. You know you, with your high level of integrity can advise them on their next actions the best.


You are now the face of your company. People with a high level of integrity understand that everyone - your competition, the people you meet, and anyone you interface with either directly, or indirectly (in your marketing), are HUMAN. That means taking the higher road, not promising false claims on your product or service, and communicating from a place of TRUST.



“Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked.” - Peter Guber

The Merriam-Webster definition of Authentic is: real or genuine; not copied or false; true and accurate. In other words, being an authentic entrepreneur means being true to who you really are. And while that sounds easy enough, many people don’t actually know how to define who they are.

In life, we are influenced by our family, our friends, society, and our experiences. Most people are never given an opportunity to understand who they really are at the core. This would be their authentic self.

When you define who you are is you at your best - your ideal self – you are able to direct your life, your experiences, and your future to be the best life possible.  Doing this involves process that involves asking yourself a series of questions, to define yourself in 3 words. This description is of your ideal self, and how you want to be perceived by others (your clients, colleagues, friends, etc).

These 3 questions will help you understand what your perception of who you are today is, where you need to be to become your ideal self, and an idea of the actions you need to take in order for you to position yourself to others.

These 3 questions are::

What 3-5 words describe the way you currently think of yourself?

What 3-5 words would you use to describe your ideal self?

What 3-5 words describe the way you would like others to think of you?

This allows you to put into words who your authentic self is and should be the basis of how you operate in your business in order to increase your value and how your clients perceive your value.

Here are 3 ways to communicate your authenticity in your business:

1. Personal Branding.

Define and be consistent with your brand’s voice. This means all of your marketing materials – your website, your brochure, your social media interactions, your graphics, all demonstrate your true self.

2. Reframe Networking.

The word “networking” makes many people cringe. But the best way to think about networking is to NOT think about YOU and think about the other person.  This is not about “selling”. This is about MEETING PEOPLE.

Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals, teaches that when you turn networking into finding out about the other person and adding value to them, not only takes the pressure off of you, but it helps you authentically communicate with them. If they are a potential contact or client, information will be exchanged. But you will never know unless you find out what they do and what their interests are.

3. Social Media Marketing.

Use social media to communicate your authenticity. This is about communicating your brand’s vision and personality so your followers know who you are. As I mentioned before, people connect to people they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. Your online personality and authentic selves are what your clients will resonate with.


“Leadership is influence.” - John C. Maxwell

Leadership is the driving force of increasing your value. Your clients and potential clients look to you as a role model.  They buy from you and follow you because of the leadership you demonstrate. To the degree you act as a leader in your own life and demonstrate in your life, will be the extent your customer will see your value and trust you enough to pay you.

This is about Personal Influence™. Personal Influence is the art and science of changing the lens in which you see yourself which changes the way others see you.  Leaders are role models – in their business and in life. This means up leveling your own perception of yourself and understanding the actions you need to take in order to have others see you as a role model. When you discover Personal Influence™ , the actions you need to take and the words you need to say to attract your ideal clients are clearly defined. You understand the greater vision and are able to feel confident in your actions.

Additionally, leaders are constantly growing. You teach what you learn, and are able to lead your ideal clients and audience to their next steps. If your business is positioned correctly, you are a few steps in front of your clients, so increase your value to your clients, you must be on top of your business, constantly seeking education and personal growth. Learning through books, audio, online sources, and most importantly, learning business strategy specific to you, that positions you correctly in your business,, is how you grow your knowledge in your area of expertise.

Well known motivational speaker Brian Tracy says that for every dollar you invest in your education, you will make $30 more in your income.



“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” - Joseph Campbell

I hate to break this to you, but your business is not unique. I promise – whatever you do, unless you invent a new product, someone is doing something similar. That is why understanding your highest value is one of the most important things, because it differentiates you from your competitors.

Your ability to communicate your unique selling proposition is high priority.

It goes back to understanding who you are, what your clients and customers want, and then delivering it in an extraordinary way.

Here are 3 ways you can show your uniqueness your business:


This is your “Unique selling proposition” - your message and promise to your client . Your message is the KEY FACTOR to why people would hire you. It is a combination of your greatest strengths, talents, and life experience.  It is the only way they are going to know why they should buy from you and not your competitors.

