But what if my rates exceed their ability to pay?

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from Eric Johnson. You can find him on the web at http://www.divorceutah.com/

Question:

Hi David,
Assuming it is wrong to charge a man dying of thirst $100 for a glass of water and wrong to deny a starving man food, particularly if I have more than enough, how do I justify selling a service that people of all income levels need, but which most people truly cannot afford at the rates I charge because the rates clearly exceed the average person's ability to pay? I am a divorce attorney.

Answer:

Hi Eric!

I know a lot of coaches and business consultants that struggle with this same concept.

First of all, I don't quite think your comparison makes a whole lot of sense. Charging a dying man $100.00 for a glass of water doesn't really compare with charging attorney's fees.

Here's the deal…it's not your responsibility to save the world. If it were, you'd be the only divorce attorney in the world.

The truth is that you're looking at this all wrong.

The LAW states that if someone has a strong enough desire for something, the money MUST be there. What you're talking about is no different.

And your responsibility is to yourself only (and any dependent children of course).

Here's how I suggest you look at your fees.

Your fees MUST be set on your personal financial goals AND the value of the service that you offer. The value of what you offer must exceed the fees that you're charging.

The people who have the ability or willingness to pay you, WILL. And those that do not will find someone else to help them.

It's a win-win situation. You get to work with the people who you really enjoy working with, and people who aren't willing to pay your fees will pay someone else to work with them.

More life to all.

“Just Believe”,®

P.S: The Neagle Code: DIRECTIONS for LIFE is a weekly no-cost program that is open to everyone! Each week, I'll select and personally respond to one question received via the above “The Neagle Code” page that I feel in my heart will help the most people. (You may choose to remain anonymous if you wish, with our full support.) It is my deep, heartfelt intention that ~ in answering your questions ~ I may provide you with the Universal Truths that in committed application, will set you free. Simply submit YOUR burning question at: www.TheNeagleCode.com to participate.

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20 comments

  1. Good answer, as usual.

    My work is in the same boat…WAY more of that boat, actually. In my case, a lot of people can’t understand charging money for spiritual counseling…but that means that they put less value on it than on a case of beer or a doctor’s visit. If they can’t afford me, there are plenty of fortunetellers out there who work for 30 bucks. 🙂 . And then when they’re finally ready for some real help, they’ll figger it out.

    Thanks for the clarity, David.

    • Thanks for the post Michael. Allow your services to speak for themselves and if you encounter those who can’t justify paying your fees realize that you never wanted to work with them in the first place.

      • Thank you SO much, Michael. I have had SO many people tell me that spiritual helpers and healers shouldn’t charge for their work, because they are providing a SPIRITUAL, intangible service, and because “money just ain’t spiritual” hehe! I always FELT that that was wrong (after all, we pay doctors, why shouldn’t we pay healers?) but I could never define WHY it seemed wrong. Now you have done so for me, thank you.

  2. This is great information! Thank you David! One question…You say “The value of what I offer must exceed the fees I am charging” Who decides that value, who sets that value. The value I place on something can/will be different than the value someone else places on it. We all have our own inner idea of what value looks like. Is it that when I decide the value and believe it, then the other person will “hook” into and believe that value as well? In Divine Appreciation! Michele Worstell

    • Thanks for the comment Michele. You are responsible for setting your fees, and no one can tell you what those should be. My point here is that whatever those fees may be, the fulfillment of services should exceed that number. In short, over-deliver on what you promise and you will not only help someone take a large step forward in their life/business, but you will take a large step in fulfilling your own dreams. Set the number and begin to take those steps ahead.

  3. As an SEO Copywriter, I struggle with the same problem. A lot of people don’t value what I do, because they feel they can get a cheaper deal overseas. Which is certainly frustrating. However, this little tidbit from David was a true eye opener, and I have to realize I need to stop playing small and provide people with more value. If I didn’t, I would be doing them a disservice. In the beginning, I used to trade services a lot and work for free, then I realized that my clients just took advantage of me, when I started charging they respected me more. Now, I just have to charge more.

    • Exactly Nina! Raise your fees and you’ll see the difference almost immediately. You will begin to attract those who want your services and will pay nicely for them. I appreciate the post.

  4. David, I mostly agree with you. It was probably 8 years ago or so that I paid for my divorce. At that time my salary was great but I was also left with $65.00 in my bank accts and all the debt. I found a way! And to tell you the truth, once I became determined it was rather easy.

