Air used to be free. You could enjoy it, or pollute it, without paying for it.

Then the previous Australian government put a price on it (technically the Carbon Tax was only for the “Big Polluters”). Today, the current Australian government took the price off it.

So air is free again (well, it will be once the Senate passes it). Hopefully, this won’t encourage polluters to destroy it, again.

But it certainly has attracted a lot of criticism. Sometimes that happens when things are free. People feel free to criticise.

When I was younger, I used to think that there was such a thing as “The Ideal”. And everyone, EVERYONE, would want to have The Ideal if it was free. Back then it was mainly about The Ideal lollies, or icecream or chocolate (of course).

To be fair, it still is a lot about the chocolate 🙂 And, let’s not kid ourselves; pure, addictive, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is The Ideal.

But I’ve now realised that people are different. Just because I want to drive a white BMW doesn’t mean everyone wants to. Some people think The Ideal car is a red Ferrari or a gold Mercedes.

Just because I want to work from home doesn’t mean everyone wants to. Some people think a corporate job in the city is The Ideal. Some people want a local part-time job and others don’t want to work at all.

One of the things that makes us make these different choices is the value we place on something. Some people value price more highly than quality. To those people “a bargain” is the best compliment they can give a product. Others don’t care how much it costs as long as it is “the best”.

But even when things are the same value and quality – if I told you you could choose between 3 of the highest quality products for free. e.g. a red Ferrari, a gold Mercedes and a white BMW, you would make your choice purely on personal preference. And that’s a bit of a mystery.

PigPigs are also a bit of a mystery. Funny things. They are literally “at home” in the mud and mess of a pig sty. 

They get everything for free, so they can’t make any choices based on price. They don’t seem to make any choices based on The Ideal either. But they still make choices.

The bible warns us not to cast our pearls before pigs – for 2 main reasons:

  1. They will trample them under their feet
  2. They will turn and tear you in pieces

A pearl necklace will be truly appreciated when it is adorning a neck, not trampled under foot. In other words, not only will the value in the pearls be unappreciated – they will be crushed and destroyed by the clumsy hooves of the hogs.

But it won’t just be the pearls that are destroyed. Instead of being thanked, you will also  be attacked personally. It is a double whammy of destruction.

It’s like giving your Cadbury’s to an idiot only to hear them say “Geez you must have dead tastebuds – Lindt is so much better!” It’s completely wasted on their prodigal palate. You sacrificed your enjoyment of it, they didn’t enjoy it, and now they’re criticising you for giving them the most divine of gifts!

And that’s not The Ideal for anyone.

One area where I see a lot of business people making mistakes is in pricing. They price their most precious treasures too cheaply – especially their time and expertise – and then wonder why no-one can see the value in them.

Don’t give your time and wisdom to swine for free. When you charge it out profitably, you attract people who will let it adorn their neck gracefully. You help them value both it and you.

The book of wisdom, Proverbs, teaches us:

“So, my son, pay attention to your father’s guidance,
and do not ignore what your mother taught you—

Wear their wisdom as a badge of honor and maturity,
as fine jewelry around your neck”

Don’t let your pearls be trampled and open yourself up to attack. Be someone who protects their pearls of great price, by using them only for the purpose they were designed for.

Then others will value both the pearl necklace, and you. Of course, like even the best products, some clients will have a personal preference for someone else (there’s no accounting for taste), or go searching for a bargain. But the ones who truly value you will be prepared to pay the price.

Value you, and others will too.

And that, like clean air and Cadbury’s, is The Ideal.

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2 thoughts on “Putting A Price On It

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