I call this your “GENIUS”. It’s the thing your life has led you to do. Your passion and purpose combined into one, unique message that solves an urgent problem for someone else.

When you Discover Your Genius, when your ideal clients hear it, they instantly know you are their answer.


This includes your communication – both verbal and visual (i.e. your website, your social media messages, etc).


Customers want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. How do you distinguish yourself in the marketplace? What makes you distinctive in your image? On your website? What about your personal style? Do you show it in your videos, photos, and social media? Do you always wear red lipstick? Do you have a funky style? Do you always greet people with a special message?

This is about your personal brand. Making sure you “stand out” is key to creating your authority and unique brand.



“The most important and profitable business skill is compassion. I define it as  “proactive  empathy”. – Eben Pagan

Your ability to understand the needs of your clients and customers is the key to your success. After all, if you don’t understand what the customer needs, they aren’t going to buy from you. Only then will they trust you and see you as a valuable resource who has what they need.

Successful entrepreneur Eben Pagan says, “proactive empathy” is when you “seek first to understand your client’s needs.” It’s not just feeling what your customer feels; it’s seeking to understand where they are coming from. This means proactively communicating with your clients, listening to what they need, asking how they feel, with no other intention than to want to help them. In other words, put your motivations aside. This is not about making money (in this moment).  This is about seeking to understand and be compassionate with your client.

Also, once you understand your client’s needs, your key to increasing your value is to focus on your strengths and skills that can meet those needs. All too often it is easy to “want to do it all”. But your strengths and skills are limited and as a successful entrepreneur, you must be able to identify, hone in, and master those few things.

Understanding what your clients need, and become very clear and focused on what value you provide to solve this problem for your clients, will be the key to attracting more clients, raving fans, and dedicated followers.

Here are 3 ways to use increase your value with compassion::

1. Talk to your clients.

I know this sounds simple, but it’s something that is often forgotten. You get busy, other things take precedent, and you forget to find out about your client’s evolving needs.

A simple fix? Survey your clients. If you provide a service, provide a follow up questionnaire as a part of your business. This will allow you to automatically collect information on your client’s experience with you and understanding if you filled their need.

2. Talk WITH your clients.

Social media is a perfect way to have a consistent, informative communication with your clients and potential clients. This means don’t just automate! Engage your followers in conversation. Ask them questions, welcome interaction, and be prompt and informative with your replies.

NETWORK! Yes, make networking an essential part of growing your business. In this distracted world, it is your job to make an effort towards helping others.

3. Give. Give. Give.

As it turns out, giving is the key to receiving. Give advice, give information, give understanding. As mentioned several times, people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Where can you give more in your business?



“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”
Robert Collier

So there you have it. The key to your success - to making the money you deserve, having the confidence to charge what you are worth, and to act from a place of internal strength - is to increase your income by increasing your belief in yourself. By understanding your value - and your highest value to your clients - you are able to position yourself not as AN answer to someone’s problem, but THE answer.  

Confidence is magnetic. You attract the right people who value you. And you get paid more.  The next step, or maybe it is the first step, is to know you really are worth it and then decide to take the steps necessary to make sure your clients know it too.

To learn more about how you can increase your personal value, discover your genius, and leverage it, find out where you rank on the FREE Personal Influence™ Positioning Valuation.

You’ll discover the areas you need to work on, where you shine, and how to have a business you love, that makes money, reflects your value, and transforms your passions into your profits.

Get Paid Your Worth & Discover How to
Transform Your Business with Positioning

Shana Lynn Yao CEO #totalgenius

Shana Yao is CEO and Founder of TOTAL GENIUS™, where she works with high achieving entrepreneurs to discover your genius - the combination of your greatest strengths, talents, and life experience - to create a profit generating business based on your purpose, that fulfills your life and makes an impact on the world. She is an award-winning Business and Personal Success Strategist with over 28 years of experience managing multimillion dollar retail and shopping center locations, including the famed Rodeo Drive. 

In her signature program Discover Your Genius, Shana helps her clients achieve discover and empower their genius within. Using her knowledge of neuroscience, neuro-linguistic programming, positive psychology, emotional and positive intelligence, and high level business strategies, she works to develop her client’s unique vision by uncovering their purpose, their message, building their profit-generating signature program and putting their words into action on their website and in their customized marketing strategy.Schedule a chat to get your business and personal brand positioned to sell.

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