    However, it is really refreshing to see an attorney care so much. It would seem to me that another alternative would be to donate a small amount of time each month to organizations that offer free help. This would enable both sides of this person’s needs think!

    • Of course you found a way Donna because your sense of urgency was stronger than your fear of failure. You picked yourself up and moved forward in faith, all the while taking action to get back on track. As far as donating time to organizations, that is an option for sure. It all depends on where Eric’s goals are and if he is hitting his targets. It doesn’t make sense to give this away if ones needs are not being met.

  5. “…a service that people of all income levels need…”

    Can I (as someone who spent most of her childhood & some adult years with a VERY limiting view on money, income, and my own potentials with both) suggest that the people with huge incomes and assets in the balance don’t need you any less, aren’t hurting any less, than the poorer clients? And may even stand to lose proportionately more than the lower-income people?

    That’s one thing. A second thing – this might be something David advises against, and you’d do better to listen to him than me! – is, what about tithing a percentage (never more than 10%) of your time for pro-bono/donation only work? Then your conscience is clean to pick up the best fees available for the other 90%, which should leave you very comfortably off, while still making sure the hypothetically “starving” (financially) person out there gets a shot at high level representation.

    I do this with my clients, luckily I have an independent income but that 10% means I don’t even have to give poverty a second thought, I just set up a waiting list and don’t require people to lay their whole story on me, my consciousness…

    Two things – this is my understanding of “as above, so below” ie we all are entitled to ask largely for what we want, no matter what we hold in hand at that moment as financial assets, so we are all able to offer freely a tithe of our best time to those who merely ask: secondly @ Eric, don’t for goodness sake try and tithe that time until you have the 90% filled, well and truly filled and secure, because otherwise it’s putting the cart before the horse.

    These are just my ideas but I’m here to learn not teach, so just a comment.

    • Interesting take Miss C, and thanks for posting. I agree with the charitable piece, but not when a service like a lawyer provides is exchanged. That is something that must be paid, as the exchange of energy is crucial. That is when the situation becomes a win-win because both parties are connected. If you continue to give away services, it is enabling, and nothing good can come from that. Also, most people don’t take it serious enough when there is no financial involvement. No skin in the game.

      • I’m sorry and I hope my opinion doesn’t bother anyone, but I don’t quite agree here. I could NEVER have divorced my abusive husband (now ex husband) and gotten custody of the kids if I had had to pay for a lawyer, because I didn’t have a job then, my abusive ex wanted me at home all the time. Fortunately in my country we have a program of free lawyers for low-income people.

        Personally, I now never hire the services of someone if I can’t pay their fees, I don’t ask anyone to lower their fees, if I can’t pay someone’s fees I will look for someone else. I think you must charge the fees that you feel good charging. For example, starting out in a new career, I don’t plan to charge thousands of dollars. But after a few years, when I am much better than I am right now (in all aspects hehe, not only professionally but also much better in personal growth as well), I do certainly hope to charge more!

        However I also hope to never forget to be humble, to never forget these humble beginnings and how much people who were willing to do things for free for me have helped me (like the state-provided lawyer who, of course, still got paid, just not by me), and I plan to return all the good that I have received by also contributing work for free to people who need it the most.

        But I am glad that you pointed out, David, that I need to meet my own needs first (and those of my dependent kids) before I take care of other people’s wants or needs. Once I was sitting on a bench feeding my kids and a poor person came over and literally put his hand in my son’s mouth and snatched the food out of his mouth! At that time I was mad at him, but now I understand why I manifested that!

  6. I’d love to be a coach full time but I can’t find good medical and dental coverage for less than 600 .00 a month. This is the only thing holding me back! Any suggestions?

    • Why would this hold you back Rae? Are you unhealthy? If the only reason you are not pursuing your dreams is because of medical and dental coverage than you will stay exactly where you are. My one and only suggestion is to get really clear on what you want. If you want it bad enough and make the decision to pursuit your passion, the way will be shown.

  7. Hi David,

    I can’t tell you how much I like this response, because for me it is about abundance and not scarcity, about knowing what you’re worth and confidently asking the Universe to echo that back to you in the form of money and clients with money. Awhile ago I had to ask myself “What are my services worth?” and “What am I worth?”. Given that all we have here is time, it really comes down to the measure of what our time is worth to US first and then to others.

    Rather than look over there at colleagues, neighbours, associates to compare yourself with them, it’s far more valuable to know our own worth.

  8. Thank you for the reply, David. My practice coach is reviewing your message with me as well as I work through getting the right mindset in line with my values.

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