An Unconventional Path to Better Business: Raise Your Rates & Turn Clients Away

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / June 18, 2013

unconventional path“We waste time looking for the perfect business, instead of creating the perfect business.” – Tom Robbins

When I started out my own business, I made so many mistakes. Terrible mistakes. The type you wish you could sweep under the rug and hide forever.

A year and a half later, the company’s revenue has increased by over 300% and my personal profit has increased by more than that.

Want to know the reason? I did two things: I raised my rates and got pickier about the clients I work with. 

The Breakdown

Back when I started out, I took on every project that came my way. I was so surprised that the business was working that I took every potential client that came my way. In the long run, though, I ended up with clients who didn’t respect my ideas, constantly changed the scope of work, and failed to deliver the information I needed to execute their projects. When it came time to point fingers, I always found myself up against the wall.

Frustration levels for both myself and the client were hitting the roof! 

Until it hit me — I was going about it all wrong.

First of all, the clients were choosing me for the services they needed, not for the value that I offered. The project was about what they wanted, not what they needed. Even if I knew the difference between those two concepts, they didn’t want to hear it. I was working with clients who wanted someone to execute, not help.

I, my friends, am a helper. I have ideas. Sometimes, they’re not bad!

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Secondly, I was charging them so little that my clients perceived my services an expense, not an investment. The perceived value of my service was shot to hell. It’s difficult to prove you can provide value if you’re doing it for a lower price than everyone else.

I had to flip this situation around, or I would end up closing up shop, which would mean losing months of hard work and money, more out of frustration than lack of cash.

Why You Need To Be Unconventional

None of this has to do with wanting to make money. That was never my intention — but it’s a wonderful byproduct.

My intention was always to achieve smoothness in each project.

My clients walked all over me. Some of them made my life miserable. I had various nightmares including logos and email wars.

Now, clients enjoy our projects because there’s mutual respect — for everyone’s ideas, for the work to be done, for our communications.

When you pick the right clients and charge them enough, they will make sure the project is cared for, increasing the chances they will:

  • Send you all the information they promised you

  • Make every meeting and interaction efficient

  • Be at your beck and call for any questions you may have

  • Put their best foot (and email) forward

  • Consider ideas and suggestions based on what’s best for the project, not who proposed them.

Every investor wants to make sure money is well-spent and cared for. You, my friend, will sleep a lot better for it.

Getting It Done

What I’m proposing takes guts. Turning a client away and charging more money than ever before is risky. Getting it done is scary.

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Have you ever written a sky-high proposal? Hitting the “Send” button will make your stomach weak. Have you ever told a client they’re not a good fit for your business? The look on their face will make you question your decision.

This stuff still makes me nervous. I’m days away from telling a client that I no longer offer the services they need. Sure, I could turn a profit, but at the expense of what? I’m guessing many headaches, utter boredom, and lots of frustration.

Standing my ground has paid off every single time.

A friend once asked me, “What is your greatest fear?” I answered “Being buried alive.” He asked me second question: “Has it ever come true?” Obviously not.

If you want to build an unconventional business, what are you afraid of? Has your fear ever come true?

When Marcella Chamorro decided to quit her job to live everyday as if it’s a vacation, she turned her attention to creating a lifestyle that is both meaningful and exciting. Based in Nicaragua, Marcella runs a design company and guides those who want to break free and live their dreams through her writing.

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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