About Being Cheap

There’s always someone who will do your job for cheaper than you will. In fact, you can bet on it.

That’s because there’s always someone who’s more desperate, who wants the sale more, or who is doing it for something other than money. So how do you know if you should discount your services? Of course that you don’t ever truly know. But here are some hints.

1. If someone tells you it’s an opportunity, it probably isn’t.

If someone has to convince you of the opportunity they’re presenting in front of you, they’re trying to sell you something. Opportunities are obvious, but sleight of hand is subtle. You can tell which is which.

To find out if someone is being cheap, you do the math on the kind of business that they do, how much they make per customer, and then calculate how much they make per month. Then you not only know that they’re cheap, but just how cheap they are– which in turn tells you how much they do (or don’t) value you. By this point your pride should kick in, and you’ll know what to do.

2. See if you can leverage it.

Leverage (or lack of it) makes something either easier or harder to achieve. If someone is leveraging you (which they usually are in one way or another), you can usually do the same with them. Speakers doing free stuff can suggest a mailing list or to visit their blog, or if they like that kind of thing, they can sell a product (ugh).

Once you start making an ok living, you figure out pretty quickly that (some) money is actually the easiest stuff you can get access to, and that a big network, a powerful platform, or other different forms of value are much harder to obtain. So if you’re making a living, the next steps are to obtain those, since they’ll expand your capacities in ways currency cannot.

3. Pricing is entirely about perception.

Someone that charges $50k for a website design tells people what they are about, instantly. Someone who starts at $1,000 and then discounts to $750 says something else entirely– namely that they’re willing to find 25% more clients to make the same amount of money, and they’re comfortable with that (ugh).

All pricing is a matter of framing and perception, which is why discounting is usually bad. That said, if you’re on the edge of a “yes,” it might be appropriate– but a good reason should be presented to the person, not just because you need the money. If you discount yourself early, it means you’ll probably be comfortable with doing it again, later. Imagine a marriage based on that principle– fun right? 😉

Anyway, people are in all kinds of situations, where they may need to drop their prices or make another kind of sacrifice, but I guess I’m trying to say that, more often than not, you should stand up for your value, and raise it more often than you’re already doing. The result is less work, more choice for you, and the ability to spend more time on what matters.

All that is so much better than pandering to the lowest common denominator.





2 responses to “About Being Cheap”

  1. Azzurra Camoglio Avatar

    I was just wondering if your post could be applied to relationships…
    And I think the answer is yes.

  2. Joe Sorge Avatar

    Love the sidepath that this post travels slightly about “the network” fits perfectly.

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