Don’t we all value what costs us most dear?
Take the time (Malcolm Gladwell would say it’s a minimum of 10,000 hours) you’ve invested in becoming an expert. Some of it—if you’re exceptionally lucky—passed in a nanosecond because you were deeply in the flow. Other parts of your learning were hard-won and remain emblazoned on your psyche forever.
And there’s your monetary commitment. School loans, internships, apprentice time.
You have paid your dues. You have made significant investments. You have built value. Shouldn’t you be charging for it?
Clients—like people everywhere—don’t value what they don’t pay for.
I used to do pro bono work for non-profits and was continually frustrated. Clients would cancel meetings without notice or an entire Board would show up for a retreat, not having done their prep work. I figured it must be that I was just not cut out for that work—since it didn’t happen with my other clients.
And then I tried a last-ditch experiment—a “social good” rate. It was steeply discounted, but the client had to pay something. I shared the undiscounted amount so they could see the value of the discount. My results changed overnight. The clients made swifter progress and we BOTH felt good about the work.
Of course, worth is subjective.
So you’ll have the best relationships if you link your rates to what the client values most—saying yes is easier when clients feel you have some skin in their game.
You’ve heard of value billing? This is the territory of those who have carved out a rarified niche AND are not delusional about their worth. It’s the consulting equivalent of the pediatric neurosurgeon. You are able—through your wealth of experience—to diagnose and/or fix an issue with lightening speed. Your rates may look obscene by comparison to your competitors, but you are worth every single penny.
Charging what you’re worth is about deeply knowing your value. And having the confidence to say so.
I know you can do it.
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