August 3, 2021

The Wrong Clients

Fellow list member Alison Eaton wrote in with a follow-up question to my recent Strictly speaking... email.

I think you might find the ensuing thread helpful (shared with permission, lightly edited for clarity):


Jonathan love your posts. Are you saying here that a thing is worth what someone will pay for it?


Not exactly.

What something is worth is different to everyone who considers it.

What something is worth to Bob can be defined as “the maximum amount that Bob would pay for it” but that doesn’t mean that the thing is worth that same amount to Carol.

Does that help?


Yes thanks for clarifying. So if it is not worth enough to Bob, I might need to look to “John” if it is worth more to John.

Change the client not the price. I like it.


Exactly! Yes, change the client not the price.

The key takeaway here is that thoughts like “Clients need to pay me what I’m worth!” are usually misguided because they imply an objective definition of what something is worth.

If the clients you’re currently attracting are not willing to pay you what you think you are worth, the problem ISN’T that these clients need to be educated about how hard your job is, or shamed into paying you a living wage, or otherwise guilted into a price that is acceptable to you.

The real problem is that you are attracting the wrong kind of clients.



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