Interview Patty

Are You Eating the Broken Cookies?

May 23, 2023

When I was growing up, my mom made these fabulous cookies. The whole house smelled good. The cookies were warm and gooey – I mean, these were seriously good cookies – and my entire life, I watched my mom eat the broken cookies.

When I was a teenager, I finally thought to ask, “Mom, why do you only eat the broken cookies? Do they taste better?”

She laughed and said, “No, I eat the broken cookies, so you can have the whole ones!”

Yes, Mom was kind and wanted her family to enjoy the whole cookies. But she was only eating the crumbs! She was depriving herself of the enjoyment of eating a whole cookie. And she was depriving herself of the satisfaction she would gain by taking a moment to recognize and appreciate her skilled work – a job well done.

Not long ago, I saw this shocking statistic: 62 percent of women rely on their businesses for their primary income, and 88 percent of women-owned businesses make less than $100,000 a year (SmallBizGenius).

Suddenly, this image of my mom eating the broken cookies – the crumbs – popped into my head. I realized I had seen this pattern of behavior in women business owners for decades, but I didn’t have the language to describe it.

Exactly like our role models – our mothers and grandmothers – many of us bring our old Good Girl selves into our businesses. We eat the broken cookies, and everyone else – our clients, our staff, our families – gets the whole cookies.

If you’re like most women business owners, you undervalue yourself, underprice your services, and then over-deliver. Your profit disappears with a “poof,” and you end up “living on crumbs.”

I call this dynamic The Broken Cookie Effect®.

Today’s Question:

Are you eating the broken cookies?

Typically, we’re not aware of The Broken Cookie Effect. As we become aware, we think there’s nothing we can do about it. As women, we’re taught to put others first, and as Good Girls, we grew up understanding our world through achievement.

This fusion of serving others and exceeding expectations leads to the good student, good leader, good wife, good mother, good daughter, good professional – and ultimately, the good business owner who charges too little and gives too much.

But Here’s the Twist . . .

It is surprising how consistently The Broken Cookie Effect came up in my market research. I asked women business owners: “What would you do with an extra $100,000 in your business?” There was no hesitation. They would hire more people, give their staff raises, and hold a company retreat. All lovely ideas, but what happened to the person taking all the risks and putting her reputation on the line? What could the owner do for herself with that infusion of cash into her business?

I learned a basic principle as a parent: My physical and mental health directly impacts the well-being of my kids. Putting myself last (“eating the crumbs”) doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking of your business as your “baby,” the same parenting principle applies. Taking care of yourself has a positive impact on everyone around you. It means you find joy and purpose in your work, people enjoy being around you, and you inspire confidence in others. It means you look like a leader and feel like a leader.

Now What?

For business owners, it often feels like the need to serve is fighting with the need to sell. The spirit of self-sacrifice we learned from our role models steps in front of our business goals and blocks the view – making it incredibly difficult to achieve our goals.

We are all juggling competing responsibilities with family, home, and business. There is frequently a gap between knowing what you need and getting what you need. This book focuses on closing that gap and beating The Broken Cookie Effect.

-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue

Are You Eating the Broken Cookies? I'd love to hear what you think and if you’re struggling with The Broken Cookie Effect®. Simply respond to this email. I read and respond to every email personally.

P.S. Are you giving 'invisible' discounts to prospects who didn't ask for them? The anxiety you feel when talking with a potential client leaks out when you slash your price because you're afraid you'll lose the opportunity if you don't. We think we're hiding our fear but others can sense it.

I've broken down exactly why this 'discount dilemma' happens in an exclusive training called The Value Equation, which you can get for FREE by signing up for the bonuses that are companion pieces for my book, Your Hidden Advantage.

Patty Block

Business advisor, pricing expert, and bestselling author, Patty Block empowers women business owners to turn up their power by shifting their mindset, attracting right-fit clients, and boosting their revenue to achieve a more profitable future. Isn't it time to run your business with more confidence, profit, and joy?

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