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  • Writer's pictureJames Lush

Are you expensive, free or cheap?



As you can imagine I’m a big consumer of podcasts and recently came across this beauty “A bit of optimism” with Simon Sinek. On last week’s episode he talked with hairstylist turned humanitarian Mark Bustos. It is an amazing story – I don’t want to spoil it for you, but urge you to go and take a listen because it talks about how to do good, all we need to do is what we are already good at, but to do it for someone else. Simple, but so effective.


But anyway, in the podcast he shared the line “I’m either expensive or free, I’m never cheap” and boy did that hit home! For the past 25 years I’ve effectively been in charge of my own destiny. I get the clients, I do the work and hopefully set that on repeat! Money can be a difficult subject, but this quote resonated because I think I’ve always applied and lived by the same ethos, but never articulated it so elegantly!

So, how do we talk about money? I think the secret is to talk value, not cost!

Anyone who works for themselves puts themselves out there daily. As Seth Godin says, you’re putting your art out on display every day! I know the work I will do with a leader or an organisation will transform them or their business, but they don’t know that for sure. The value of that can obviously be huge. I’m lucky in that most referrals come from trusted sources and therefore when we talk money, it’s not usually an issue. However, with colder leads that is often a more difficult conversation. To them, they are often comparing dollars. You’re one of three quotes after all! But when offering a service, it’s not like you’re offering the same kilo of apples as another provider! This is where I must apply my psychology background – “if it’s all about cost, I’m not sure I’m the right person to work with you” I might say. The idea is to then talk about the desired destination that we’re aiming for together. Hopefully I can assure you that is where we will end up. The conversation is then about trust and not cost. But it must be delivered with conviction! This is when the elegant line that Mark shared might be so valuable.

So, let’s test the elegance! My offer today is the same as that in the podcast – I may be expensive, or free but never cheap. I only want to work with amazing individuals or organisations, doing work that makes a huge difference, helping create a better society/liveable planet for us all. So, following on from the inspiration in the podcast I’ll offer my services to any organisation in the environmental or social sector that needs help with communications, messages, narrative, media, presentations, and strategy. Over to you as to whether that service is provided for free or is paid for.

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