The thing about peanuts is we all take them!
I’ve worked for peanuts. In fact, I’ve worked for less than peanuts- I’ve worked for nothing just paid in full with big, mushy, exaggerated, tears-in- my-eyes “Thank Yous”.
One time I was paid with just the credit to my name for hours of writing epic content for a column. Now someone could erroneously assume “this girl don hammer” to have been featured on so and so, but I did it for nothing. Months down the line it paid me big time when an international organization asked me to write more epic content, because they had seen what I’d written for those guys.
I’ve sat listening to a reputable magazine publisher who carried the full page advert of a multi-million dollar company for nothing, because he knew their competitor would see it and advertise. In the alternative, another company could see it and think if so and so is advertising with you then you are big.
I’ve also sat in the office of a television content producer worth his salt in the industry, who showed me the total contract sum from a big television network for cast, set, wardrobe, guests, staff, welfare, equipment, studio time, montage, production, and post production for 12 episodes of programming. The entire thing came down to what the producer would pay a presenter for one episode.
This guy was eating peanuts or “rip-off nuts” clear eyed for a reason. He knew the effect to his business in the long term. He knew he needed more credibility to get him from local to global.
So when I meet some young start-outers who demand to be paid what their “contemporaries” are being paid, I wonder how much less demanding these young folks will be, if they knew their more established contemporaries were sometimes paid nothing or less than the true value of their work.
There is nothing wrong with making demands, as long as you understand how making demands works. You use it only for effect. Then you turn around and take the peanuts. You state your demand to establish your market value. You let the person know this is what so and so has paid you before.
You state your demand to gain goodwill- that thing that makes them call you one year or ten years later to give you big deals or connect you with someone who can.
You let the person feel they can’t afford you but you will work with them because you are “humble”, “good”, “reasonable” and all of those things that add up to the goodwill they should feel for you – as a result of this “huge discount” you are giving them.
The other thing about peanuts is you can take peanuts or you can refuse to take peanuts.
So you don’t take the peanuts. But your competitor down the street does.
I sat in the office of a person who narrated with growing dislike the story of this young contractor who was bidding for a contract in his office. When he was told what the organization would pay he said in no uncertain terms, complete with a foreign accent that the N2,000,000 being offered was an insult. The person called in a second contractor who agreed to the price and after the deal was closed, the first contractor came back to renegotiate saying his wife was about to have a baby and they needed the money.
It takes the wisdom of hindsight to acquire a taste for peanuts. The unwritten rule of peanut taking is: take the peanuts if you need the money!
When I meet start-outers across the ladder – from professionals to the vocationally skilled – with the attitude of demanding as much as possible from every sale, I wonder how less demanding these people would be if they knew their competitors sometimes sell at minimum prices, making up the difference by robbing Peter to pay Paul.
I’ve often jokingly asked hairdressers, dress makers, cobblers, cab drivers as well as web masters, production companies and business consultants if they intend to buy a house from the cut throat prices they have quoted for one service that their competitor down the street is willing to take much less for.
Now there’s nothing wrong with quoting prices, as long as you understand how quoting prices works. You use it only for effect. Then you turn around and take the peanuts! You use it to profile the customer to see how much they have and how much they are willing to pay not how much you think they can afford. For instance, you may bill a corporate client the full value of your services to make up the minimum billing you’ve charged a one man business who has less to pay.
The thing about peanuts is that it’s not about taking them or refusing to take them, it’s about knowing when to turn them down and never look back and when to take them and act like you’re being paid a million bucks!
That’s the thing!
Photo Credit: beyondblackwhite.com
Omonike Odi is a freelance writer and a media content provider on all media platforms. Read more from her on her blog at http://omonaikee.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter for daily inspirational quotes at https://twitter.com/omonaikee or contact her –firstname.lastname@example.org.