March 04, 2014

The thing about peanuts!

Note: You can win a prize just by leaving your comments on this article, see details at the end!

The thing about peanuts is we all take them!

I've worked for peanuts.

In fact, I've worked for less than peanuts- I've worked for nothing, just paid in full with big, mushy, exaggerated, tears-in- my-eyes "Thank Yous".

One time I was paid with the credit to my name for hours of writing epic content for a column. Now someone could erroneously assume "this girl don hammer" to have been featured on so and so but I did it for nothing. Months down the line it paid me big time when an international organization asked me to write more epic content because they had seen what I’d written for those guys.

 I've sat listening to a reputable magazine publisher who carried the full page advert of a multimillion dollar company for nothing because he knew their competitor would see it and advertise or  some other company would see it and think if so and so is advertising with you then you are big.

I've also sat in the office of a television content producer worth his salt in the industry, who showed me the total contract sum from a big television network for cast, set, wardrobe, guests, staff, welfare, equipment, studio time, montage, production, and post production for 12 episodes of programming, and the entire thing came down to what the producer would pay a presenter for one episode!

This guy was eating peanuts or “rip-off nuts” cleared eyed for a reason! He knew the effect to his business in the long term! He knew he needed more credibility to get him from local to global.

So when I meet many young starter outers who demand to be paid what their "contemporaries" are being paid, I wonder how much less demanding these  young folks will be, if they knew their more established contemporaries were sometimes paid nothing or less than the true value of their work!

Now there is nothing wrong with making demands, as long as you understand how making demands works.

You use it only for effect. Then you turn around and take the peanuts!

You state your demand to establish your market value. You let the person know this is what so and so has paid you before.

You state your demand to gain goodwill- that thing that makes them call you one year or ten years later to give you big deals or connect you with someone who can.

You let the person feel they can't afford you but you will work with them because you are "humble", "good", "reasonable" and all of those things that add up to the goodwill they should feel for you as a result of this "huge discount" you are giving them.

The other thing about peanuts is you can take peanuts or you can refuse to take peanuts.

So you don’t take the peanuts.

But your competitor down the street does.

I sat in the office of a person who narrated with growing dislike the story of  this young contractor who was bidding for a contract in his office and when he was told what the organization would pay he said in no uncertain terms, complete with a foreign accent that the N2,000,000 being offered was an insult. The person called in a second contractor who agreed to the price and after the deal was closed, the first contractor came back to renegotiate saying his wife was about to have a baby and they needed the money. 

It takes the wisdom of hindsight to acquire a taste for peanuts.

The unwritten rule of peanut taking is: Take the peanuts if you need the money!

When I meet starter outers across the ladder from professionals to the vocationally skilled, who have the attitude of demanding as much as possible from every sale, I wonder how less demanding these people would be if they knew their competitors sometimes sell at minimum prices, making up the difference by robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I’ve often jokingly asked hairdressers, dress makers, cobblers, cab drivers  as well as web masters, production companies and business consultants if they intend to buy a house from the cut throat prices they have quoted for one service that their competitor down the street is willing to take much less for. 

Now there’s nothing wrong with quoting prices, as long as you understand how quoting prices works.

You use it only for effect. Then you turn around and take the peanuts!

You use it to profile the customer to see how much they have and how much they are willing to pay not how much you think they can afford. For instance, you may bill a corporate client the full value of your services to make up the minimum billing you've charged a one man business who has less to pay.

 The thing about peanuts is that it’s not about taking them or refusing to take them, it’s about knowing when to turn them down and never look back and when to take them and act like you're being paid a million bucks!

That’s the thing!

Read,Comment and Win!
The best comment wins a copy of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, a really great book(Abuja only), offer valid till 31st of March, 2014! If you don't want to enter for the prize, no problemo, I'll still love to hear your thoughts on peanuts, have you taken ém or paid ém? Pls share! 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you but what did you really think? I care to know what your real thoughts were... wish you'd shared that too! but hey, thanks for the compliment!

  2. Peanuts, that was a tickler

    A blogger saw my new online retail website (, by the way) and contacted me to consider making an advert blog on his platform. I asked him questions about his blog including what I would pay. I almost screamed when I heard his price.

    Over the months, I worked as a marketing consultant for some firms and it was quiet successful. They recommended me to other places because I was paid peanuts on great work. So I know the long term benefits of doing much for little.

    Once again, you nailed this one. Good work.

    1. Thanks for your input Atabo! The wheels of many industries are oiled and run by peanut takers, the stories of big deals and commensurate wages are sometimes the exception- after credibility building years of hardwork for little- people who are starting out these days tend to aim too high on the pay and too low on the value they are bringing. The reality is, it doesn't work like that.

    2. No it doesn't. As a salesman, I understand people psychology when it comes to acceptance. Before accepting you, they need to know the 'value' of what you are offering them. They need to first of all understand the fact that there's more for them than you. And one of the greatest motivators is an affordable price, AKA Peanut

    3. You hit the nail on the head there, affordability is a key decision maker or breaker. People should profile the type of clients they attract and how much these group can afford before billing. And if their prices are expensive, they can present options like instalmental payments or 30 day trial options with money back guarantees! Or change their target market to people who can afford their high prices and turn down those who cant.

    4. As you rightly said it's not about taking them or refusing to take them, it all balls down on knowing when to turn them down and never look back and when to take them. From my own view some peanuts pays while some brings down your reputation, as an individual you need wisdom when it comes to making such decisions. I know of a person who choose a peanut instead of a juicy packaged job offer and the so called peanut paid off for him, although at first it was rough and tough for him but the end result was success. I believe peanut can turn around to be your golden-nut if you are focused, hard-working, loyal, diligent and above all prayerful/God fearing. My little advice is if u have other alternative you may chose to ignore the peanuts, but if the peanut is the only choice you have my friend please hold tight to it and also never you despise the days of your little beginning because Rome wasn't built in a day.

