We’ve all been to some kind of presentation that talks about trying to figure out what you’re worth to your clients. And yet, many of us still struggle with this issue for whatever reason.
Oh sure, the reasons are many. Am I worth this much? What are others that do what I do worth? Will I get any business if I charge this amount? Will I get too much business if I do this? Is what I want to make reasonable? Throw in your own beliefs, then let’s come to grips with our reality.
As an independent consultant, you came into this with many risks. The biggest risk was whether or not you could make a living at what you do. After all, you still have to live. But life isn’t only about surviving; it’s really about living. Once you’ve made enough to pay your bills, do you still have enough left to actually enjoy? Are you making enough money so you can go on vacation, buy a new car, go to the casino, the movies, or whatever it is you want to do? Are you beholden to having to work 16 to 20 hours a day just to stay on top of things, or do you deserve to take a break here and there, maybe even go to a conference?
I’m no different than anyone else when it comes to this topic, except for one main thing. I have decided that, indeed, I am worth it. Ah, but just what am I worth, and why?
I like to figure things out this way. Since I do so many things, I figure that the dollars I deserve should be calculated differently. There’s the hourly consulting rate, the project rate, and the presentations rate. I’ve determined that everything I do falls into those three categories. Within those categories, I get to think about how I got there, what I believe it’s worth based on what I had to do to get there, and what it’s worth to potential clients. I also get to throw in there what needs to be done, preparation, expectation, and of course the market; if the market doesn’t bear the price then my beliefs don’t matter at all.
All of us are skilled at what we do. We’ve all spend lots of hours learning how to do what we do, and we continue learning almost on a daily basis. How much money are other people making off of what we do? I always start with that one, and I think about it in terms of athletics. I’m not one who ever gets mad at what an athlete makes because I figure if someone feels they’re worth that amount, that someone is obviously making even more.
If I do some calculations and know that a client will be making millions after I’ve done a certain project, I have no qualms about asking for $20,000 to $25,000 as a fee. They might, but I don’t; I know I’m worth it, and I’ve proven it.
If I know that I’ve not only studied something, but now I’m rehearsing it so I can present it smoothly to many others, and I know they have the money to pay for it and will make more money if they follow what I teach them, I have no qualms about asking for a certain fee once again.
If I have knowledge that someone else doesn’t have, I have no worries about my fee. If someone else brings down the worth of my fee by undercharging, it’s on them, not on me. I figure I know my worth, even if I don’t hit that worth every time out; after all, modification is what we do. At least I shoot for my worth; how are you doing on that front?