Pay What It’s Worth

Pay What It’s Worth

In a balanced exchange, BOTH participants are being responsible to fairly valuing and feeling the worth of the other’s contributions.


You, the customer, get to determine a fair value for the product or service you’re receiving, and you get to communicate that worth through the price you pay.

As you think about what to pay, you might consider how you value your own time and energy. You might consider market value for similar education. You might consider your satisfaction with what you receive and the fairness of the exchange.

Communications and/or intentions like ‘pay what you can’ and ‘pay what you want’ are mutually disempowering and support a language and logic (or communication) of scarcity, either directed at the customer or at the creator.

‘Pay what you can’ is a power-over statement, communicating the intentions for the exchange are about the customer and their lack (and the seller’s agreement to receiving less).

‘Pay what you want’ is a power-under statement, communicating the intentions for the exchange are about the seller and their lack (and make the exchange about the wants of the customer alone). Additionally, neither of these intentions infer the need for a fair exchange of value.

Neither of these approaches allow buyer AND seller to be empowered to enter the exchange as equals, responsible to the relationship of giving and receiving AND exchanging value fairly.

Adapted from Tara Joyce’s “Pay What It’s Worth” e-book.