Why your customers can’t afford you

Do you charge as much as you should? As much as you could?

Black chess pieces on a chess board, next to a pile of coins

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The answer to that question is almost certainly no.

None of us charges as much as we could or should.

Without wandering into the realm of deluxe goods and services and premium pricing here, I do want to say something about price.

And what I want to say is: you should increase your prices.

Sounds scary?


But you should do it anyway.

A dude in a mentoring group I’m part of — another copywriter, in fact — emailed the group the other day to say he was fed up of not earning enough money. He’s good, he gets results, he knows he could charge more…

But he doesn’t.

He’s scared of frightening off his existing “great” clients. These are people he enjoys working with and gets on well with, and they like his work and are very happy with him. But… he somehow “knows” that they won’t accept a price in crease and will ditch him.

Firstly: I don’t know how he “knows” (he doesn’t).

Second: I understand — it’s scary increasing your prices. I don’t blame him for that.

Thirdly: if they really are great clients who love him, they will swallow a reasonable price increase because it far outweighs the pain of finding another copywriter — and if he’s shown them the value they get from working with him, they won’t sweat it.

Fourthly: he won’t know until he asks.

Thing is, a lot of copywriters, freelancers, and other business owners have this same problem (me included).

We believe that clients can’t pay higher fees, so we give good deals and discounts. (Well, I don’t anymore, but I used to.)

If you think your clients can’t pay anymore, you’re right.

I remember a few years ago, one of my clients asked if I could sort out her husband’s LinkedIn profile and work with him to write a great cover letter to apply for this amazing job. A job, by the way, that would have brought him home six figures a year.

This particular couple live in an amazing house they’re renovating in the centre of Warwick. They’re spending a fortune on it. They have nice cars, holidays, a great lifestyle.

But he couldn’t afford to drop £1,500 on work that could have brought him a new six-figure job.

Go figure. (This was my fault, by the way: I didn’t know then what I know now.)

I’ve done it as well: declined an opportunity to do a great training course because I couldn’t afford it… a few days before I was off on a climbing holiday for two weeks.

What’s my point?

People can afford what they want to afford.

And you can believe the voices in your head that tell you that you can’t raise your prices…

Or you can ignore them, put your prices up, and work on changing your message so it makes your offer irresistible to your clients.

Got a pitch coming up? Want to win some new business? Been asked for a proposal or a quote?

Get your message right, frame it properly — and you’ve a much better chance of winning the business at a much higher fee than you might think.


I talk you through Premium Pricing in chapter 4 of my book, Business For Superheroes. You can – and should – grab yourself a copy here.

Read it and then take action…



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

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