You’ll often hear people talk about “scarcity mentality” and “abundance mentality.” I know you’ve read and internalized all the usual signs of “scarcity mentality,” so I won’t repeat what you already know.
But there’s one sneaky way scarcity mentality comes up, even in the person most convinced they’re “abundantly minded.” When I’ve pointed it out to clients, they’re floored because of how true it rings (after they get over being triggered by it.)
Want to know what it is? Read on.
“Daniella” was one of my premium-level clients. In my most high-end coaching package and with a business pulling in almost seven figures a year, she’d be the LAST person you’d suspect of having a scarcity mentality. We think just because people are financially successful, they must not have any scarcity issues.
I LOVED working with Daniella. We got along marvelously, and we still keep in touch years later. She’d signed up to work with me because she kept noticing her company was always in a feast or famine cycle, OR she’d attract customers who would only pay up to a certain amount for her support, but nothing beyond that.
In one of our first sessions, I noticed something interesting. I helped her solve the problem she brought to the session within 35 minutes. Yet she’d booked me for an hour. Instead of saying, “awesome, I got what I needed, thanks for saving me 25 minutes!” she spent the last 25 minutes of the session trying to find “problems” for me to fix, just to fill up the time.
I decided to observe if this happened in a few more sessions before I said anything.
It kept happening. Sometimes we’d genuinely need the whole hour. But sometimes we’d only need 20 minutes. And every time, she’d hem and haw and try to “fill up the space” to “get her money’s worth,” even though I could tell there really wasn’t anything else she needed that week.
It’s important to note: in my highest-support coaching package, there’s a lot more flexibility on time because you essentially have me “on retainer.” So our contract specifically states she gets up to x amount of hours every month with me, but it’s very flexible. Meaning she can use all that time or use less. Often, clients at this level are very busy individuals, so they value their time immensely. More than money.
In truly abundance-minded clients, they’re ECSTATIC when we solve their problem in 15 minutes because I’ve just saved them 45 minutes! When you consider what they get paid “per hour” to do what they do, being able to use 45 minutes of their time to put towards other items on their to-do list or even just take a much needed self-care break is HUGE value. It’s worth more to them than what they would have paid me for the whole hour.
Daniella, on the other hand, kept trying to squeeze every last drop out of our sessions, not because she needed them, but because she had a Money Capacity™ issue. No wonder she was having the feast or famine cash flow issues and attracting clients who didn’t want to pay more than a certain amount for her services.
I gently pointed out this behavior in our next session, where she was complaining about her cash flow issues. At first, she was a bit defensive, but I never take on clients who aren’t there to trust in what they hired me to point out, so she DID take it in and listen, regardless. After a few seconds. her eyes went wide as she realized what she was doing.
“Wow, Lisa, you’re right. I’m still thinking in that old “time for money and money for time” model when it comes to our sessions, and that’s exactly why I’m attracting clients like that into my own business. Mind blown!”
Ever found yourself doing this or something similar? Or have clients who do this to you?
I have a dear friend who only did in-person “VIP Days” not because she preferred in person, but because one client told her it “wasn’t worth as much money if it wasn’t in person.” (I’d argue it’s worth more because you didn’t have to pay for a plane ticket, travel, and all the time spent traveling.)
Another colleague told me one of her clients got upset when she got up to take a five minute bathroom break because that was five minutes she wasn’t receiving her help (!!)
These are often the same clients who are shocked when people don’t want to pay their rates or constantly cross their boundaries. Being a CONSUMER with capacity is just as important as being a business owner with capacity. How you treat others is a reflection of how you will be treated in these situations.
Do you criticize people who charge high prices and gossip to others that you’d “never pay that”…but then experience money plateaus because you can’t seem to raise your own prices?
Do you try to “squeeze every last drop” out of your sessions with someone because you can’t trust you got what you needed in less time and don’t realize the gifts you’ve been given by getting some of your time back?”
Do you opt for someone’s cheapest coaching package even when you can afford the one with more support they’re recommending to you based on how much support you need? Yet you keep trying to squeeze more out of it than you paid in sneaky ways? Do you avoid paying them for that extra support and instead try to source it on the side from colleagues who will “barter” with you?
I had a non-ideal client do that a few years ago. She was launching and creating her first mastermind group and wanted to make sure she got her ideal number of signups.
Yet, she refused to book an extra intensive day with me where we could have gotten her branding done right, with the kind of aligned money and visibility capacity this new project needed, in less time.
Even though I’d told her this was not the kind of work included in her lower tier plan and she’d have to book an additional intensive day to do it. (This kind of “branding with capacity” work needs a focused three hours to get it done well, and she was signed up for a coaching package that didn’t include that because she was being cheap.)
Instead, she kept trying to “sneak it in” to our sessions and trick me into doing it for free. And when I set a boundary and called her out on it, she pretended like she wasn’t doing that and bartered with a branding colleague instead.
The result? Bad branding and less signups than she wanted. I later randomly found out she’d done this “trying to get it for cheap” thing with several other colleagues I knew. Her Money Capacity deficit was not only impacting how many clients she was getting, but she was also building a reputation for herself among mentors and burning bridges of support along the way.
If you’re experiencing money plateaus, ask yourself if perhaps you’re enforcing them with your own actions? It’s a confrontational question, I know, but these are the questions you need to ask yourself if nothing else seems to be working.
It may be the last rock you haven’t looked under as you’re trying to figure out why you keep having these money plateaus.