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What Do You Do When People Can’t Afford To Pay Your Fees?


By Victor Bassey

Sometime ago, an amazing and intelligent business lady booked a discovery session with me to learn more about positioning, packaging, promoting and profiting from her expertise. She’s a new comer in the business coaching world and was interested in enrolling in my Experts Business School Program.

So there we were in this really great restaurant talking about the best way to move to a six figure income when I started talking about the value of packaging and selling high priced high value programs. I noticed she had a weird expression on her face, so I asked what the problem was. Here’s what she said:

“How do I justify selling a service that people of all income levels need, but which most people truly cannot afford because you are asking me to charge prices that I don’t think are within the average Nigerian’s ability to pay? Will you charge a thirsty man N1000 for water or a hungry dying man N2000 for a plate of food if you have more than enough?”

I know a lot of budding coaches and business consultants that struggle with this same concept. So her’s what I told her:

First of all, I don’t quite think your comparison makes a whole lot of sense. Charging a dying man N2000.00 for a plate of food of water doesn’t really compare with charging fees business consulting services. Here’s what I’ve come to learn; it’s not your responsibility to save the world. If it were, you’d be the only coach or consultant in the world. The truth is that you’re looking at this all wrong. The fact is that if someone has a strong enough desire for something, the money will be found one way or the other. What you’re talking about is no different and your responsibility is to yourself only (and any dependent children of course) where you business is concerned. If you had a shop selling food stuff would you give out your entire stock anytime and every time a person walked in and claimed they didn’t have enough money to pay for 7 cups of garri? Selling your expertise is no different.

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.  Like Wallace Wattle in the book “The Science of getting rich” said: The use value of what you offer must be more than the fees you are charging.

In other words, aim to offer at least 10 times in value for what ever you are charging for your services.The people who have the ability or willingness to pay you WILL DO SO,  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, It’s as simple as that.

Don’t try to be a solution for every body. You will waste a lot of resources and probably end up frustrated. Think about it.

Let me know your thoughts.


Victor Bassey helps entrepreneurial experts, coaches, consultants, trainers, small/medium scale business owners and corporate executives become commercially smart with the positioning, packaging, promotion and distribution of their knowledge expertise and life experience. Follow him on Twitter @mrvictorbassey 

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