  3. As you rightly said it's not about taking them or refusing to take them, it all balls down on knowing when to turn them down and never look back and when to take them. Some peanuts pays while some brings down your reputation, as an individual you need wisdom when making such decisions. I know of a person who choose peanuts instead of a juicy packaged job offer and he never regretted his action. Although it was rough and tough at the beginning but now he is a living testimony of peanuts. I believe peanuts can turn around to be come a gold-nut if you are focused, hard working, loyal,diligent and above all prayerful/God fearing. My little advice is if you have other alternatives you may choose to ignore the peanuts but if the peanuts is all you have please hold it tight and also remember never you despise the days of your little beginning because Rome wasn't built in a day.

    1. "Some peanuts pays while some brings down your reputation". I agree. Its not always worth it. Especially when the client is over demanding, over bearing and exerting wanting too much for too little.

  4. No one has ever elucidated on this point the way you have. The selfish ambitions and unrealistic expectations of getting paid more than the worl we put in, is what's killing the momemtum of many. They fail to realize that their zeal and fulfillment is actually trapped in humility and process-but they by-pass that and demand, "Give Me". Omonaikee, I will take the Peanuts anyday, especially when I know it will enhance my future. However, there are some Bosses who have no foresight, no vision, and no dream, just peanuts, and that's when I say, "No Thank You"

    1. " I will take the Peanuts anyday, especially when I know it will enhance my future", that's the best part of your comment! Its about the long term view and having the wisdom to know when to accept or walk away! It's also about fair pricing and wanting to give the customer your service in order to add value to them not just because of what you can make from them! Thanks for your comment Omenesa!

  5. Peanuts aren't decisions that you just say you can't. I see peanuts as an oil to the wheels of any successful brand. If you haven't taken peanuts, then you can't be called successful. Only a confident person with a brand knows thier worth, thereby knowing when he or she is receiving peanuts.

    1. Its good to think about it before hand and decide how you would handle peanuts before they come. Like you said you cant just turn them all down. You can consider what payoffs other than money could motivate you to take small business and open your mind to the realities that your clients have limited resources too!

  6. As a business advisor, I've worked with both small and big businesses. I know what value my knowledge is worth and what experience I bring to the table. However I also know not everyone can afford my services- however it boils down to the question- are you working for money or passion?

    You see, here's the truth, unless you really enjoy what it is you do, you would keep putting the cart before the horse. You would keep looking at the "what's in it for me" instead of thinking of "what can I do best for them".

    For me every business owner, must look at his/her business as a farmer not a hunter. A farmer understands that you grow a farm by sowing small seeds (peanuts) scattered around a bare field. Here's the thing about peanuts or seeds- eventually they grow!

    However if you come to the table with a WIFM mentality and you're only hoping to grab as much meat as you can (hunter mentality), you may at first succeed but you'll get no extra points, no referrals, no repeat business.

    A farmer's business is regenerative. A hunter's business is depletive by nature. So understand that peanuts are seeds and seeds grow!

    Sometimes when I speak at events for a princely fee when speaking to Chief Executives, oil magnates, property tycoons, or chief officers- I get paid huge sums for a 1 hour gig. However the following day I can be speaking to students at a public school for free! Infact sometimes it even costs me money to speak- as I would have to bring my own projector, give out books for free, give out free advisory services. But if we truly believe that children are the leaders of tomorrow- then I'm making an early investment in that "tomorrow" by taking peanuts now and knowing that it would eventually grow and multiply into a groundnut pyramid- the type that Alh. Dantata used to build his family dynasty.

    1. I agree with you on "you may at first succeed but you'll get no extra points, no referrals, no repeat business" for over priced goods or services. No matter how good something is, its only as good as what the customer can pay for it.

  7. I have come to realize that the grass isn’t greener on either side; it all boils down to illusions. People have perfected the act of painting seamless pictures - ‘fake it till you make it’ and more times than not, it boils down to settling for less while setting yourself up gradually for more.

    Come to think of it

    If you make money your driving force, you are bound to lose your way; gaining the experience is worth more, after all every big thing started out small.
    There is a tactic however to collecting peanuts just like you pointed out - Ripple effects. The sacrifice of one compromise could payoff years down the line. The job I currently have was a direct result of a referral by someone I had helped with some literary works in the past… for free.

    Meanwhile, wisdom is profitable to direct. You need to have an exceptional foresight to discern correctly which peanuts bring down or add value to your person in the long run. I remember the brandings I used to do then for people way back; some people appreciated the quality osho-free work and most times referred me to clients who could pay generously while others just took my work for granted and always returned for more freebies.

    1. I like the phrase "settling for less while setting yourself up gradually for more". So true. Beginners, starter outers and professionals climbing up the ladder need to access themselves more honestly and approach the market more humbly. Business isn't all business, all the niceties of character and heart have a role to play. There definitely is a place where the line is drawn but people need to be a little bit more open minded and realistic about pricing their services.

  8. www.graciemama.comMarch 12, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Omonaikee, Thank you so much for this article. I just came across it on I just upgraded my blog to a self hosted site at and I have been asking fro peanuts or even nothing for adverts. I am just a starter and I aim to be bigger. I am even aiming for telecom and bank ads on my blog for a!. This piece blessed my heart. Please do visit my blog,

    1. I'm glad it did! Congratulations on your upgrade to a dotcom! Give people free adverts on your page just to jump start interest in advertising on your website, then get them to refer you to other people! Best of luck!


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