Attracting crappy clients

Last week there was a thread in a Facebook group about automation. People were discussing which tools they use and why.

One comment stuck out like a sore thumb.

It was a guy I respect. He helps a lot of people and is becoming pretty well known. He seems to be pretty successful and switched on.

The comment said that he preferred Tool A to Tool B for one reason: Tool B had some limitations on the free plan.

Read that again. Because a tool had limitations. On the free plan.

This tool starts at $20 a month. I’ve been paying for years (on a $50 plan), and it saves me an insane amount of time. As a VERY conservative guess, I’d say 6 hours a week.

That’s 24 hours a month.

For $50.

If you’re running a business, I can’t think of any circumstances where getting 24 hours of your life back for $50 isn’t a very fucking obvious decision.

This comment shying away from $20 for a tool that saves so much time surely couldn’t be legit.

But yep.

For a long time, I was also a seeker of free shit. I’m no stranger to it. But this comment really hit me.

For a moment let’s ignore the obvious argument of this being an absurd undervaluing of one’s own time.

It got me thinking about the places I see comments like this, and the other issues that come up a lot in those places. In many groups, I see the same people that don’t want to pay for things complain about clients that have a tiny budget.

This could be a ridiculous idea but hear me out: The attitude of wanting free or cheap stuff attracts the same kind of clients.

I don’t mean it “attracts” bad clients in a law-of-attraction “the universe will deliver” kind of way.

But maybe that attitude influences where you hang out and who you hang out with. If so, it’s likely going to attract other people that don’t like paying for stuff. And those are probably all you’re going to get as clients.

An example

Conferences seem to show this idea in action. Over the years I’ve been to events that range from $0 to $6000.

The more expensive conferences always attract businesses that turn over real money. Those conferences are where I’ve met the best clients, friends and connections.

It’s why people pay for VIP tickets – to be around other people who are willing to pay for VIP tickets. (And if you’re me, to get extra drinks)

It’s not a perfect correlation though. If you blew 10k on a Tony Robbins conference I’m sure you’d meet a few people just “living their truth” on Instagram.

And you can still meet good people at a free conference, there are just more people who you don’t want to meet. More noise than signal, if you will.

In my experience and many of my friends’ experience, it’s worth paying the premium to be around the right people.

Wrapping up

You still have to be smart with your money.

If you’re in business so that you can have some kind of time freedom, do things that get you closer to that.

Saving a few bucks by choosing a tool that means you have to do more work is NOT one of those things.

You won’t get your spending right every time. Sometimes you’ll screw up and buy something you really don’t need.

In the case of software, you can just cancel. At worst you’re only out a couple of months. That’s $40 in the above example. The same amount you’ll blow on 3 drinks at the bar. Or 8 coffees. Or one good meal out.

In perspective… it’s sweet FA.

James Rose

James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare and Aktura Technology. Once a web designer, his new priority is to help web designers and developers regain their lives, work less and get better clients.

He does this by writing helpful posts, building software and working with web designers to deliver the complex web development that they don't normally handle.

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