If you provide a service, and you charge for your service by the hour, you’re headed for trouble. You are essentially selling a product with a limited supply. The only way to increase your business is to raise your rates. But even that will catch up with you because at some point the old apples to apples comparison with a competitor will check your growth.
The answer is to sell a result for a fee or sell a package for a fee, much like you might sell a product. See when you sell a product, nobody says “I’m not paying you $5000, it only costs you $10 to make it.” You price it and they decide if they value it enough to buy it.
But, that’s precisely what they say when you charge by the hour isn’t it?. “I’m not paying you $5,000 for that, it only took you 3 hours to do it.” See, the thing is, it may have only taken you three hours to produce this one result but it’s taken your 10 years of your life to get good enough to do it. Don’t think hours, don’t sell hours, don’t devalue your experience and expertise and ability to bring massive results to your customers by selling yourself short.
Have you ever delivered an incredible, six figure kind of result for a customer only to return to the office and fire off a $500 invoice? Have you ever felt a customer back down because they didn’t believe you could actually deliver the results you promised that cheaply?
But how do you get out of the hourly trap? I mean everyone else in your industry is stuck with it, how can you expect to defy it?
The secret to this seemingly cavalier advice lies in putting your energy into forging one of two paths.
1) Build a brand that speaks to a narrow market so thoroughly they are willing to pay a premium to experience it.
2) Create and document results so completely that no one will ever blink when you tell them your fee for the result.
When you begin to think this way it will completely change your view of the world and quite likely allow you to more fully serve your customers while enjoying making what your expertise and unique life experiences are worth.
I had a great conversation with Alan Weiss, a consultant well known for his Million Dollar Consulting series of books and some very strong opinions on this notion of value based fees. You can click on over to listen to our chat or download the interview here.