"My clients can't afford higher rates."
When more than 330 business owners and self-employed
professionals checked off reasons why their income was
not going through the roof, this statement was chosen
more often than any other.
If you're tempted to agree that what clients can
afford limits you, let me first ask: are you certain
of that? You can't make a leap from what people say
about this to whether or not they can find the money
if sufficiently convinced that it's important.
Years ago, someone starting up a new business called
me for a consultation and told me he could pay no more
than such and such. It turned out that the most
convenient place for our meeting was his house, which
I could not help noticing had the size and glitziness
of a small mansion, with a market value of at least
three-quarters of a million dollars. What he named as
his paltry budget reflected what he felt advice on
this matter was worth, not what he had to spend. By
pointing out how much getting his business onto a
sound footing was worth to him and how much in wasted
expenditures I could save him, I'd have been able to
reshape his thinking on what it was reasonable to
Another time a client launching a catchy new product
wanted to know what kind of publicity services I could
offer her for a couple of hundred dollars. I didn't
hear from her again for quite a while, at which time
she told me she'd hired a traditional PR firm, paying
a retainer and fees of more than a thousand dollars a
month. I'd gotten the impression that she didn't have
that kind of money to invest, and I was very wrong.
At the other end of the spectrum, more than once I've
been startled to learn that a client who paid
relatively high rates without complaint was having
trouble scraping money together for rent.
In truth, until you confidently raise your rates, it's
impossible to know who will go along and who will not.
This is particularly so when you do great work and
educate clients on the value they receive.
Remember too that when you raise your rates, you can
lose some clients and still make higher profits
overall from those you retain.
In addition, you can earn more from each customer
without raising your rates by selling them additional
products and services. In this situation, they're
paying you more but don't feel they are.
Finally, if you're in one of those rare situations
where clients truly don't have money, consider whether
this is the audience you most enjoy serving or whether
you think you're only worthy of working with them. In
the former case, it's still often possible to find
outside entities, such as corporate sponsors, to
support your work.
Sometimes what feels like an absolute limit to your
earnings only means you have not yet enjoyed a
freewheeling, creative brainstorming session!
Marcia Yudkin is head mentor for
MarketingforMore.com and the author of 6 Steps to Free
Publicity and 10 other books. As an author, marketing
consultant and coach, she has spent 22 years successfully
turning words into money. By going to
http://www.marketingformore.com/survey.htm , you can
read the full results of her survey and download a
free report, "Charge More & Get It," that expands on
four other common self-sabotaging beliefs about money.